Tag Archives: friendships

What I Wish I Could Tell My Younger Self: Tips for Happiness, Overcoming Anxiety, and Tackling Life Head-On

Life goes by in an instant. One day, you’re 18 and off to your freshman year of college, and the next you’re nearing 30.

Recently, I’ve found myself looking back at my life so far. Nostalgic? Perhaps. But I’ve been thinking more about what I’ve learned so far in my short life, more than I have been reminiscing.

And as I thought about what I’ve learned, it made me think about the things I wish I could tell my younger self; the lessons I’ve learned, how to handle the bumps in the road and to remember that even those dark moments, there is a light at the end of the tunnel. If I could go back in time, these are the things I would tell myself.

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Kick your worries to the curb. Worrying is normal. Letting your worries overcome your day is not. Some worries are worth fretting over. While others, like saying ‘no’ to someone isn’t worth it. Worrying takes up too much energy.

Don’t be afraid to try new things.  You may have a fear of what others think of you, but don’t let it hold you back from trying something you’ve always wanted to. Letting what others think of you get in the way of life will only cause missed opportunities and regret.

You will suffer from debilitating anxiety and depression. And you will get through it. Anxiety and depression run in your family. You’re bound to face it at some point. It just so happens that it will be your first semester of college and your first time living away from home. A very common time. You will battle with it all through college. Panic attacks and debilitating depression will become a normal part of your day. But in the end, you will get through it. You will learn how to cope. You will learn how to fight back. And in the end, you will want to help others simply by telling your story and letting others know they are not alone.

Exercise is necessary.  Just because you rode horses and practically lived at a barn, does not mean you will stay skinny and in shape forever. Learn to enjoy going to the gym, going for runs, and being outside. Because once you have a full-time job, finding time to exercise will become an excuse. And you will end up having at least 10 excuses every day for not going to the gym. If only you developed a routine in college, you’d be less likely now to fight the idea of working out.

Ask questions of family members before it’s too late. Your family members hold the key to your history. Learn everything you can before it’s too late. Find out more about your great grandparents. Ask your grandparents about their families. Listen intently. Your grandparents love to tell stories from their younger years.

You will know when you fall in love (and it will happen when you’re 22). It’s life-consuming, mind-altering and the best feeling in the entire world. When movies describe finding your soul mate, they most definitely got it right.

Friendships come and go. Some friendships will fade away on there own as you grow up and grow apart. Some will disintegrate before your eyes and there is nothing you can do. Others will end abruptly and painfully for various reasons. Others will grow stronger than ever, and you realize that they are some of the best people you know. Some will be new; that will develop over college and your career. And you can’t imagine life without them now.

Life will challenge you. As cliche as it sounds, life will throw you curveballs. And you will have times where you question how you are going to overcome them. But you will, and you will come out stronger than before. Life isn’t supposed to be easy. Without challenges, we as people aren’t able to grow and change. Take those challenges head-on and know that you will rise above.

Your best laid plans will change. At 16, you had a plan. You were going to graduate high school. Go to college. Become a teacher. And teach 2nd grade. Suddenly, as a freshman in college, you discover you would rather be writing, change your major, and focus on Journalism. As graduation nears, it hits you that print journalism is disappearing. You flounder. Take a few odd jobs, and end up at a company that changes your direction. You start a Master’s program in Marketing, and focus on a new career path. You end up in financial marketing for 2 years before landing a career that you are both passionate about and enjoy.

Sometimes those initial plans are meant to be disrupted. Because without the disruption, you may not end up where you are supposed to be.

You are responsible for your own happiness. The actions of others can make you happy, but they are not responsible for your happiness. Find ways to enjoy life. Find your passions. And do them everyday. Life is too short to not be happy.

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Five Things Friday {#2} – Nostalgia Edition

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Happy Friday friends! This week flew by… and I’m really starting to hope they slow down a little so we can enjoy the beautiful summer weather that we’re finally getting! This week, Five Things Friday will be a bit different. It’s the Nostalgia Edition. Why you ask?

10 years ago today, I graduated from high school. And I’m kind of in shock. It doesn’t seem like it’s been 10 years. But it has, and a lot has happened in my life in those 10 years. I’ve (obviously) grown up. I’ve gotten my BA and MS. I met the love my life. Got engaged. Landed my dream career. Watched as my childhood home sold and my parents bought their dream retirement home. And so on. So today. We’re going to talk about my top 5 memories.. jumping into the way back machine!

  1. The 8th Grade New York trip: This was the first big ‘trip’ our grade took together. We were all 13 going on 14, getting ready to go to high school, and were all sorts of crazy. We all had trips together in the past (Camp Kiev in 6th grade….) but this was the first time that it was a trip of fun things, not educational. We got to choose our hotel roommates (of course we all chose our best friends), and we stayed in a (what we thought was) a swanky hotel in New Jersey. We got to eat breakfast in the hotel lobby, roam the halls until all hours of the night (despite our teacher’s wishes) and got to see all the sites. The Statue of Liberty, a Broadway show, Times Square, and so on. I wish I could find the pictures from that trip because we all took a picture looking back at the Manhattan skyline on our way to the Statue of Liberty with the Twin Towers at the center of it all. Little did we know that just a couple of years later, they would no longer be standing proud. The memories are some I will always cherish. The first time we got to be let loose in a big city.

2. 9/11: I won’t go to depth into it. It’s not a fond memory. It’s not my top memory. But it happened while I was in high school. And despite the horror and the tragedy, our high school came together. We found ourselves leaning on fellow classmates we may never have spoken too before. Trying to sort out what was happening. And like everyone, classmates and teachers were touched by the tragedy in some way. In our case, a passenger on one of the planes was from a town over, and one of our teachers had taught him school. If you ever want to read my post about it, I wrote about where I was a couple of years back.

  1. My friendships: I know. Cliche. But back then, my life revolved around three things. My family, horses and my friends. I couldn’t wait to meet up with all of them in our usual spot in the hallway before classes started in the morning, I couldn’t wait for lunchtime to see them and chat, and I couldn’t wait for school to be out so I could hang out with one of them. Growing up, even back in middle school, I loved riding my bike to friends houses and spending the day. Or roaming our neighborhoods until the sun set. Life was simple. Even when we hit our high school years, and suddenly we were all dating, driving and taking part in new activities. Life was simple. That’s all we had to worry about. While I may not talk to all of my high school friends anymore, I know that I will always cherish the friendships I had with them. They helped to make me who I am today. And I’m proud of all of them for what they’ve done with their lives. Here we are, 10 years later, and the people I expected to be friends with forever, are mere acquaintances now, and their are some who I’ve grown closer too. And that’s just life. And either way, I’ve created some amazing memories along the way; memories that will I will always cherish.

  2. My favorite classes: Yes. I was a nerd. And yes, I enjoyed going to class (well most of the time). I never skipped. Unless I was at home sick. Or traveling (which we only did on breaks because my dad was a teacher too). Or at a horse show (which only happened in May or June… sometimes in September/October). But there are classes that will always stand out in my mind. History classes with Mr. Gaudiano (the high school football coach at the time), Psychology and Sociology classes with Mr. Brush (where I realized how much I loved Psychology and became comfortable standing in front of a class speaking), Photography (where I first discovered my love of photography. I considered for a split second going to art school…. but that passed quickly), Oceanography (we had like 8 people in our class and used to take trips to the beach. It was awesome), Marine Biology (same thing as Oceanography, but with a way better teacher.) and any class with Mr. Hill and Mr. Gagnon.

But one class that truly stands out in my mind was my Theater class. I was never into theater but I figured I would give it a shot. What I discovered was a new love for the stage, despite horrible stage fright. I never joined any of the performances, but loved being up there with my classmates. I even helped out on a stage crew with one of our performances. It was a lot of fun, and really helped to bring me out of my shell.

5. Graduation: Also cliche. However, graduation is one of those moments that no one should ever forget. You’ve made it through 4 years of the most complicated, awkward and best years of your life, and now it’s time to celebrate. My high school years, while memorable, were nothing to write home about. I was a good student, who worked hard for my grades. I didn’t participate in extra-curriculars because I didn’t have time because of horseback riding (that was my extra-curricular). I wasn’t one of the ‘popular’ kids. In fact, I was kind of nerdy. I would have rather have my nose in book then going to the parties around town. And looking back, I’m glad that was how I was. In fact, looking back, the week leading up to graduation, I had a horse show. And I was completely fine with missing out on graduation activities so I could be at the show. But the school wouldn’t let me. So I had to go to my school events and then race up to the horse show (even getting dressed in the car on the way) so I could compete.

We had numerous ‘graduation day’ practices too. We had to practice walking into the stadium. One of my friends reminded me of this, and how the ‘step-together’, ‘step-together’ will always be in her mind. We had to practice this for HOURS and if you missed a rehersal, you couldn’t walk on graduation day.

But the day graduation came, I took it all in. I was in my graduation garb, surrounded by my friends. It was a rainy day, but I didn’t care. I just wanted to be down with high school. I couldn’t wait to move on to the next chapter of my life. I listened intently to the speeches. I clapped; I cheered. I stood up when they announced who received scholarships. We got up and got our diplomas from our principal and our mayor at the time. Posed for a picture and sat back down. But we all just wanted to get through the ceremony and toss our caps in the air. That crucial moment when it means ‘We did it! We graduated high school!’ That moment was one I’ll never forget. I was officially the Graduating Class of 2004.