“Dear Younger Self, Let’s Talk”
The benefit of growing older is the ability to reflect on the past, learn from your experiences, appreciate (well at least accept) the choices you’ve made, and welcome whatever the next year has in store because you just don’t know.
The first birthday I can remember was when I was 9 years old. I was so excited to have a pool party with my family and friends at a big fancy house in Tucson, AZ. I remember wearing my first ever two-piece swimsuit that was blue with gold dots. I remember playing Marco Polo and laughing, the German Chocolate cake my mom made and then later in the night seeing U2 for the first time on MTV singing “With or Without You”.
The second birthday I can REALLY recall was when I turned 30. I had just finished a two hour-long white-water rafting trip and was soaked. We had a break from paddling, so I closed my eyes, lifted my head towards the sky and felt the sun hit my face. I took in a deep breath, smelling the clean Colorado air, feeling the breeze on my wet hair…I was at peace.
As I turn 42 this week, I have been thinking a lot about the past 42 years and how some days I feel like I’m still 22 yet other days I feel all of the 42 years. I have often wondered if I could go back and talk to younger me what I would say. What advice I could give myself? What are some things I would tell my younger self?
42 Things I wish I could tell my younger self:
- Be yourself!
- Don’t be afraid to try new things.
- Don’t be afraid to fail.
- You can’t take back words, choose them wisely.
- Fear of being abandoned makes you hold on way too tight. It’s okay to let go.
- Take things one day at a time.
- Rejection is sometimes redirection.
- Work hard but remember to take breaks.
- Slow down.
- Not being OK is OK. Being positive is great, but it’s also OK to be in a bad mood, from time to time, just don’t stay there too long.
- Be Kind, be kind be kind!!! Ok, at least like 95% of the time!
- Self-care is more than bubble baths. Taking time to practice self-care is not selfish.
- Forgive, holding on to hate just hurts you in the long run.
- Take risks.
- Run, exercise, move your body as much as you can, one day you won’t be able to, don’t let today be that day!
- Travel and spend your money on experiences not things, you can’t take possessions with you when you die!
- Listen to your intuition.
- You’re going to fall down, sometimes it will hurt, but get back up.
- Cry, it’s healing.
- Laugh, like a lot!! Like multiple times a day!
- Map out a 5-year plan and then at the top write, BE FLEXIBLE AND TWEAK AS NEEDED!
- The grass is greener over there because they fertilize with shit!
- Stop worrying about the future, today is today.
- That is not for you to figure out today, that is for future you to figure out.
- Follow your passion.
- You aren’t alone, even if you feel alone.
- Money is not everything.
- Always take time for yourself, even if you are married and have kids, remember to take time for YOU, don’t lose yourself in your relationships.
- Saying no is OK!
- Don’t compare yourself to others, your journey is your journey.
- Treat others as you want to be treated.
- Dance and be silly, life is too short to give a shit what other people think. Maybe they’ll even be inspired by you!
- You are stronger than you know, but don’t let it harden you.
- Being soft doesn’t mean you are weak; it’s finding a balance.
- Some people are just crappy people, don’t spend your energy trying to change them or “get back at them” just move on.
- Sometimes being uncomfortable is exactly what you need!
- Believe in yourself. You can’t do ANYTHING you set your mind to, but you can do a hell of a lot and more than you think.
- Tell the people you love that you love them.
- Being spontaneous can be fun!
- Life is hard, it gets easy then, it gets hard again, but then it gets easy again—it’s a cycle.
- You are going to learn a hell of a lot more in the next 22 years than you did in the first 22!
As I was writing this, I thought, “What if I really had that list when I was 22?” Would I have made different choices? Most likely, then I would not be where I am today, so why would I want to tell myself all of these things?
The only thing I would tell 22-year-old me:
- I cannot give you advice because then you won’t go through ALL of the things you need to go through to become the amazing person you are today.
The list above is for 42-year-old me, not 22-year-old me. It’s also a list I can share it with others. Every item on the list won’t resonate with everyone, but hopefully there are a few on there that speak to you and you may embrace now since you can’t go back in time to tell your younger self.
The best thing any of us can do is learn from all that you experience each year you are alive, accepting you will make mistakes along the way. There are going to be struggles you will face and there are going to be glorious moments that will live on in your mind forever. It’s a journey!
Remember, You Got This!