As we age, we often look back on our lives with regret or wistfulness, wishing things were different then or now. Regret is a difficult emotion.
Life is what it is and we did the best we could with what we knew at the time.
Wouldn’t it have been fantastic though, if our older self could have travelled back in time and given us a page or two of advice — people or places to steer clear of, etc. Sounds like some sci-fi movie.
And really, would we have listened? I know my teenagers would roll their eyes at my advice and frankly, as adults I think they still do!
It’s fun to try though.
Some things I would tell my younger self, if this were possible, would be:
- Say yes to more things, more experiences, more love and more adventure. Isn’t it said that people regret what they didn’t do more than things they did?
- Wear sunscreen! Omg — this is huge. I remember being 17 and sitting by the pool putting on baby oil to increase my tan (now my older self is trying hard not to be too critical of the lines on her face! Thank you Mr. Sun.)
- Don’t get married so young! Really, this doesn’t need explaining. Young marriages rarely work out — not to mention you miss out on the fun and adventures in your early twenties.
- Get higher education but don’t chase the money. I am a firm believer in secondary education, however, it needs to be something that will a) lead to an actual job that pays bills and 2) be something that fuels your soul, not sucks the life from it.
- If you decide to have children, make sure you enjoy them at every stage. Trust me they grow too fast. I remember thinking “yeah, yeah whatever, they are driving me crazy!”, when older people would tell me this. But looking back, from my empty, clean, quiet nest, I miss those little guys immensely!
- Work more on friendships that sustain you. Give more effort to these friends. As you age it feels like making friends is so much harder. Hold onto those friends you have —the ones that make you a better person.
- Don’t try so hard to make people like you. Either they do or they don’t. Move on. When we try to make people like us, we stop being ourselves. We become people pleasers, cameleons, and shadows of ourselves. Even if they start hanging with us, liking us, we will always feel ‘unseen’ as they are not seeing our true selves. You will still feel lonely in this type of relationship.
- Nuture your committed relationship. Take the time to date your partner. Never take them for granted.
- Find your own voice. Find out what you want, your likes and dislikes, your opinions. Stop being a follower. Voice your opinion. You will feel more authentic and ironically, more accepted. When you can be vocal with your needs and thoughts, you will feel “seen”. (This ties in with number 7).
- Start investing in your retirement accounts in low-cost Index funds and avoid debt. Learn about compound interest — make it your friend, not your foe.
What advice would you give your younger self?