8 Things I Would Tell My 20-Year-Old Self
I'm 5'2" and often wear a baseball cap, so most people think I'm the babysitter and not the mom. I felt like 30 would be this turning point of feeling more grown up and like a legit adult. I still feel like 29 and sometimes 20-until I hang out with 20-year-olds, and then I feel 60. I go to bed around 9PM. I shop at Aldi so I can afford to send my kid to daycare. I complain about traffic and rainy days and the price of gas. My 20-year-old self would probably cringe at my jeans and total mom-do. Somewhere between 20 and 30, a lot of growing up occurs. Not only does your bedtime and body change, but your priorities and what keeps you up at night. While I wouldn't trade those years for anything, there are times I wish I had known what I know now.
Perhaps if you're in your early 20s, I can spare you a few hard lessons I learned along the way. And if you're way beyond me in years, send back your positive vibes and words of wisdom before I hit 40, please.
Spend your money on stuff that matters.
Girl, stop buying crap at Target. The end.
But really, invest in just a few quality things that are going to be timeless. Those nude heels you bought at Von Maur and have worn for five years-great decision. The Jessica Simpson platform glitter heels you wore to one event and cried afterward because your blisters were so bad–not so much. Save your money so your future self doesn’t have to worry about money. Those $20 purchases add up, because one day, you will want to buy a house, have a baby, and take some fabulous vacations. Trust me, those things are worth waaaaay more than all of the throw pillows and candles. (Disclaimer: I am still learning this lesson. Magnolia Market at Target killed my self-control.)
You are beautiful.
Please love your almond-shaped eyes, your tiny eyelashes, and your strong thighs. Don’t waste a decade worrying about what other people think about you. Love yourself, inside and out. Your body is going to do something miraculous and grow your future son, so please focus on nourishing it and strengthening it, instead of shaming it. Also, by the time you reach 30, you will realize that no one is actually looking at you and you will miss that 20-year-old body!
DON'T CUT YOUR BANGS.
A full fringe looks awesome on your Pinterest board. It is horribly annoying and impractical in real life. You will keep your bangs pinned to the side of your face like a 7-year-old girl on school picture day until those bangs grow out again. On a similar note, please don't get that perm.
Invest in people.
You are the average of the five people you spend the most time with. Surround yourself with people who are life-giving, positive, inspiring, and make you a better person. Don’t waste another minute of your life with people who are critical and unaccepting. You are going to develop your closest friendships over the next ten years. Cherish these people and make time for them.
Invest in you.
Know yourself and your boundaries. You are a natural “do-er” and have an internal motor that doesn’t like to stop. That exhausting pace of life will catch up with you in the form of anxiety, exhaustion, and ultimately, lots of sick days we want to avoid. Rest, drink water, go outside, call your mom, unplug, and slow down. Most things really can wait until tomorrow.
ALWAYS SAY YES TO ADVENTURE.
Travel, try new restaurants, go on hikes, and spend as much time exploring and learning. When you're counting PTO hours and having to find a babysitter, getting away is much harder.
Get advice from REAL PEOPLE. The Internet should not be your guidebook to life. Seek out wisdom from people who will teach you to be the best wife, mom, and friend possible.
Your "plan" is not the best plan.
Everything will be okay. There will be times you want to clench your fists and hold tight to the plan you have for your life, but that plan will change for the better. Relax and try to lean into the uncertainty and challenges, because that is where growth and opportunity will arise.
There are a handful of less significant pointers I wanted to share-floss your teeth, eat more sweet corn, write thank you notes, etc. But you, too, will come to your own conclusions and "figuring it out" is pretty much what your 20s are all about.
Peace out, 29. You've been so good to me.