5 Pieces of Advice I’d Tell My Younger Self

On my 36th birthday.

By Camille Styles
camille styles with books and melon, summer picnic

this post was sponsored by Olay

As I’ve gotten into my mid-thirties, birthdays have taken on more meaning. They’ve become a welcome moment of self-reflection — a time to take stock and set intentions for the next year of life. I love the way that birthdays call us to stop and think about the passage of time;  while it can feel uncomfortable, being more conscious of how fast our lives go by helps us carpé diem and live each day #likeyoumeanit. That’s truer than ever this year — I’m turning 36 in the middle of a pandemic that’s kept us at home for the past 10 weeks, and life lately feels slower, quieter, more uncertain, and yet somehow more beautiful than ever before.

To mark this birthday, I’m teaming up with our friends at Olay to share a few pieces of advice I’d give my younger self. I loved doing this exercise, because it helped me crystalize some of my biggest learnings from the past few years, and also made me realize that – you know what? I actually have become a wiser version of myself in my mid-thirties! And hopefully this is just the beginning… I can genuinely say that one of the things I’m most looking forward to about growing older is becoming increasingly comfortable in my own skin and gaining perspective with each passing year.

Scroll on for my advice to baby Camille — no surprise that one of them has to do with taking great care of our skin, and starting as early as possible. I’d love to hear all of yours, too! Leave a comment with the number one piece of advice you’d tell your younger self – and let me know if any of these resonate with you…

camille styles backyard summer sun skincare with olay

Don’t sweat the small stuff (aka, will this really matter in 5 years?)

When I look back at some of the things I stressed about when I was younger (not getting the internship, those small weight fluctuations, the crush who didn’t reciprocate my affection), it’s easy to see in hindsight how none of them were disastrous in the grand scheme of things. In fact, most ended up being blessings in disguise (thank God I didn’t marry that crush!!) This is one of those lessons that comes in handy when I catch myself getting anxious about things that are out of my control. Reminding myself that very few of my worries will matter in the long run helps put it all in perspective and is like a deep, cleansing breath for my brain. As someone who has always skewed towards perfectionism, the older I get, the more I embrace my imperfections, let go of little worries, and give myself permission to have more fun.

camille styles and daughter phoebe in the backyard with jasmine

There’s always time to stop and listen to the people you love.

Much of my adult life has been spent in a rush. It’s actually one of my least favorite things about myself and something I’m always trying to work on. Coincidentally, one of the greatest blessings from our time at home during the pandemic has been that it’s literally forced this busy body to slow down and learn how to not rush from one activity to the next.

I’m not usually one to have regrets — I believe that life is a process, and all of our experiences can help us become better versions of ourselves, if we learn from them. But if I had to choose one thing I regret about my past, it would be those times when I didn’t stop to tune in, spend time, and give my undistracted attention to the people I really love. As we get older, most of us realize that the only thing that matters in the end is relationships. So it makes me cringe when I think back on those times that I was too busy to stop what I was doing and just listen to whatever my parents, or my children, or a friend wanted to share with me (yes, even when Phoebe tells me one of her neverending 7-year-old stories.) Listening is how we show people that they matter to us — and hopefully, this older, wiser Camille will remember that truth more often than not.

camille styles backyard summer sun skincare with olay

Get outside on sunny days – and always wear sunscreen!

Sun makes me happy. It’s as simple as that. When I’m feeling a little moody or in a funk and can’t pinpoint why, 9 times out of 10 it’s because I haven’t spent any time outside that day. As I’ve gotten older, I’ve become much better at carving out time every day to soak up some sunlight, and consequently, boost my mood and energy levels. The only downside to all this sun is that, for the first time this year, I’m seeing some signs of sun damage.

Thankfully, we live in a time when skin and suncare technology has come a long way, and I’ve fully embraced the habit of applying sunscreen every time I go outside. Right now, I’m using Olay Regenerist Whip Moisturizer with SPF 40, which also infuses my skin with hydration and nutrients while giving max sun protection. It’s all the things I’m looking for in a daily sunscreen: the formula’s hyaluronic acid gives that plump dewy look we’re all after, and Vitamin B3 helps skin retain moisture, encourages cell turnover, and exfoliates to remove dull skin. I’m always looking for a face sunscreen that leaves zero “mask” effect, and this one blends seamlessly over my moisturizer without any greasy feeling – and it’s light-as-air under makeup.  My favorite thing about it is that it’s doing double duty as top notch skincare to lift and improve my skin’s elasticity, while simultaneously giving the heavy-hitting SPF I need. And one less step in my skincare routine is something I am definitely on board with as I turn a year older.

camille styles backyard summer sun skincare with olay

What other people think about you is none of your business.

I think that most women struggle at some point in their lives with worrying too much about what others think of them. And for those of you who have never really given a you-know-what? Please tell me your secrets so I can pass them along to my daughter. Growing up, I was always skilled at adapting to whatever group of people I found myself in. This had its benefits – in school, I prided myself on being able to “fit in” with the smart kids, the jocks, the theater kids, the cheerleaders – moving to new schools in my childhood gave me a crash course in adaptation. But being a chameleon had its downsides. It taught me to let the “real me” fade into the background so I could inhabit the person that I thought others wanted me to be.

I’ve spent my thirties learning to unapologetically embrace my authentic self, quirks and all, and celebrate what makes me different. I’ve learned to care a lot less about what other people think, and it’s the most freeing feeling I’ve ever experienced. While it’s a lesson I wish I could have learned a lot earlier, it’s a journey that almost all of us travel at some point or another. If I could teach my younger self one lesson, I think it would be to find her validation internally, not externally. To love who she is, love what she does, and be passionate about what she’s creating. It’s okay if not everyone likes it. In fact, if everyone likes it, she’s probably not doing anything really special.

When you boldly put your true self out there, you’re giving a priceless gift to yourself and to the world.

camille styles backyard summer magnolia flowers

Mom was right: you should stand up straight.

I rolled my eyes at my mom’s constant reminders to stand up straight… and of course, now I find myself saying the exact same words to Phoebe. Good posture sends a message of self-assurance and grace to the world. It sends a message to our brain that we’re high vibing and fully engaging. And it opens up our bodies so we can breathe fully. Not to mention the fact that simply standing up straight is the best way to have “toned abs” (or at least, the appearance of them.) Great posture is the 1-second hack to feeling more confident.


Your turn! Let me know in the comments what advice you’d give your younger self.