Advice to my 20-something self
We all know hindsight is 20-20. Now that I have a few decades on my 20-year-old self, I think it’s important to reflect and impart some wisdom. I don’t know how many 20-somethings (if any) will read this post, but I think it’s valuable to share life lessons in the hopes that someone will benefit from the advice, no matter what age. So, in no particular order…
Treat others as you would like to be treated
Yes, this is the golden rule, but I can’t tell you how many times I’ve seen people being unkind (myself included). It’s so basic and really, it’s not hard to make that little extra effort to just be nice. Whether it’s in the grocery checkout line, on the road, in the office or on the phone with the cable company (yes, I know this one is REALLY hard), you will feel so much better taking the high road and being nice when confronted with people who may just be having a bad day. I know it’s hard sometimes and we all lose our patience but just pause, take a breath, and do the right thing. Life is too short to be angry and unkind.
Learn to live within your means
This one took me years to figure out. Unfortunately, I was never schooled in the ways of money management when I was young but eventually I started to pay attention and then I treated it as a challenge. Let me tell you, when you make a budget and stick to it you sleep so much better at night. Having mounds of debt is no bueno and it’s just not worth it to keep up with the Jones. If the people you are hanging out with really care about the car you drive or if you’re wearing designer anything, you need to find new people! If you’d like some money-saving tips, read this post.
The best things in life aren’t things
I don’t remember where I saw this statement, but it wasn’t that long ago and it really resonated with me. In my 20’s I always looked to the next pair of boots, purse, outfit (insert thing here) I wanted to buy. I know we can get caught up in the next big (or little) “thing” we want but, in the end, it doesn’t bring joy and it’s not what we will reflect back on. What really brings me joy are memories of family vacations, making pancakes with my boys on weekends, graduations, time spent laughing with friends, date night in with my husband, snuggling with my babies (when they were babies!), etc. These are the best “things” in life and it’s easy to lose sight of this. Of course you need the basics; clothes, a roof over your head, furniture, a car, but don’t base your happiness on those items. Be thankful for the basics and enjoy that they make your life comfortable, but focus on what really matters; friends, family, and experiences that make memories.
Take (calculated) risks
I’ve never been a big risk taker and I still struggle with this one. Take me out of my comfort zone and I start to panic a little (or sometimes, a lot!). I definitely have a fear of the unknown, however, I have been better at taking calculated risks over the last decade or two. Take this blog for example – it took me 2 years to finally make it known. A good chunk of that was time spent learning and building it, but an unreasonable amount of time was me worrying what people will think, is it good enough, who is going to care about what I have to say, I don’t know what I’m doing, and the list goes on. That said, the reward has far outweighed the risk. I may not have a large following but that’s ok because I really enjoy creating this content, writing, taking photos and coming up with new ideas. What I’ve finally realized is nothing will ever be perfect enough or be the perfect time – you just have to start somewhere. Whether you’re considering a new career path, a move to a new city, taking a vacation to a foreign land or meeting new people by getting involved in a community group, these are all risks that could have big rewards if you just take the leap. You don’t want to look back and say “what if.” Now, that said, I recommend some planning and research. I like to make a “pros/cons” list just to put all the scenarios in front of me. This is just me though. There are many people who are comfortable being more impulsive and, if that works for you, then go with it. But either way, life is meant to be lived fully and if you don’t take some risks then you will be left with regrets.
A little less deep, but still valuable bits of advice:
- Save your money and buy drugstore make-up. No one on the planet will know what mascara you are wearing!
- Fill your gas tank when you have ¼ tank left. You don’t want to be that person on the side of the road.
- Don’t over share on social media. No one needs/wants to know everything about your daily life.
- If you’ve never seen “The Sound of Music”, watch it ASAP. It will change your mood for the better and give you a sudden urge to visit Austria.
- Don’t run in flip flops – it never ends well.
- Don’t fall asleep in the sun – that doesn’t end well either.
- Go ahead and sing in the car. It feels good and provides entertainment to other drivers.
I really could go on and on with what I’ve learned/realized through the years but I don’t want to take up hours of your time! I do hope anyone reading this will find it helpful and take some of it to heart. What advice would you dish out to your younger self? Let me know in the comments below!