Today I turn a year older. I am officially making that 20-something decline and looking around at the life I’ve built for myself thus far, I’m proud. Although, it seems as though the closer we all get to the big 3-0 the birthdays aren’t as exciting and people start talking about fine lines and wrinkles, how they’ve started finding grey hairs and trying not to make a big deal about celebrating. The way I see it, becoming older carries with it more wisdom and perspective on the world around us despite all the physical changes. The things we once thought were a priority are suddenly distant memories and our minds become more focused on what we want out of life. It’s kind of funny how that works.
About 4 years ago, I asked my parents to write down some things they wish their younger self would have known when they we’re my age. I found those notes yesterday when I was cleaning out an old trunk. Timely, I thought to myself. Rereading those were refreshing. Some of the biggest pieces of advice they had given me I had taken to heart and my life will be forever shaped by it. Today, I want to share a few of those things with you that they had shared with me and also include a few of my own.
The toughest times of your life will end up being the best times of your life // In the moment of those hard life situations it’s hard to not think that whatever you are going through is the end of the world. In high school, it was because the boy you liked didn’t like you back. In college, it was the research paper that you failed. In your post college life, it was over drafting your checking account. In your married life, it was that hard, trying day moving into your first home together or your first big fight. We all go through those phases in life, but it’s important to know that that whatever you are going through will not define you or the rest of your life. It will challenge you and stretch you to your limits, but looking back 2,5 and 10 years later you will laugh at your younger self. Because what was once the end of your world as you knew it, is just a tiny speck on your timeline, but now ingrained in our minds as one of the best times of our life. This one was from my mom.
The grass is not always greener on the other side. It’s just a different situation // In today’s world it’s incredibly hard not to judge and compare yourself to other people. We are always finding our mind in a place where we want so bad what someone else has…but in reality we don’t. I once read, “you don’t want to be her or have what she has, because you don’t know what she’s been asked to go through”. Man is that true. We all have our struggles in life, but those struggles were meant for us, individually. We don’t want to have to take on someone else’s problems just to look like her or be like her. The same stands true for wishing we had something more. A bigger salary, a better car, a fancier house. All of those things don’t provide us more happiness or a new life, it just makes it a different situation and not always a better, greener one. Work for what you have, be humble and be grateful for the cards life deals you. This one is also from my mom.
Save as much money as possible // If I could go back 10 years…and not buy so much Taco Bell, resist the urge to waste all my money at the mall on trendy clothes I’d only wear twice and learn to manage my money a little better, I might have a decent savings to launch me into my post college life. But, I didn’t. I was focused on the now and doing what I wanted in the moment without thinking about the bigger picture. My future. I spent every penny I made on … well nothing. I have nothing to show for it. No travel experiences, no assets, nothing. If you are in a place in your life where you have disposable income, I encourage you to save it. You will thank yourself later. This one was from my dad.
Take the time to travel the world // Yes yes, a million times yes. Travel anywhere and everywhere. Explore the world and never stop. We get so wrapped up in our daily lives and routines that we forget that there’s more to the world than what we see in our little bubble on a day to day basis. One of my biggest regrets in my college years was that I didn’t take the time to study abroad. Going on a study abroad could possibly be the easiest and most affordable way to travel the world. You have nothing tying you down, you get to learn and be inspired in another country, what do you have to lose? Take that opportunity…you will figure out how to pay it back later. Even today, post college, I try to be adventurous. My husband and I have made it a point to go on a big trip once a year out of the country, if possible. Doing this opens your eyes and gives you memories and stories that you will never forget. Now that’s priceless. This one was from my Dad and Me.
Don’t forget to have fun // I’ve learned over the years to not take life too seriously. I try not to worry about the little things, but rather being kind to others and having fun. My parents always told me that people won’t remember what you wore or how your hair looked that day, but they will remember how you made them feel. That is 1000% true. For as long as I can remember, I’d always been the modest friend when it came to wearing a bathing suit. Always thinking that my body wasn’t perfect or whatever. I let myself get the best of my time on too many of those summer days. I brought down others with me and dulled the fun. Ugh – why did I do that? Because every time I look back on photos of that day, I wish I still looked like that. I could have made the most of that day and had a blast! Now that I’m older I try not to take anything too seriously, but just have fun with it because no one likes a Debbie downer or that one friend that get’s their feelings hurt over every single little thing. Let’s make the best of our life and have fun with it. This one was from my Dad.
Make quality choices about your health and wellness // To say I once lived on frozen taquitos, hot pockets, ramen noodles and as much Taco Bell as my little wallet would allow would not be an understatement. I made terrible choices about what I fed my body. Guys, it’s so very important to take care of yourself even at a young age. Breeding unhealthy habits and then trying to break them later on in life is down right hard. Take care of your body because it’s the only one we get. Eat healthy and exercise. My family comes from a long line of health problems and frankly, as I get older, it scares the bajesus out of me. I don’t want to have to deal with any of the health problems my family has. If you are in this place, let’s stand together and make quality choices about our health and wellness now. Our future selves will thank us! This one came from my mom.
Love your husband as much as I love mine // I spent a million and one hours worrying about “the one”. Not knowing who I’d end up with in life drove me nuts. As a planner, I was constantly questioning my relationships and analyzing them until there was nothing left. One thing my mom always told me was that, “you will find love when you least expect it”. I had gone through one bad relationship after another and I was done. I made a pact with myself that I was going to do me. I was going to stand up and focus on myself. And when I did, I learned more about who I was at my core and what qualities I needed in a partner than I ever dreamed I would. And then it happened. We met unexpectedly and it was history from there. My mom’s advice was to find someone in life that shares the same goals and build on it. She said when you find love you will know it. And when you do, love them so hard. Love your husband as much as I love mine, she said.
If you could give your younger self a few pieces of advice, what would it be? Share with us in the comments below.