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We asked readers to give advice to their younger selves. Here are a few of their letters.

Fred Lum/The Globe and Mail

Dear Zoey,

You began your studies at 18, at the University of Winnipeg, with such high expectations: stimulating lectures by your professors and a world of opportunity revealing itself. You know better now.

I'm sorry to tell you that your idealistic attachment to a university degree will eventually leave you overqualified and underemployed in the wrong field. Save yourself the heartache, 10 years of study and many thousands of dollars in student loans and learn yourself a trade instead. It may not be glamorous but you'll have a career and a decent paycheque besides. You will discover that the ability to analyze postmodern theory has limited application in real working life.

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You're going to learn many things, outside of the classroom: A Buddhist meditation group will teach you to value faith as well as knowledge. You'll learn to become a person who does not need to strive to be anything in order to find fulfilment – your most important lesson.

Love,

Zo Michele, Halifax

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Dear Marc,

You're only 23, in your first "real" job, degree on the wall and your life ahead of you. You're mapping out your rise up the corporate ladder and into the executive suite. You don't know it yet but you're an entrepreneur at heart.

You may not succeed right out of the gate – that's okay. Whatever the setback, pick yourself up, dust yourself off and try again. Do your homework. Write a business plan. Get advice from people you trust. And above all, always tap into your most powerful asset – your natural ability to build those so-important relationships.

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Today I spend my days helping people transform the storage space in their homes. It's creative, it's rewarding, it's challenging and I've never worked harder. All said and done, having a business is night-and-day from having a job. The highs are way higher and the lows are way lower. And one thing's for sure: I know you're going to love it.

Enjoy the ride,

Thank you, Marc Javet

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Dear Nikki,

You're 26. You're trying so hard to be mature, responsible, grown-up. When your little brother calls – Hey, want to go to Coachella? – you'll say no: I don't have the money, I don't get vacation days. I have to focus on this job that I hate. I am trying to be a grown-up now. Ignore these reasons. When you listen to his funny stories of tours, skeezy motels, sunburnt skin, don't assume you'll get the chance to go to a festival with him some time later.

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Your brother will only live one month into his own 26th year, and you'll learn that "being a grown-up" isn't something you can force yourself into. You have less time than you think. You will have the rest of your life for maturity, and the regret of unshared memories.

Nikki Reimer, Calgary

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Hi Steve,

You're 24, you just got offered a full-time position at an advertising agency and you really want to leave your mark.

You want to show everyone what you can do, be a people-pleaser, and to do so you're more than willing to work long nights eating takeout daily for every meal. I know that it's hard to even think about your health when you're busy, young and feel indestructible.

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But as the future 300-pound, 30-year-old you, and the 35-year-old you that had to work hard to regain our fitness over the past five years, I'm asking you to make a few changes for us.

Learn to work smarter, not harder, earlier. This will help you find the time for sleep you need to be at your best and more productive. Every takeout menu has a healthy option, it's on you to seek them out and pass up on the comfort food when stressed-out. Or better yet, bring your own healthy food to work.

Health and fitness needs to take the same priority in your life as work, friends and fun. Use this advice and you will be better at work, have a better quality of life, and maybe even run a marathon much faster and leaner than I did by age 30.

Steve W. Layton, Toronto

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If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to letters@globeandmail.com. Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

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