I’m turning 34 tomorrow. Sometimes when I think about it, I panic over my age and the fact that time is passing by so quickly. But most of the time I just appreciate how far I have come over the last decade and thank God that I never have to go back to my 20’s. Although I have many fond memories of college and grad school and my life as a 20-something, I feel only a faint recognition of that younger version of myself. I was extremely naïve and insecure when I was younger, and for the most part I was totally unaware. Unaware of my own dreams and desires, unaware of the effects of my actions on others, unaware of my purpose in life. I wasn’t a bad person, I just had a lot of growing up to do. I often think about what I have learned about myself and about life in general in the last several years, and how I would have done things differently earlier in life had I known what I know now. So today, in honor of my birthday, I’ll share those things with you. Here are my top 10 pieces of advice for my 20-something self:
1. Focus on developing your talents rather than improving your weaknesses.
2. Don’t take any situation or any relationship for granted. You may not know why you are in a certain situation with certain people, but there is always a reason.
3. Appreciate each stage of life for what it is and cherish your time there. It will pass by way too quickly and you may never pass that way again.
4. Don’t strive or try too hard to make things happen in your life. Most of the great things in my life came to me when I least expected them. Things have a way of working out for the best in the right time, when you are ready. Beating your head against the wall, trying to get something that you are not ready for will only make you miserable.
5. Don’t hold on too tightly to things, especially things that are not right for you. You have to learn to let them go so that you can make room for something better.
6. Celebrate others' successes. Begrudging others of happiness does not create more for you, in fact it’s just the opposite. Share in others’ success and happiness because you will certainly want them there to celebrate yours.
7. Speaking your mind does not have to be done in a rude or angry way. It can be gentle and can come from a place of love. But you must learn to do it.
8. Appreciate and love your body just as it is. Believe it or not one of these days you will wish you still had the body you have now, it doesn't get any better with age.
9. Don’t compare yourself to anyone else. Follow your own unique path that is meant for you and only you. Inspire envy by utilizing your talents to make your own way rather than following pre-determined paths and conforming to the status quo.
10. Learn to love and accept yourself fully, treat yourself gently and forgive yourself easily. The sooner you do this the better. It is the absolute foundation for living an authentic and meaningful life.
Hopefully I will keep these tips in mind over the next 10 years. And who knows what I will be able to add to the list at 44!
Have a piece of advice that you would add to the list? Tell me in the comments below!