Do you ever think back to when you were a teenager going through the motions of navigating high school, your body changing, figuring out how to handle your new hormones, deciding where you want to go to college, life post-college? The list goes on and on.
People expect you to know exactly what you want to do for a career, what interests you, and what companies you’re going to apply to when you graduate college.
It’s all so overwhelming that you feel at a standstill and are desperately trying to find answers on what to do next.
I realized the other day that it’s been almost 10 years since I’ve graduated high school, and it made me reflect on what I wish I told myself at the time.
So here it goes. I wish I told myself to:
#1: Trust your gut.
If something feels off in your gut, listen to it, even if it means going against what other people are doing.
I swear by this now. Whenever my gut feels off about a person, place, or particular situation, I listen to it and it’s never lead me down the wrong path.
#2: There is nothing wrong with a small friend group.
When I was in high school, it was me and my best friend Tino (her first name is Amanda, so I call her either Tino or Amanda, apologies in advance for the confusion ?).
We were (and still are!) incredibly close and had each other’s backs.
We had other friends, but no one that we were extra close to. We were friendly with everyone but at the end of the day, it was just her and I.
I remember going through high school and always feeling a little funky because we weren’t part of some massive friend group. The more I started hanging around those large friend groups, the more I realized how almost all of them talked behind each others backs and no one seemed to be loyal.
I’m all about loyalty, always have been, always will be.
I look back at that time when I felt insecure for not being a part of a big friend group and see that now a lot of the people in those groups aren’t friends anymore, and me and Amanda couldn’t have a stronger relationship.
#3: Explore your curiosities.
I wish I took the time to explore more of my curiosities, rather than take random classes my advisor told me to take so I could get my degree.
If I’d explored my curiosities more, I think I would have found the self-knowledge industry quicker and gotten a head start on my business.
I’m a firm believer that everything happens for a reason, so I don’t regret the path I chose. But if you’re reading this and navigating through high school and college years, explore those curiosities my friend.
#4: Having a therapist doesn’t mean you’re crazy.
I swear by my girl Pam now, but back in the day when I first started therapy in college, I thought it was only for crazy people.
I was obviously young and naive then, but that’s what I thought. I figured a therapist meant you had issues and that you’re crazy.
I preach therapy now and think everyone in the world should have a therapist. It’s something I’ll stick with for the rest of my life.
#5: Read more books, spend less time on your phone.
I wish I fueled my mind more.
I didn’t read books for the longest time. I would skim through the books I was assigned to for high school and college, but never picked up a book that challenged me.
I try to read 1-2 books a month now, and am always finding ones that challenge me and my outlook on life.
Read ya books girlfriend.
#6: Focus on loving yourself rather than other peoples opinions.
How often do we fall into that trap of caring what other people think? Whether it’s about our boob size, our weight, our height, the way we talk, what color our hair is, etc.
We get SO fixated on impressing other people. But what about impressing ourselves? What about being fixated on loving ourselves?
If we continue to care what other people think of us, then we are living our life for them, not ourselves.
Live your life for you, not other people.
#7. Don’t take life too seriously.
I wish someone smacked me in the face with this when I was younger.
I cared about EVERYTHINGGGGG. And I mean EVERYTHING.
I would care if it was raining on my birthday and I couldn’t go to the beach with my friends.
I would care if I didn’t get the internship I applied for and thought the world was ending.
And I would REALLY care if I couldn’t drive myself to school and had to take the bus.
Now, I’m just grateful to be able to be around people for my birthday, regardless of what we’re doing.
I work toward being my own boss so no one can accept or deny me for a job again.
And, I would love for someone to drive me around now so I don’t have to do it myself.
Don’t take it too seriously my friends.
#8. Just because someone is older than you doesn’t mean they have their life figured out.
Do you ever look at someone in their 30’s,40’s,50’s, etc. and say to yourself? “Shit, she’s got it ALL figured it out.”
I can’t tell you the number of people I met in corporate America who were older than me and were still dealing with issues from back when they were in high school and college.
Just because someone has kids, looks all put together, has a good job, doesn’t meant their happy. I can’t tell you the number of times I’ve witnessed this.
That brings me to my next point…
#9. Work out your issues.
Were you bullied back in high school? You’re in your late 20’s, early 30’s now and still feel insecure about what people would call you?
Did you use to struggle with food and think you’ve moved on but still find yourself questioning whether or not you should eat that slice of pizza?
If we don’t work out our issues, they sneak up on us later on in life and they come into our lives 10 times worse.
Let me tell you a story.
When I was a freshman in college, something awful happened when I was driving on home on I95 in Massachusetts.
My tire blew.
Completely popped and I lost full control of my car.
I spun around everywhere and flew off the side of the highway on the verge of flipping. To this day, I know the only reason why I didn’t flip was because of my guardian angel.
It scared the crap out of me.
But I brushed it off and kept living my life.
Then, I noticed that I would sweat like crazy whenever I would drive. I would come up with excuses about why I can’t go somewhere because I didn’t want to drive.
About a year and a half later I had my first panic attack. That spiraled into a 6 month period where my body was in a constant panic. I would have up to 10 panic attacks a day. It was by far the most bizarre experience I’ve ever been through.
I almost failed out of college because I couldn’t sit in a classroom without getting the freight or flight panic response and needing to leave. My body wouldn’t let me sleep.
It was AWFUL.
That’s when I started my therapy journey and after MONTHS AND MONTHS of doing it, I discovered that I didn’t trust myself after that accident and needed to work that out.
It was a journey and one I’ll never forget.
Work out your issues, because you never know when they’re going to sneak back up to you.
#10. Nothing beats time with the ones you love.
Nope, not even a frat party or college homecoming.
I live across the county from my family now, and while it’s short term, I’d do anything to be able to go to their house for dinners on Friday nights, or on double dates with my parents, or drinks with my friends.
Don’t take spending time with them for granted, you never know what tomorrow is going to bring.