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.
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.