Monday, January 14, 2013

Advice for my younger self

"If you could do it over again, would you?"

This question was posed to me by my husband on Saturday night over a delicious sushi dinner.  He was referring to my college years...if I could do them over, would I?  Of course, my initial answer was a resounding "Fuck no."  But upon further reflection, I edited myself.  If I could do college over, knowing what I know now, I would not.  I'm too happy with how my life is going to worry too much about mistakes I made when I was younger.  What I would do, if I could, would be to have a conversation with my younger self and impart some words of advice.

Yes, I am sharing this embarrassing photo of my college graduation with you for purposes of this post...please ignore chubby cheeks!

My first piece of advice...Don't wait to start taking care of yourself - body and soul.  I spent too many days with too little sunscreen, falling asleep in make-up, drinking soda, and tricking myself into thinking I was making healthy choices.  

Now, I wised up on sunscreen pretty quickly, but not before slathering tanning oil all over my body for a week straight in Ft. Lauderdale on spring break.  It's been years since I went outside for a sporting event or a day at the pool without SPF on my face and body, but signs of my days as a sun goddess are definitely noticeable on my face.  

Making healthy choices...well that took me a lot longer.  Even though I grew up active in sports and eating healthy (we were a "no soda, no junk food" house growing up), I spent a considerable amount of time trying undo poor food and exercise decisions through many of my college years.  For as much as I enjoy working out and running, I wish more than anything I hadn't waited so long to really push myself  to be more active.  Now if I go even a day without some type of exercise, I feel terrible.  It's sad thinking about all the time I wasted not feeling really good about myself, and enjoying the effects of the endorphins (and self-confidence) I have now!

Some guys won't be interested in you.  Don't sweat it, and move on.  I repeat, DON'T SWEAT IT and MOVE ON.  I really wish I had taken this advice more seriously as a young adult.  Now, don't get my wrong, I was not a crazy stalker or a stage 5 clinger or anything like that when it came to men.  But I will admit that I spent far too much time trying to de-code text messages and conversations with boys who I was dating.  I can remember times sitting with my girlfriends going over dates and conversations trying to get insight into whether a guy was interested.  I definitely spent too much time feeling sad over relationships that, if I was honest with myself, I did not get much out of anyways.

The older I got the more I adapted the "He's just not that into you" mindset.  It was incredibly liberating (as illustrated by Miranda Hobbs), and I hate that I didn't spend more time focusing on the next guy instead of the last guy.  Live and learn, I suppose.

Don't be afraid to put yourself out there.  You have nothing to lose.  This is a big one for me.  I know now that there is nothing to lose by walking up to that guy you've been eye-flirting with the whole night and introducing yourself.  I wish I had done that so much more.  For starters, confidence is sexy.  In my head, I was a pretty confident, kick ass gal, but when it came to putting it out there...not so much in the early days.  I mean, took me 3 years of pissing around before I put myself out there enough to get my now husband to get it together and get serious about me!  

It's not just about men either.  When you think about it, how many opportunities for friendships have also passed me by just for fear of rejection or temporary discomfort?  How much could I have learned early on by simply asking for what I wanted?  Wouldn't it have been nice to have that nugget of advice from an older, wiser me when I was 18?  

Get off your ass and do something.  Had I known how helpful getting involved in groups and organizations would have been for my career, I wouldn't have been sitting on my ass watching Friends re-runs in my spare time.  Silly me.

I know it sounds like I may have a lot of regrets, but I really don't.  Doing what I did then got me where I am now and for that I am grateful.  But I'm not gonna lie, I think had I known then what I know now, I would have gotten to this place in my life a lot sooner.  

What about you?  Any words for your younger self??


Elizabeth said...

Love this! I wouldn't change anything about my college experience because I'm so happy with life now but I sure wish I could have given myself some similar advice!!

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