If you could tell your 20-year-old self one thing right now, what would it be?

One night on a whim, I decided to text all the real adults in my life  (i.e. people that have their sh*t figured out or at least appear to) whose opinions I respect the same question: If you could tell your 20-year-old self one thing right now what would it be?

I don’t exactly know what my motivation was to text all these people. I guess I wanted to pick the brains of some people that mean a lot to me and see if I can gather some wisdom that’s applicable to my current life. Many of these individuals have been through similar experiences as me, so I figured they could offer some direction and insight into my life as a 20-year-old. As the responses began to roll in, I realized that this wisdom should be shared with the world. So here are their responses:

“You’re so much better than you give yourself credit for. Stop letting other people determine your worth. YOU determine your worth.” 

“Choose your friends wisely and keep your circles tight. Life isn’t about winning a popularity contest. It’s about finding loyal people that will have your back no matter what. When you’re successful, that’s when the ‘popularity’ will come and at that point you won’t even care what they think of you.”  

“For starters, your metabolism will definitely slow down.  Pick your friends wisely; you’ll need them when you get older.  But remember some aren’t forever.  Be a good friend.  Know that your parents love you more than life itself.  Most importantly, be true to yourself. Don’t be someone else just to fit in.  Be YOU.  And stay a kid at heart.  Be immature sometimes–it’s fun!” 

“Travel and do new things. Meet and be friendly with all kinds of different people– your network will be invaluable. Also learn what it means to have a relationship with someone… how to be attentive, present, etc.” 

“Have the confidence in yourself to be who you are and who you dream to be.” 

“I would say not to be so hard on myself; you are doing so much better than you realize.  You don’t need to have it all figured out yet. Take time for some adventures and be spontaneous. Follow your gut, you know the difference between positive and negative relationships, choose those that build you up and lose the dead weight of those that tear you down.  This is your time to take risks, maybe screw up a little and find yourself. Don’t be afraid to make mistakes and know you have a team of people that love and support you and will help if an when they are needed. Grades are important, but they don’t define you.  By the time you are looking for your second job, no one will give a crap about what you got in Rhetorical  American Political Influences or whatever it is you took your junior year.” 

“Whatever is stressing you out now, most likely won’t matter when your 30, so have some perspective.  You’re healthy, smart, fun (and great looking), enjoy this time.” 

“Don’t sweat the small stuff, be closer to God, and keep your nose clean.” 

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Credit: @tierneystudio on Instagram

“No amount of education, money or status will earn you happiness. What will, in my opinion, is staying true to yourself and your needs and surrounding yourself with people who make your heart happy.” 

“I would love to tell my 20-year-old self more than one thing. I guess I would tell myself there is no roadmap for life. Learn to make my own decisions, and for sure whatever decisions you choose to make, good or bad, you must suffer the consequences. You can ask for opinions, but in the end you own those decisions and consequences. Take chances.”

“Turning 21 is expensive. You will no longer be able to have the excuse of being a “teenager” and need to own your mistakes. Shame is your enemy and if you don’t practice self love and humility you will worry too much. Moments of joy happen in small, everyday things and are not the big moments, practice gratitude. Chill out bro, you can get married at any time. Take time to love where you’re at, soon college will be over and you can’t go back. Friendship can end in love but only if you let it. And remember to take a risk once in awhile.”

“You really don’t know anything. Even though you feel so accomplished, you haven’t done anything yet in this world. Your success in life will not be from any grade or any accomplishment. Success will be remembered from being a [wo]man of respect. Respect for others, even for those you don’t particularly like, but respecting all other people, God, and the world around you. Respect for yourself means being truthful about who you are and what you want to become as a [wo]man.”

“Keep God close to you always.  He is always there for comfort. Always keep your family number 1.  They will always be there for you above anyone else. If you marry be sure they are your absolute best friend and everything a friend stands for.”

“Be mindful of those around you.”

“I couldn’t come up with just one. First, think big! It is better to shoot for the stars and miss than aim for a pile of manure and hit it. You are the captain of your own ship. Where you go and how you travel is up to you. You are in charge of your own destiny. If you aren’t sure where to go, see #1. Travel. When you are young, you have time but no money. When you are middle aged, you have money but no time. When you are old, you have time and money but not your health. Therefore, travel as often and as far as you can. There is a big world out there and you need to start exploring it now. Don’t wait until the time is right. It will never be the right time. Paying for tuition never works on paper. Take it one step at a time, have faith, be creative and know you are making an investment in (your or your child’s) future. Somehow it will work out.”

“Don’t date seriously, love life and enjoy it, and party while you can.”

“The quote by Maya Angelou comes to mind and I would want to reiterate to my 20-year-old self that it really does matter how you treat people because they “will always remember how you made them feel.”  Connecting with others, being willing to hear their stories, letting them know that they matter really does make a difference. People want to know that their existence makes a difference, at least to someone.  A simple smile goes a long way, a genuine greeting is the same.  Calling someone by their name, by their correct name, is invaluable.  It truly is the little things that matter, and it’s those little things that make a difference in people’s lives and lets them know that they matter as a person.”

“Dream big and travel more! I was too afraid to fly (not literally) so I never moved away, never created so many life experiences I wish I had. Didn’t travel as much as I could have before responsibilities.”

Thank you so much to everyone that helped me out with this (you know who you are). I didn’t exactly plan to share this on my blog, but I figured the rest of the world could benefit from your wisdom as much as I did.

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