What I’d Tell My Younger Self
Lately, I’ve been reflecting back on my younger years. Teenage years as a rebel girl. College years as a snotty know it all sorority, cheerleader girl. In my 20s when I thought I could see my clear path in life. Now I laugh, shake my head and think if I only I could see into the future. Nothing is really what I thought it would be, yet it’s everything I hoped it to be. If I had the chance to go back and whisper sweet nothings in my younger years’ ear, this is what I’d say.
TAKE CARE OF YOURSELF: Go to the doctor once a year for a physical. Stop going to the tanning bed. Don’t smoke because quitting is the hardest thing you’ll ever endure. Eat your vegetables. Respect yourself. Never stop learning. Don’t watch so much TV.
FIND “ME” TIME: When you have a husband, kids, and a job, you no longer have “me” time whenever you want it. Relish in it. Don’t fill up your day with endless errands. Relax. Find time to breathe. Sit down. Read a book. Go for a walk. Enjoy nature. Go out to dinner by yourself.
YOU ARE IN CONTROL OF YOUR LIFE: Think about the decisions you’re making and how they might impact your future. Whatever decision you make, you can always change your mind if you are not happy. Take some time to re-evaluate after a month and know it’s ok to walk away from bad habits, bad situations, and bad relationships.
DON’T FIND A HUSBAND UNTIL AFTER 30: Go on dates, but don’t set your sights on searching for “the one” until after 30. Focus on you and your life. You don’t need a spouse and kids to make your life complete at 25.
NOT ALL FRIENDSHIPS LAST: Not all friendships will stand the test of time. The BFF from high school will be a happy memory throughout your college years. The childhood bond you once had with your bridesmaids will fizzle. Life is full of speed bumps and relationships change. It’s part of life. Some may cut like a knife and some might feel like a complete sigh of relief. Always remember, friendship is valuable and never one-sided. Being respectful goes both ways. Kindness is key.
DON’T COMPARE YOURSELF: I’m incredibly thankful I did not grow up with social media, but that doesn’t mean I didn’t compare myself to my peers. She has a better shirt, better hair, a better car, more money, she’s skinnier, a better job, makes more money, a bigger house, prettier furniture…the list goes on. Thinking these things will only cause negativity in your life. Be happy with who you are because you’ve come a long way! And know, just because she looks like she has it all, doesn’t mean she does. Happiness is not reflective of “things”, and people rarely wear their struggles on their sleeve.
IT’S OKAY TO SAY NO: Wow, this was a hard one to learn. You don’t have to agree to be liked. You don’t owe anyone anything. Don’t ever feel obligated. Ultimately, you are the one affected by the decisions you make in life.
NOT EVERYONE WILL LIKE YOU: There will be some people who utterly despise you. Move on. Don’t worry about it. You are who you are. If someone doesn’t like it, screw ’em.
IT’S OKAY TO MAKE MISTAKES: No one is perfect. But when you make a mistake, say hey, I messed up and forgive yourself. Forgive your parents. Forgive old friends. You don’t have all the answers, and you never will. Be direct. Be truthful. Try to take the best path. And when you make a mistake, don’t be too harsh on yourself. Get over it and get on with your life.
ALWAYS DO SOMETHING ARTISTIC: Explore your creativity. You’ll never know what’s hiding inside until you explore it. Continue to reshape and reinvent.
SPEAK UP: There’s nothing you’ll kick yourself moreover than not speaking up. If you have an idea in a meeting, speak up. If you feel like something’s not right, speak up. If you feel like you’re not being respected, speak up. If you want something, speak up. No one is there to take care of you except you. Stop smiling and nodding.
BE OPEN TO CHANGE: Change is inevitable. Change is good. Embrace it. When you open your mind to new ideas, you are giving yourself the opportunity to see a different view. It may reinforce your current belief, but it may open a whole new world.
LET GO OF CONTROL: You’re way may not be the best way. Open your mind and experience new ideas. You don’t know it all. You are not confined by your own beliefs. Focus on what matters. Live without limits.
TRAVEL AS MUCH AS YOU CAN: There’s a giant world out there. Explore it. Travel to different countries even if you don’t speak the language. Immerse yourself in culture.
TRY NEW THINGS: Don’t get stuck in a rut. Try pilates. Try different foods. Don’t be afraid to try new things. Yes, it may be scary, but you may just find a new hobby you love.
FIND BEAUTY IN THE DETAILS: Every day you’re surrounded by little miracles. Practice listening. Stop the mental chatter. Look around you and enjoy your surroundings. Street musicians, architecture, a flower, paint peeling from a chair. Put down your phone and be present.
IT’S OKAY TO ASK FOR HELP: Sometimes life can get overwhelming. It happens to the best of us. There’s no reason to work yourself into the ground. If you need a helping hand, ask for one, and always repay the favor.
At the ripe old age of 42, I don’t have all the answers. I don’t think anyone does…not even Beyoncé. But ever since I hit 38, I’ve been the most comfortable with myself. I’m curious at age 50 what I’ll want to say to myself now. What I wouldn’t give to see into the future.
If my calculations are correct, when this baby hits 88 miles per hour… you’re gonna see some serious shit. Always learning, ever grateful.