Just when you think you have it all figured out you discover that you really don’t know anything at all. I wouldn’t change a single event along my course. They’ve all taught me something about myself and brought me to where I am today, which despite the official number, I am still pretty damn stoked about. But as I look back on my 21 year old self (exactly 5 years ago), I do wish I could tell that lost, young woman a thing or two. Perhaps you are there right now. If you’re anything like me, you probably won’t listen to a word of this post, but rest assured that time will reveal it all to you. And if you’re more open-minded than I was, I hope you learn a thing or two.
1. It’s okay to love your parents and not listen to them.
Even when you defy them and challenge their notion of what they foresee in your future, if you’re adamant and hard-working, they will come around. And even if they don’t, a little self-reliance goes a long way. Sometimes that fire under your ass to perform is exactly what you need.
2. Wear sunscreen.
5 years from now you will genuinely start to fear skin cancer and wrinkles. Stop competing for the darkest shade of bronze; It’s a dumb decision. Also, hats are your friend and when all else fails, use bronzer.
3. Love is not the same as comfort.
Love isn’t because you’re scared of not being together or being alone. Don’t confuse the two. Love is knowing that you’d be just fine on your own but your life is infinitely better with that person. Also you’re about to meet the love of your life…hold on tight.
4. Losing those 10 pounds won’t make you happier.
This message will allude you but you’ll eventually come to understand it when you hit that goal and in the process make yourself more miserable. You’re allowed to want to improve yourself but how you feel takes precedence to how you look. Unfortunately you’re gonna injure the hell out of your back to discover this, but it’s a lesson worth living.
5. All of those Thought Catalog articles you read about being in your 20s…they’re all true.
Yes, you’ll get lamer and movie nights become far more exciting than hitting the bars, but you’ll also love and appreciate how awesome it feels to wake and be productive. Also hangovers (on the rare occasion they do happen) are THAT much worse.
6. Friendships require work and it’s okay to give up on some to make room for the ones you want to invest in.
It’s not about quantity, but quality. Friendships are precious and necessary, but don’t overload your life with half-ass friendships that don’t make you excited. Friends should add value to your life and you should add value to theirs. History doesn’t mean future, so let go of the friends you don’t connect with anymore without any shame or guilt. Hold on tightly and invest what you have in the friends you hold dear. They’re worth it.
7. Doubt doesn’t mean don’t.
It’s okay to be afraid of something and then do it anyway. It’s the situations you fear most that end up being the most rewarding. Use this with discretion, but unless your life is in danger, feel your fears and do it anyway.
8. You’ll never regret rising above it.
Situations will occur where you are pushed to a point of anger and frustration. You will think that acting and sharing your mind is the solution, but trust that it never is. Give yourself time to absorb a situation before you act. 90% of the time, you’ll choose to rise above it and when you look back you’ll be grateful that you did.
9. You don’t have to be who you think you are.
Don’t spend your life trying to fulfill a prophecy you have set for yourself. It’s okay to be inconsistent and outrageous. You think you know who you are, but you don’t. The only way to find out who that is is to step outside your comfort zone, even if it’s well beyond the definition of who you believe you are.
10. Everything is going to be okay.
Things have a way of working themselves out. It doesn’t mean there isn’t going to be some struggle, but have faith that it will all be okay in the end. And breathe, my friend. Breathe deeply and powerfully.
What do you wish you could tell your 21 year old self or however old you were 5 years ago?