When I was younger, I thought that by the time I was 28-years-old, I would be married, possibly with children, living in a house somewhere near the beach that somehow I would be able to easily afford on a journalist’s salary. All of course while casually jet-setting around the world at the drop of a hat.
I think it goes without saying that I am not writing this from my beach house, and this is not my reality.
Yet, as wonderful as that all sounds, I’m truthfully thankful for where I am in life at this very moment. Enjoying the journey instead of being blinded by a single destination.
While I am grateful for all of the experiences I’ve had, both good and bad, there are a few pieces of advice I would love to be able to tell little me. Twenty-eight pieces to be exact, as I celebrate my 28th birthday.
Stop comparing yourself to others.
While it may seem they have it all together, more often than not you’re looking at a highlight reel and the further you step away from your true self, you’re also stepping away from true happiness.
Don’t be afraid to let go of toxic people.
You are so susceptible to the environment around you, including negativity. If you’re not your happy go lucky self, something is definitely wrong.
It’s okay to have emotions.
You don’t have to be everyone’s rock. You’re allowed to feel and be affected by things, even if it’s in your own time.
Don’t stop learning.
Things are constantly changing and growing and you must learn and grow right alongside it to be your best self.
Never ever, ever.
Take care of your health.
This includes mental health. Take care of yourself preventatively and actively, you’re all you have when it’s all said and done.
Treasure time with family.
Tomorrow is never promised, but memories can outlive the test of time.
Don’t give up on your dreams.
Don’t listen to that person telling you that you can’t. You are more able and determined than they could ever know. Don’t let their toxic words or actions kill your dreams.
Learn from your mistakes.
You’re going to make a lot of mistakes, it’s part of the process. You will save yourself time, hurt and heartache by not just learning from them, but also growing from them.
Stop unnecessarily apologizing.
Unless you can legitimately explain what you are sorry for, the sooner you stop frequenting this word the better.
You love to do it, stop making up excuses or letting it fall to the backburner. It is just as important as any other passion you possess.
Be Financially Responsible.
Invest in your future and avoid disabling debt. Living within your means is the best path to reach financial freedom. Forget the Joneses and start saving for retirement when you land that first job.
Do not confuse drama with passion.
Things do not have to be difficult or dramatic to be cared for passionately. They are not interchangeable.
Don’t do things to impress others.
What a win looks like to you may differ drastically to whomever you are trying to impress. Ultimately even if you do succeed, you will still feel empty fulfilling someone else’s ideas of achievement instead of your own.
Knock it off with the dairy.
You don’t need it, you can’t get away with it as well as you think you can and the end results will always be the same. There are so many alternatives and you don’t even really like cheese that much, you’ll be fine.
Don’t be so hard on yourself.
Don’t feel guilty because you don’t have anything productive planned for *gasp* a whole 24 hours. It’s called rest and you’re allowed to do it. Your to-do list will still be waiting for you the next day, ready to tackle.
Put down the box dye.
It’s not going to work out for you. It’s going to be the wrong color and/or you’re going to fry your hair. It is worth the time, money and health of your hair to get it done professionally.
Find a healthy way to handle stress.
Stress affects your body in so many ways, including deteriorating your health. Find a better, healthy way to handle it instead of just stressing about stress.
Nothing is promised.
You’re not guaranteed that perfect job, promotion or anything by taking a backseat and just going with the flow. If you want something you have to go for it in any way possible.
Fake it until you make.
Stop assuming everyone knows more and is more experienced than you. Bring what you have to the table and own every bit of it.
Create your own happiness.
You’ll be sitting and waiting forever if you count on others to facilitate your happiness. You’re in charge of your own happiness, make life joyful whenever and wherever you can.
Don’t stop dancing.
Dance is one of the most prominent things in your life that brings you joy, why would you deny yourself something you love?
Don’t let emotions control your decisions.
Take a moment to calm down before reacting. It’s the last thing you want to do at the time, but remember that you’ll have to live with the way you react in the moment long past that moment of extreme emotion.
Consider your sources.
Be mindful of who you take advice from and if they truly have your best interests in mind or if they have the clout to be giving you advice on that specific subject.
One size fits all is a lie.
In clothing and in life. Don’t be afraid to tailor your life and the way you approach things to you and your needs. It is more effective in the long run.
Enjoy the journey.
Whether that be a working towards a goal or in route to an actual destination. Don’t blind yourself with tunnel vision for the end result, you miss so much of the good that makes the destination that much sweeter.
Be open to ideas outside of your plans.
While it’s true if you fail to plan, you plan to fail, loosen up the reigns and allow something great to sneak into your life that could be better than any plans you could have concocted for yourself.
Quality over quantity.
Apply this to every aspect of your life from your wardrobe to your friendships.
Do you have any advice for me as I round out my 20s?