With age comes wisdom. Hindsight gives us 20/20 vision. When we reflect upon our past, there are so many things that we would have done differently. Right? Unfortunately, we cannot turn back the hands on the clock. We can however, learn from our mistakes and not make them over and over again. We can give advice so that others don’t make the same mistakes that we did. Whether they listen, well that’s another thing. Reflecting back, we didn’t always listen either. We lived out the axiom, “Learnt sense is better than bought sense.” Some of the lessons that we learned were paid at a hefty price! Remember?
So if you had to give advice to your younger self, what would you say?
Here’s what Oprah said in O Magazine in May 2012 that she would have written to her 19 year old ” brown skinned” self.
“You’ve spent too many days and years trying to please others and be what they wanted you to be,” she writes. “You will have to learn that the wounds of your past — rape, molestation, whippings for ‘stepping out of place,’ and not being allowed to show anger or cry afterward — damaged your self-esteem,” she says. “Even then you understood that success was a process and that moving with the flow of life and not against it would be your greatest achievement,” she says.
Actress Octavia Spencer writes, “As you make your way along life’s tumultuous highways, it’s important to note that you should always carry a map, have plenty of fuel in the tank, and take frequent rest stops.”
CEO Nelson Wang has one simple piece of advice to his younger self:
“Enjoy the moment.
You never know when this wonderful journey called life will come to an end and it’s important to remember that every single day is a blessing.
All too often we get caught up in the journey. The chase. The work.
Just remember to take a moment to breathe. To reflect. To enjoy. You’ll be much happier.”
Great advice so far! Agreed?
If you want to stop now, that’s fine. If you wish to keep reading and have the time, allow me to share 20 more points. Be my guest. Here goes.
20 things to have told your younger self…
“1. That ex-boyfriend of yours who always wanted you to dress up, wear heels, and look sexy for him all the time, isn’t and never will be “the one”. Your future husband will think you look sexy in sweats and encourage you to be the realest version of yourself you’ve ever been.
2. The people who tell you your dreams are crazy and you should get a real job will still be stuck in the same place they are 10 years from now. You don’t have to be, so keep pursuing your dreams and never give up.
3. Your true friends are the ones who are there for you, who listen to you and who support you in healing, but don’t enable you to play the victim in your own life. True friends will empower you to grow.
4. Giving your power away never ends well. In the moment, taking responsibility might seem like the most painful route, but trust me when I say that taking ownership over the choices you make in life will save you from a lot of healing work in the future.
5. If making-out and sex are the only activities you get up to with the guy you have a crush on, he’s not going to make you his girlfriend. Guys who are in it for more than just physical interaction will call to ask how your day was, take you for walks, and introduce you to their friends. Don’t convince yourself that you can trade sex for love, it never works that way.
6. Your brain doesn’t fully develop until the age of 24. You’re going to make mistakes, a lot of them. Consider the possibility though, that your mistakes are actually lessons.
7. When you are lashing out at someone you love, it’s actually because you’re hurting a lot inside and you have something you want to say but don’t have the courage. Say it anyway. Be clear about what you want, what you don’t want, and what you need. People will respect you more, and you’ll be a whole lot happier too.
8. You are not invincible. Sleep at least 7 hours a night, drink water instead of booze at a party, and skip the drive-thru. Drinking alcohol, smoking cigarettes or pulling all nighters every weekend will eventually catch up to you. It might not happen until your 30’s or 40’s, but healing is always more challenging than prevention. Take care of yourself while you’re young and spare yourself the trouble.
9. Don’t give up on your talents and hobbies. If you love sports, playing music, or writing, keep doing it. If you ask most adults who gave up, they’ll tell you how much they wish they would have continued on with their piano lessons, or followed their hearts and pursued their athletic career.
10. Failing is winning. This might sound funny to you now, but believe me when I tell you that all of your failures are laying out a path for you to succeed big-time. It’s better to fail before you make it, than to fail when you’ve already made it and lose everything due to lack of experience. And even if you do lose everything, you can make it all back and then some. Life is full of surprises, so buckle up and enjoy the ride.
11. Be consistent. Being flaky doesn’t just impact your relationships, it impacts your self-esteem and anxiety levels. When you say you’re going to do something or be somewhere, follow through. This also ensures you think twice before committing to something that doesn’t actually inspire you.
12. Practice saying “no” in the mirror. There will be times where you’ll have to tell someone “no” and it will scare you, but you have to set boundaries for others or you’ll end up feeling used.
13. It’s no one else’s fault when you’re not happy. Sure, there may be people in your life who don’t belong there, but it’s up to you get rid of the people who bring you down, call you names or make fun of you for dreaming big.
14. Never take nutrition or dating advice from the wrong magazines. If you really want to be healthy or have a good relationship, read books, rely upon proven/legitimate sources, and listen to your intuition.
15. Your intuition is almost always right. If your gut tells you the new guy is bad news, walk away. As you get older, you’ll come to trust that your gut is your most trusted advisor.
16. Sometimes your mom is actually right. It may be virtually impossible to convince you to take the advice your mom gave you over dinner one night, but chances are she learned the hard way. Learning your own lessons is very important, but feel free to skip and move ahead once in a while by learning from people who have “been there, done that”.
17. Don’t rush to grow up. One day, you’re going to be married, have kids, or comment on how your cat is so lucky that they don’t have any responsibility. Just enjoy this time you have to be young, and hopefully care-free.
18. Save your money and never put all of it into a joint bank account with a boyfriend. Make sure you take care of yourself first and have a nest egg set aside just in case there’s an emergency, or change of heart.
19. Your natural hair color is and always will be the prettiest. You were made perfect exactly how you are. It’s ok to experiment, just remember that changing the way you look can never change who you are inside, and that is what matters most.
20. Everything is going to be ok. You’re going to lose people, get your heart-broken, feel alone, and totally depressed. Nothing is ever permanent, so next time you’re wrapped up in thoughts of how awful everything is – visualize the way you want things to be instead. Eventually, the tide will turn and life will be more amazing than you ever thought possible.”
So, if you made it this far, thank you for continuing. Now then, if you could turn back the clock and give advice to your younger self, what would it be?
Photo source: O Magazine courtesy of Huffington Post; Source: www.huffintonpost.com; www.quora.com; www.youngandraw.com