2016 is just hours away and the realization of this prompted me to look back at all the lessons learned not only this year but that past few years. At 23 years old I am in no place to say I know it all or believe I'm even close to knowing everything there is to know, but I do believe that through our experiences we learn and grow into who we are today. I've listed a few pieces of advice I would give to my younger self based on all adventures, hardships, opportunities and wisdom I've personally been exposed to in recent years. I hope you have an incredible New Year ahead and thank you for dropping in. <3
1. Think more. Through my younger years I always heard the phrase "actions speak louder," and "Don't think. Just do," which I do agree with to a certain extent. But, looking back I think that putting in actual time to think has been so beneficial. There's such value in taking time to think and reflect about the things you want to do, the goals you want to set, and the events that are currently happening in life. Gaining perspective on where you are and where you want to be is so priceless, especially in today's day where everything is so fast-paced and rushed. I've found that slowing down and reflecting is so vital to getting to know who you are and making better decisions in the long run.
2. Spend time with yourself. This is probably one of the most important things I believe in. I've come to know quite a few people who cannot stand the idea of being alone - in a general and practical sense. Spending time alone with no distractions is one of the most blissful things I've come to learn. With all the social media around us and the quick ability to post whatever we want whenever we want it's easy to lose sensibility to our inner selves and get distracted by the rest of the world. Work, friends and relationships are all amazing things that I love and appreciate so much, but I've also found great value in disconnecting from all of that purposefully and just "being." Practicing this has allowed me to balance myself in a mental and spiritual way from such a unique angle.
3. Learn to be comfortable being single. You don't need another person to make you whole. Being single is one of the most beautiful things I've come to appreciate. The relationship you have with yourself is one of the most important ones you'll have - cherish that and seek satisfaction in that. I've come to understand myself the best in those times and learn about myself so much better. Appreciating being happy on your own will only add to the relationships you will have in your life. Take advantage of the time you have to yourself to find out what you really need and get to know who you are as best as possible without the approval or suggestions of another person. Be a driving force on your own and you will attract an even stronger one.
4. There's A LOT you don't know. Trust me. I think it's normal to believe we know everything we need to know at certain points in our lives. But boy, will life slap you around and teach you some real hard lessons. Experience really is the best teacher. Let things happen, even if you don't understand them. Listen to wisdom and what it's trying to show you. Don't think you're above any of it and don't place yourself higher than you actually are. Be open to growth, open to criticism and open to truth.
5. Let love in. Don't fight it or believe you're not worth it. Rather, let it fill you. There will come a time when you'll need that love and it will fuel your heart in the toughest times. Always remember that you are already so loved and cared for. Do not let the world make you cold-hearted or distant from love. When you accept love you're driven to share it, and the world needs it so much more than it is given.
6. Stop planning so much. Probably one of my top pieces of advice for anyone. I'm a planner - always have been. However, more than once I've learned that planning only has so much power. You will be taken on so many different roads and unplanned ventures that planning will only create frustration when things pan out differently. I wouldn't rule out planning totally, it definitely has it's importance, but don't marry your plans - chances are they won't stick anyway. You don't have to have it all figured out. Always keep in mind that things may happen differently and always leave room for change. Plus, spontaneity is so much more fun.
7. Your truest friends will be obvious to you. It's one of the hardest lessons and pieces of advice I've had to give myself over the years. Some friendships will change, others will grow and others will even end. Surround yourself with people who appreciate and love who you are and make you feel you're worth their time. Those that listen and ask how you genuinely are will be the ones that stick around. The ones that cook for you just to see you eat a better meal, the ones that will take you to their favorite restaurant or coffee shop, or the ones that will do anything to make you laugh till you cry. Even more than that, the ones who dream with you, support you and elevate you day in and day out.
8. Take care of yourself. Not only in the physical way of exercising, eating right and sleeping enough hours (those are givens), but in the people you surround yourself with, the thoughts you keep in your mind and the priorities you've made for yourself. Encourage yourself and always keep a positive atmosphere around you. Don't get caught up in the negativity and pain of others to the point where it begins to affect your mood and state of being. Protect yourself from all that you do not have control of.
9. Stop trying to "fix" people. Yes, I've tried this. More times than I'll admit. But it's not anything I could ever do or had success in, because it's beyond my power. Your only responsibility is to love someone, truly. Be a listener, a helper and a friend no matter what happens, but understand that it is not your battle and not your fight to win. Recognize that you are not responsible or able to do such thing.
10. Stop looking at what everyone else is doing. It's your journey, your walk. Stop wondering why you aren't where that person is or why you can't have what they have - it won't elevate or benefit you. Strive to grow yourself and achieve the things you want to achieve because it's what YOU want - not because someone else has it. You have your very own special journey created just for you. The best gift you have is to live the unique life you were given and maximize on it. Stay focused on the road you're on and aim for originality. Trust in your special ideas (and the crazy ones) and carry them out in your own way. Seriously.
11. Everything is temporary. That crappy job you're working will be a thing of the past. That car you need will come because your mom is so amazing that way, and there will come that day when you'll graduate and come home from work without a 5 page essay due the next day. Breathe, trust and be patient. Nothing is forever and everything is temporary. At 23, you'll laugh all this off with your best friend on your couch over wine and your pet chihuahua on that great couch you found on Craigslist.
Love, your older self.