I recently read an article on Elite Daily titled “If I could tell my adolescent self what I know now.” It sparked me to think about my own life and everything I’ve learned and experienced since high school. I started to wonder, “what would I tell myself eight years ago to prepare me for life?”
Follow your heart
Whether in terms of life choices like choosing what college to go to or where to live, or in a romantic sense, trust your instinct. Do what feels right. If you aren’t happy with your choice of where you live or career, you can always change. If your college isn’t the perfect fit, transfer. But chances are, if you go with your gut feeling, you’ll make the right choice. If you get your heart broken, there’s nothing wrong with feeling like your whole world has ended. If you feel like you should want to be in a relationship while in reality you really don’t, trust yourself. Don’t jump into a body of water before you’re ready. You may be prepared and know how to swim, but it’s OK to come to terms with the fact that it’s still winter and the water’s too cold, so wait until spring.
Things will work out
This is the most important lesson that has proven itself over and over again over the last few years. Everything happens for a reason and even bad experiences hold a lesson learned. The job search is brutal and un-sympathetic, but every opportunity you lose only opens the door to what is really meant to be. I lost count of how many interviews I had and how many job applications I filled out after I graduated college, only to be turned down over and over again. A lot of people thought moving to Boston without a job was crazy. But I did it, and things couldn’t have worked out any better.
Do what makes you happy
Not your friends or your family—YOU. If people really love you, they’ll learn to accept it, even if they don’t fully agree. Also, don’t keep a job in which you’re unhappy. Even if this leaves you unemployed for a small amount of time. If you have the financial means to survive, get out. Your unconditional happiness is worth the price of a few months’ lost paychecks.
Change is normal
You will watch yourself, your family and your friends change. It may sometimes be hard to accept. It’s a weird, even eerie feeling, when you see someone from years ago who used to be a big part of your life and you see how different they are. You may ask yourself, “is it he/she who’s changed, or is it me?” You’ll always conclude it’s not you—you’ve stayed exactly how you’ve always been. If anything, you have changed, because you’ve grown into a better version of who you used to be. For those you think have changed for worse, pity them. Be glad it’s not you. And then move on with your life.
Hold onto the people that matter the most
Highest on this totem pole is family. It always will be. You can hate them at times, you can disagree, fight and argue, but they are the only ones who will always accept you for how you are, no matter what. If you’re lucky, those siblings who you couldn’t stand when you were younger will not only become people you can tolerate, but they’ll become your friends. Your parents will become you peers who mutually respect you. Cherish your grandparents and do whatever you can to learn from them and build a relationship. They won’t be around forever, sadly. Give them the answers they deserve when they ask you about your life. Be lucky that you still have them to share these stories with.
Next is friends. A lot of people will walk in and out of your life. People who used to be your best friends will fade away with time. New ones will enter your life. For some of them, you’ll never dream upon your first encounters how close you’ll become or how big a role they will play in your life. You’ll know who your true friends are because you’ll be able to go months, sometimes even years, without seeing each other and then when you do, it feels like nothing has changed.
Don’t try to predict how your life will turn out
I never imagined that I would lose touch with every single friend who used to matter most in my life. Now, I can’t remember the last time I talked to most of my old best friends. They’ll always be a part of my life, connected through the links of our childhood, but we’ve all gone our separate ways and they never again will make me who I am. I never had long-term dreams to live in Boston or to work at a global marketing agency. My life right now feels like it’s exactly where I should be, but I didn’t plan it. Again –and in the words of my grandmother,– what’s meant to be will be. Don’t analyze your future. There is no guarantee what tomorrow will be like, or if there will even be a tomorrow. As awful as that is to think about, it’s true. So live in the moment, live with no regrets.
Lastly, laugh every day
Laughter truly is the most powerful remedy –for anything in life. Make sure you live in a way that makes you happy. With happiness comes laughter. Surround yourself with people who inspire this happiness, who make you laugh until your cheeks hurt and until you start to cry. You deserve it.