Advice to My Younger Self

Recent discussions with a few younger family members and friends about the struggles of transitioning into adulthood has me thinking about what advice I would give to my younger self. Here are the three pieces of advice I wish I had taken to heart.

Dear Younger Self,

You don't know it yet, but life is about to change in a big way. The change will bring out the good, the bad, and the downright ugly. You can not control the twists and turns in life, but you can control your own decision making and the person you become. Let these three pieces of advice guide you through.

Take the time to explore
The biggest mistake you will make is not taking the time to explore. Exploring yourself and your values. Exploring academic paths and career options. Exploring mates and life as a single woman. You spend a lot of time convinced you were heading down the right path and consequently put up blinders both to the world around you and your internal voice. Then when you decided it wasn't the right path, you jumped blindly into the next path without exploring alternate routes because you felt like you were out of time to do so. Let me tell you a little secret: time is always passing, whether you're heading down a pre-defined path or exploring. Until the grim reaper visits, there's still time to find what it is you truly love. 

Keep your mind open
This continues on the advice above. Always keep your mind open to new ideas. It's one thing to stick to your beliefs, but be an antenna for the world around you. Let knowledge replace your fears and anxieties. You never know what facts may change your mind or further support your existing views. Being resistant to change will only make you bitter (and lonely).

Be humble. Don't judge
Everyone has their own challenges to face, whether or not you can see them. Even if you feel like you're above others, you too will be facing hardship. It is a fact of being human. Accept this and a surprising thing happens. You become less critical of yourself and of others. Your inevitable fall will also hurt less if you're not falling from a high horse. You thought you were so cool, voted hottest pledge of your sorority at an Ivy League university. Fast forward a few years and you're living in West Philadelphia after having a baby out of wed lock (Fresh Prince reversed?). That's karma for you. 

In time you will learn to love yourself (in the right way) and take joy in the beauty of life's unfolding chaos. Until then, keep these three pieces of advice in mind. 



Is there any advice you would give to your younger self?

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