I would love to go back to my 24-year-old self and tell her a few things…and I plan on sharing this with my daughters in a few years. Some of you are young and either thinking about starting a family or you may already have young children. This message is for you…I hope you find some tiny bit of wisdom in it that helps you through some tough days.
To my 24-year-old self:
1. Be kind to yourself. We are so hard on ourselves…our bodies are not perfect, our teeth are crooked, our nose is too long, we are not smart enough, funny enough etc…sound familiar? YOU are perfect just the way you are. And guess what – when you are kind to yourself, others will be kind to you. Embrace the long nose, ugly feet, or whatever is holding you back.
2. Have fun but save for the future. Yep…hello there 24-year-old self – save for the future (but have fun too). I have friends that spent every cent living it up when they were young, and although they have good stories, they have a mountain of debt. I also have friends who worked steady jobs from the time they were done university and never did what they wanted to do – low debt and regrets is what they live with.
3. Work on your marriage. This is a biggy. It is so hard to focus on each other when the kids are young, but this is the time you need to come together and make it work. Marriage is work…no matter what all the happy sit-coms on TV tell you.
4. Don’t try and keep up with the Jones. There will always be parents out there that will have their kids in activities every night, sending them off to private school and dressing them in the latest fashions – this doesn’t have to be you. Get out of the rat-race and live the life you want to live. You know when it is too much – just follow your heart.
5. Make family a priority. I always made my kids a priority, but there were days when my focus was not there. One more day with a crying baby, dirty diapers, piles of laundry – I thought it would never end. Now, that the kids are tween/teenagers, I think back to all the times that I said ‘I can’t play right now, I have laundry to do or dinner to make’. I wish I could take back those times and get down on the floor and play. Those are the times that matter.
6. Surround yourself with positive people. It is amazing how great I feel when I am with the people I love, and the people that love me. I spent many years trying to fit in or make friendships work, when all I would feel is deflated and sad after seeing them. Surround yourself with positive people who make you feel like the special person that you are. You have a choice. Be nice, but say good-bye to those people that don’t lift you up!
7. Be a good friend. I have lost some good friends over the years because life was just too busy. I didn’t write back (before there was internet and way before Facebook), I didn’t take time to go out with my friends when the kids were young, and I didn’t pick up the phone when I should have. Lucky for me, my friends were having kids at the same time and we are now closer than ever…but I sure wish I could have tried harder then.
8. Live the life that you want to live. It is no ones fault but your own if you are not doing this. Find work that makes you happy or find joy in the job that you have. Embrace your life and don’t wish it away. You have the power to have the life you dream of…or thank your lucky stars for the dreamy life that you lead. YOU can have anything you want, if you work hard and believe in yourself…only you can make it happen.
9. When you hear about Microsoft, Apple or Facebook – buy stock right away:)
10. Give generously. Because you will be extremely wealthy with all that stock – move your family and friends to somewhere warm!
We live in a beautiful world, not a perfect world, but a world that provides endless opportunity for those that work hard and believe in themselves. What would you tell your younger self?