10 Things I Wish I’d Known When I Was 20

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Me, age 20

Well, my birthday just passed. I’m 25! Again! For the *mumble, mumble* time! I thought it might be a good time to reflect. So if I could talk some sense to my 20-year-old self, here are some things I’d say:

1. Learn your lessons the first time

Albert Einstein famously said that the definition of insanity is “doing the same thing over and over again but expecting different results.” Don’t be insane. Learn your lessons ~ you’re not meant to be a journalist, he doesn’t love you, bar hopping & mixing different kinds of drinks is a bad idea ~ the first time and move on.

2. “The first time someone shows you who they are, believe them”

Maya Angelou said this one & it’s true. You’ll save yourself a lot of heartache & time if you stop making excuses for other people’s bad behavior and instead see them for who they really are, the first time.

3. What you do in the world is more important that how you look

Stop looking at “beauty”/fashion magazines filled with Photoshopped women who aren’t real. You can’t compete with a figment of somebody’s imagination. Nobody can. Stop trying. Sitting around looking pretty will not get you where you want to be. And in 10 years, very few people will even care what you look like. Go DO what you were put on this planet to do. Go write novels.

4. Hiding your light serves no one, least of all yourself

You’re really smart. You always have been. You’re also blonde & a female. People will expect you to be dumb. Don’t play into that. Let your light shine. Some people will be intimidated by you. That’s about them; it has nothing ~ I repeat, nothing ~ to do with you. Don’t dim yourself to their level. Let your light shine bright.

5. Listen to your heart every time

I mean it, listen to your heart every single time. The only times in your life that you’ll really get into trouble is when you let your head talk you into or out of something. Go with your heart every single time.

6. It’s your life, remember that

Your life is not your dad’s expectations or your mom’s hopes. It’s not what your grandmother wants for you or your grandfather wishes you would do. It doesn’t belong to your best friend, whom you’re afraid to let go of, or the guy you’ll date for two years who will shatter your heart. It’s your life, and when all is said and done, you’ll be the only one responsible for your own happiness. Remember that every time you make a choice.

7. People will come in & out of your life

People come & people go. Say what you need to say ~ always. Then be willing to wish them well and let them go.

8. Don’t settle

You know what you want. You know what you have to do to get it. Don’t believe you can’t have it. Don’t make excuses or assign blame or accept good enough. Don’t take anything less than everything you want.

9. Don’t let fear derail you

Grab onto somebody’s hand, hold your breath, & keep going.

10. It’s never too late

Sometimes it may feel like that. Some days it may feel like that a lot. But it’s never too late. You’re still breathing, so it’s not too late.

If you could talk to your younger self, what would you say? Please feel free to share your thoughts & experiences in the comment box below.

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