Today is September 11th, 2013.
Everyone always says that with age comes experience. We always want to go back to being our younger selves but with the already gained knowledge we possess as our not-so-young selves. Wouldn’t that be interesting?
I couldn’t sleep last night so I started digging through old pictures on the computer at home. I came across some pictures of me from 13 or so years ago and I remember what I was thinking and feeling. I couldn’t help feeling like I wanted to give that chick in the pictures a shake and maybe a smack upside the head. We have to live moving forward but it is so hard sometimes to not look backwards and say “Why did I do that?”or “”What the hell was I thinking?”or “Why couldn’t I see myself for what I was?
I am listening to a Pink Floyd song right now called “High Hopes”. It speaks of a dividing line between youth and age and how the passing of time affects us. This has always been a theme that fascinated me, even at a young age. I guess in some ways, I have always been an old soul, hyper-observant and sensitive to things that others don’t always see or that they overlook. As a teenager, a friend and I were listening to Billy Joel’s song “This Is the Time” and I commented that we should remember the moment we were in because “this is the time to remember and it will not last forever”. She actually reminded me about that moment years later. We don’t realize the dividing line is there but it begins as we grow and continues onward. Time stops for no one.
We always look to the past and we often remember things with softened edges and that is okay. The grass always looks greener on the other side. And if we’re lucky, even as we get older we continue forward and once in a while we can even approach something new with wide-eyed wonder. It doesn’t matter how many times you go down the road if you can challenge yourself to see something new, even if it is only once in a while.
I had a conversation with one of my students today and mentioned I wanted to learn to play golf. It is something I often wished I was able to do during my corporate days and I never gave myself the opportunity. Now I happen to have become friends with a business association/former golf pro and hopefully we can work out a trade and I can attempt to learn. Who knows? Maybe I will suck at it. Fortunately I am only competitive with myself most of the time and I don’t care if I am the worst golfer on the planet, as long as I get to learn something new that I always wish I would have.
I am currently on my fourth full time career since the age of 19. I have been successful in varying degrees in each of my careers and each of my work lives differed greatly. But I gave myself permission and the opportunity to try things that more practical people might not have tried. This afforded me the opportunity to meet so many great people and learn so many new things about myself and others.
All this got me thinking of what I would say to my younger self, given the opportunity. Well, since I don’t know a way to time travel, there isn’t any way I can actually do that. However, I CAN write about it and maybe somewhere in my 45 year old brain, something will register. If it sounds preachy, feel free to stop reading. After all, I am actually only writing this for one person and she is me so I won’t be insulted. If you can gain anything, keep reading. There are always choices.
- Don’t sweat the small stuff. It will never end, it will always be there and usually it isn’t worth worrying about.
- Worrying is like praying for what you DON’T want. (Thank you for that, Diane Wallace!)
- You aren’t as fat as you think you are. You will look back at pictures in five, ten, twenty years and wish you looked that good.
- If someone tries to convince you that you aren’t good enough-for them, for their situation or whatever, bid them farewell. They probably aren’t worth any additional snippets of your time or energy.
- Someone trying to make you feel bad about yourself so they give themselves power is not okay. EVER.
- You are more talented than you have ever given yourself credit for.
- You are also more interesting than you give yourself credit for.
- Don’t be afraid to be the center of attention. If no matter what you do, things gravitate to you being the center of attention, the universe is speaking to you and you should listen and embrace it.
- Speaking of embracing, embrace what you hate. It will make you better at those things and eventually you won’t hate doing them anymore.
- You are capable of anything. ANYTHING. As long as you set your stubborn mind to it, you can do it. Don’t forget that!
- You can't buy a reputation back once it is ruined so guard yours carefully and operate with integrity.
- Being female in a man’s world may look really challenging, but it is a very empowering place to be. Own it. If you didn’t belong there and couldn’t keep up, you wouldn’t be there.
- It is completely okay to not know what you want to be when you grow up or ever, for that matter. Change your mind ten times. Try new things but discover yourself along the way.
- It is not okay to be unhappy when you can make choices to be happy.
- Be who you are. Be THE BEST you that you can be. Trying to be anything else is a waste of time and energy.
- There are signs everywhere so pay attention.
- If you want to try something new, go ahead. Time waits for no one and you never know what adventure is around the corner until you try.
- Some of the best adventures happen by accident.
- Life isn’t perfect. People aren’t perfect. Have high expectations for yourself but be reasonable and kind with those around you. They may not be capable of living to your standard, nor should they have to.
- Go ahead and put purple streaks in your hair at least once, just for fun. Your boss will get over it. :)
- Everyone is different. This is what makes life interesting. Surround yourself with people who appreciate your differences.
- Be appreciated.
- Expect to be cherished. Cherish in return. Anything less is not enough.
- If someone loves you in this world, you should know it. Even if you don’t love them back, you should always know that you are loved.
- Don't underestimate the power of health insurance.
- Be good to your family.
- Don’t always settle for status quo. Change is hard but if you embrace it, it gets easier.
- If you hate your job, change it. Life is way too short to spend the bulk of your existence doing something that does not provide value for you or feed your soul.
- Yes, you need money to live but don’t ever define yourself by it. Money comes and goes but character is constant.
- Jealousy is a wasted emotion. If someone is jealous of you, that is THEIR issue, not yours.
- Be humble. You never know when life will knock you down a few pegs. Be prepared and always remember where you came from because here’s the deal: you could be back there at any moment and it shouldn’t be the worst thing that happens to you.
- If no one is sick and no one is dead, there are always second (and third, and fourth) chances.
- Be important in a child’s life. Even when you never have children of your own, this is important.
- Be honest, but be tactful too.
- Be kind. Be kind to those who deserve your kindness and especially to those who don’t.
- You never know when something that you do will affect someone in a life changing way.
- When someone affects you in a life changing way, let them know the difference they made in your life.
- Inspire other people. Even small things can be inspiring.
- Set out to make a difference. It could be in small ways or big ways but make a difference to someone somewhere.
- Work smart but don’t be afraid to take a day off.
- Smile more. Laugh more. Laugh A LOT more. It will keep you sane.
- Slow down, even if it is only once in a while.
- Believe in yourself and let others see how you believe in them. This can be a great gift to another person. It is definitely a great gift to yourself.
- Talents should always be used and never be wasted. No excuses!
- Don’t let other people decide who you are going to be.
- Say what you need to, to those who are important to you. If you are not honest, you will always regret it down the road.
- Be thankful. Always, always be thankful.