They say that hindsight is 20/20 and it’s true. I mean, I’m only 23 and here I am wishing I could extend some of my wisdom on my own younger self. There’s so much that we learn throughout our lives, sometimes I feel like the young girl I have memories of isn’t even me because I feel so different from who I once was. I wanted to write this “letter” of advice for myself, but also for so many other young creatives out there because maybe I can help them achieve their dreams sooner than I did, maybe I can keep them from ignoring the annoying advice from adults that they think is never true. Let me tell you, most of the time it is true and it’s advice that we will someday reflect on and wish that we took. Don’t get me wrong I am a big advocate for living your life with no regrets, and I know that I wouldn’t have the life I have now if in my past happened differently, but still, if I could have made it easier on myself these last five years I would in a heartbeat. So here it is, my advice to you. You can take it or leave it, but either way, I’m happy to have shared it with you.
(Photo by Justin Gilbert)
Dear Younger Self,
You’re probably sitting in your room right now bored out of your mind because you can’t decide what you want to do tonight. Trust me, it gets easier the older you get. Remember, there’s no shame in staying home on a Saturday night to have some time for yourself, in fact, I hope you do it more often. Anyway, I want you to know a few things as you begin your own journey over the next couple of years. What I say is important, it will help you reach your goals and save you some heartache along the way so listen up.
Never, ever doubt yourself
There will be times when you question everything that you are doing, but promise me that you won’t let it get to you and threaten your momentum. Silence the voices and opinions of others, all that matters is your own gut feelings. If they are good then always go for it. You will always have doubts; it’s pushing through them that will make you a stronger person. Doubt slowed me down for many years because I was afraid to push past it, so when it happens rush towards it instead, you’ll thank me.
Know who your real friends are
When I was your age I wanted to have as many friends as possible. The older I got the smaller the number became. True friends are rare and harder to come by. Don’t get caught up in how many people you have in your corner, but with how many of them you can wholeheartedly trust. Some friendships you will want to fight to keep, don’t. It’s okay to let them go because real friendships won’t be one-sided. There will always be an equal divide, so if you don’t have that with someone in your life then quite frankly you need to cut them loose. It will be the best thing for your future, you only want good, healthy relationships, no drama, and no judgment.
This is super important. You must be honest to those around you, but even more so to yourself. If there’s something in your life that you know you shouldn’t be doing or maybe the thing you think you love doesn’t interest you anymore it’s all okay. Just be real about it. Tell the truth when you talk to others, if someone asks you a question answer it fairly, be truthful and demand the same in return. We all hide from the truth and it’s time we start embracing it, we’ll get places much faster if we do.
Remember, you can always change and you should
No one should be the same thing forever. There’s too much in this world that we must experience before we leave it. My biggest mistake was thinking that once I chose a path I wouldn’t be able to take a different one. I was very wrong. Your life is your life and if you don’t like something about it or in it, then you have an obligation to your own happiness to make a change. We are so afraid to do this and it’s that fear which leads to unhappiness. Change is good for us, it’s how we grow and learn to deal with the things in life we can’t control. Become familiar with change, it will help you in many years to come. Please don’t feel like once you declare your love for something that it always has to be like that. You should try new things and experience something out of your comfort zone, but if you don’t like it then you are free to stop and change course. I hope you find the courage to do this.
(Photo by Kayla Mendez)
Compete with only yourself
Comparing yourself to others will only distract you from your goals. We are all different, even if two people are doing the same thing, there are a million different ways to get to that final destination. Find your strengths and use them. Keep looking ahead and stop worrying about what your “competition” is doing. Instead, look at those people as inspiration, as an opportunity for a friendship. We get so caught up in being the best that we forget to enjoy the ride to the top.
Don’t pretend to be someone or something you’re not
We all at some point did this because we wanted to be liked and accepted. Acting a certain way because you want the world to have a certain perception of you will only make you unhappy. You have to be comfortable in your own skin. What others think of you should never dictate the way you live your life. Love yourself first, because at the end of the day you are the one who has to look in the mirror. Be honest, first with yourself, and then with other.
For so long I depended on other people in my life. I trusted them to always be there for me, and when they weren’t I was devastated. I also used these people as an excuse not to pursue the things I really wanted to go after. I would say, “I can’t do that, or go there because so and so needs me here for support.” My rationale was that if I depended on them then they must be able to depend on me. I was being selfless, and I wish for my early years away from home that I had been more selfish. When you stop being afraid to be alone, or independent so many other doors open for you. So take the time to find that. The best way to do this is to be alone. I guarantee you’ll hate it at first, but as time passes you will become used to it and life won’t seem so scary anymore. I challenge you to do things that make you uncomfortable. Go to the movies alone, make reservations at a busy restaurant and eat dinner alone. The more okay with it you become the less awkward it will appear to others.
Accept the things you cannot change
I grew up always needing to be in control. It’s taken me over four years to be okay with giving up that sense of control. Yes, there are many things in life that we do have a say about, but there are also just as many that we don’t. I let the situations that I had no control over dictate my moods and it was draining for myself and for those around me. Don’t get me wrong you should always have feelings, and expressing those feelings is always a good thing if you do it in a positive manner, but find the will to brush something off when you know it will never change. There is a time and place for your efforts and as we grow it’s essential to know when and where to use them.
(Photo by Kayla Mendez)
Unplug every once in a while
When I say unplug I mean leave all of your technology behind. Even if you do it for six hours instead of a whole weekend. It’s necessary to take a break. We put so much weight on social media and technology in general. We become obsessed with checking our phones every few minutes. Get away from that. Go for a hike, read a book, lay in the sun. Turn everything else off so you can finally hear yourself speak. It will feel strange at first but just roll with it. You’ll be glad you did later.
Always speak up
Your voice matters. It’s uniquely yours, don’t ever forget that. Only you can tell your tale, so tell it. Help others find their voices, and never be afraid to use yours. Change only takes place when we discuss it. Make it a point to speak about the hard things and do your best o make a difference in your own life and the lives of others.
I hope that you read this and take some of my tips. Growing up is very hard. There’s so much that I have yet to learn. All I know is that I’m excited to be where I am. I’m happy in my own skin, I’m healthy, I’m positive, and I am confident that these 10 pieces of advice can make you feel the same way that I do. Remember, tomorrow is a new day and it’s never too late to start brand new.