Everyone has a story and we have all learned lessons throughout our lives. There are A LOT of things I would love to tell my younger self, but honestly I don’t think she would listen to me anyways!
Not to mention, would I be the person I am today if I didn’t do some of the things I did and go through the events that I did? Probably not.
Still, I want to share the top five things I would tell my younger self. Maybe whoever is reading this wants to learn from someone else’s life experiences; maybe you have a daughter or younger sister that you want to read this with; maybe you’re just looking for some solid life advice.
I mean, I would certainly take this with a grain of salt because I was a pretty good kid to begin with and I was also a bit naive before I joined the military and moved out of Reno, Nevada. Literally the worst thing I ever did was sleep in my car a couple of nights when I was too tired to drive home!
I think that things happen in life for a reason and there is no point in fighting it. I would tell myself these things in hopes that the younger me would listen, but she’s a bit stubborn (still is) and tends to like to find things out the hard way… She’s a bit weird!
Boys… They’re a Bit Dumb.
There were very few times in my late teenage years that I did NOT have a boyfriend. Like I mentioned, I was naive. My family would tell me that boys were dumb and they “only want one thing.”
I’ll tell you my theory. Yeah, boys are dumb. They can’t really help it though. It’s biology’s fault. It isn’t that boys only want one thing (sex, in case you don’t know what I’m talking about)… it’s just that they typically do not have your best interest in mind.
Boys are a bit selfish and ya know what? You’re at the age where you should be selfish, too. For once, I think we can learn something from teenage boys.
I dated this guy, Steven, in high school. He’s still one of my best friends so I know he won’t mind me talking about him. Anyways, we dated some of junior year and all of senior year. Most of the students at our school went off to four year universities, including Steven. At that age, I was terrified of a long distance relationship and I didn’t trust people easily (sorry Steven). I honestly resented him when he moved down to southern California for school and I thought he was being selfish.
Well, he was being selfish, but for a good reason. He was going out into the world to achieve his goals and be like an adult or something.
Thankfully, I let him go and also took note… which ended in my enlistment in the military, getting out of Reno, and meeting my husband!
I’ll spare you guys the rest of my dating woes, but just know that it isn’t necessarily a bad thing to have a lot of love interests. And I honestly didn’t have that many, I just had some long-term relationships. However, by the time I met my husband, I had a VERY good idea of what I wanted in a lifelong partner. I knew within a few months of our relationship that I would marry him!
Also he’s older so he has a more developed brain. Good job, science!
Be Gutsy and Fearless.
Oh my gosh, I was so timid when I was younger. I still tend to be, but I have no issues with speaking my mind now, even if it is something that might make people mad. I won’t offer my opinion, but if someone asks me a question then they can expect an honest answer from me.
When I was younger, I just wanted to please everyone. I never stood up for myself against anyone. On the rare occasion that I did, it was with massive encouragement and because the person could already see the emotion written on my face so there was no hiding it at that point.
I think being unafraid to speak my mind and not go with the flow has done wonders for my mental health. I no longer care if I am disappointing someone, unless it’s my dog or husband.
I’m not sure why I was so scared to speak my mind growing up. Perhaps the glory of being an adult is that I don’t really have anyone to answer to anymore (except the military, but that’s fine) and I’m not worried about pleasing my friends, family, teachers, and colleges that I am applying for.
Another thing is also just growing up and being less tolerant of people’s shenanigans.
Follow Your Instinct
My instinct is so spot on. It has never been wrong.
I have been wrong, though, with not following it quite a few times.
People may be rolling their eyes at me about how confident I am in my intuition, so consider this:
When I had appendicitis, the doctor that was going to operate on me gave me AN AWFUL FEELING. Like that feeling of impending doom. He left and I turned to my mom, saying, “I don’t like him. Find me another doctor. I think he will kill me or something.”
My mom was mainly concerned with just getting the almost literal bomb inside of me out, which is understandable, and he was the only doctor available. So, he was the doctor who operated on me.
Less than a week later, I was on my death bed with severe sepsis, going into shock because he botched the surgery.
Always. Follow. Your. Instinct.
There were other times that I ignored my instinct growing up, especially in my late teens when I thought I was soooo smart. My instinct would tell me not to date that guy, not to trust that person, don’t believe the bookstore employees when they say they’ll buy your textbooks back and you can’t find them on Chegg.
Sorry, instinct, for not listening to you when I should have!
Don’t Feel Bad for Taking a Different Path
I am 26 years old and graduating college next month. Not with my Doctorate or Masters; with my Bachelors. Most of my classmates that I went to high school with, including Steven, have their Masters or are working on some form of a graduate degree.
Do I feel bad about this?
Honestly, I used to. Like jeez, I felt a bit stupid and like I am doing things wrong. It took me awhile to become comfortable telling people what I am doing with my life.
They say comparison is the thief of joy and whoever “they” are… well they are correct! Another thing I have learned is that you’re kind of boring if you just take the same path as everyone else (no offense to everyone else).
I did take a different path. At first, it was because I was forced to. My parents didn’t pay for my college or my car. They helped me out when they could with things like groceries, cell phone bills, and car insurance.
In the long run, though, it was all worth it. I got my first job straight out of high school. I learned how to budget my money and save what I could. I owned my car and I was so proud of that beat-up thing! No joke, it had like 200,000 miles on it and I took care of it like it was a top-of-the-line Ferrari.
I joined the military for education benefits and ended up meeting my husband. I learned a new set of skills that I have now perfected. I have traveled the United States and the world.
Now I am finally getting my college degree but ya know what? I have had so much fun and I’ve had the time to figure out just what I want to do with my life, which helped me realize that I don’t actually want to be a neurosurgeon; I’d rather be a writer.
Oh, and there is the fact that I am completely debt-free.
Your Happiness is Important
Is anything worth it if it steals away your happiness?
The correct answer is no.
Life gets messy sometimes and we can’t always avoid the negativity. Happiness is more of a journey and less of a destination. It is important to learn how to be happy while you’re trying to achieve your goals because if you are not happy on the way there, you’re not going to be happy at the finish line.
How have I learned to be happy?
I practice gratitude, I spend time with the people I love, I make time to do the things I love, and I put all of my energy into all of the above. I have also learned to be self-aware and know when I am in need of a break from something.
Above all, I no longer rely on other people to make me happy.
I wear a lot of hats: NASM Certified Personal Trainer, Weight Loss Specialist, and Fitness Nutrition Specialist. A writer with a B.A. in English and Professional Writing. A fur mom and a wife. A mental health advocate and a septic shock survivor. An Airman and an athlete. I live in South Florida and am in love with the ocean. People can typically find me either in the gym or at home, writing or reading.