I had to really think about this one as there are several directions I could take it. In the end, I decided to make this a note to younger me. If I could go back and tell myself the ten most important things I’ve learned that could maybe get me through childhood, high school, and even college a little easier, what would they be? The below is what I came up with – in no particular order…
|The one with the red spots on the back is me.|
By this I mean, life is a one-time shot. So live it. Go out and experience things. Try things you never thought you would. Talk to people from all walks of life. Look for those moments when the path less traveled presents itself. This will mean different things at different times in your life. More than that… each stage in life is a one-time shot. I’ll never be 10, or 20, or 30 again. I’ll never be in high school or college again. My kids will be the age they are only once. So try to enjoy every stage to the fullest. Now.
Don’t let fear stop you from doing something you love, or make you do something you don’t want to, or keep you from trying something new that might just be amazing. And not just fear… loneliness, jealousy, what others think. Whatever your roadblock. Make your choices in life for yourself and then own those choices.
3.Family Comes First
This will mean different things to different people. But decide who is closest to you and put them first in your life. Make sure you spend quality time with them as much as possible. They’re not guaranteed to be there forever. Tell them you love them every day. Look out for them. But especially, find time for them.
4.Perfection Isn’t Worth The Stress
I’m not saying don’t try to do your best. But don’t let trying to be perfect make you so stressed that you don’t enjoy life anymore. And don’t let other’s idea of perfection push you into being someone you’re not or doing something you hate. Because that will change you into someone you don’t like.
5.You Won’t Even Remember Their Names
That clique you so want to be a part of. Those kids who don’t quite like you or put you down. Forget them. You won’t even remember their names ten years from now. They’re not worth the effort or worry. But the people who like you for you… those often become lifelong friends.
6.Smile and Enjoy
I find that my mood follows my facial expression. If I’m serious or frowning I don’t have a good time. If I smile, I start to enjoy myself. I also feel more beautiful when I smile – maybe it’s the happiness coming through. People also respond better to a smile and a kind word.
7.Internet Is Forever
I wouldn’t tell my younger self this (since internet wasn’t a thing back then), but I definitely tell my kids. You can do some permanent damage with the internet by posting stupid things that you shouldn’t have been doing in the first place, or even just being goofy. Future employers, boyfriends, friends might see something you’d wish they hadn’t, and there goes that opportunity.
8.Love Who You Are Now
Know who you are, what you believe, and the kind of person you want to be – and be confident in that. And I’m not saying be perfect in that – just be confident. Don’t let others tell you who you are or should be. And don’t constantly be worried about who you could be – thinner, smarter, older, younger, nicer, stronger, whatever. Love who you are right now. And I don’t mean not to try to better yourself. But just to love yourself.
9.Give Yourself Something to Chase
I loved Matthew McConaughey’s Oscar speech. Give yourself a goal – an impossible goal – that you keep your eyes on. Don’t let yourself just go “well – this is who I’ll be forever – I guess that’s it.” Give yourself something to be chasing.
10.Don’t Depend On Others To Make You Happy
That perfect man. Your parents. Your children. Colleagues. Friends. Do not expect them to be responsible for your happiness in any way, shape, or form. Can they add to your happiness? Be a source of happiness? Absolutely. But you, and you alone, are responsible for being a happy person.
I realize that I got on a bit of a preachy pedestal there, but I wish younger me could have realized some of those things a lot sooner. I actually enjoyed every phase of life I’ve been through so far, but I wouldn’t go back unless I took some of this knowledge with me. I’d love to hear what big life learnings you’ve had that you’d add to this list.