July 5, 2012

Dear Younger Self:

Michelle from A Well Adjusted Pessimist [formerly The Annoyed Army Wife] is one awesome lady (and I'm not just saying that because I had the privilege of meeting her this year). She has been through a lot over the past couple of years, and though she'd probably tell you otherwise, I think the way she's handled it all has been incredible. Michelle's blog usually has me laughing, sometimes has me crying, and occasionally even has me laughing through my tears with her sharp wit. I hope you'll stop by her blog to read more from her.

When Erika asked me to guest post I was at a loss for topics, so I forced her to give me some ideas because I'm demanding like that. They all were like really deep thinking posts - I'm not so deep. Anyway, I decided to write about 'Things I Wish I Knew at Age 20'. Basically, if I could go back in time to have coffee/a beer/shots of vodka with myself 12 years ago these are the things I'd talk about. I made a bulleted list/agenda of topics I need to cover with myself.
  • You have to pay your student loans back I was lucky that I worked enough assistantship hours to pretty much cover my tuition so my loans from college and grad school are pretty low, but I do recall a time or two where I bought shoes with my loan money. Groan. Live and learn. Although they were a kicka$$ pair of boots...
  • Live your own life - Way back when I was 20, I was dating this guy who disparaged my education pursuits, refused to live anywhere that wasn't 5 minutes away from his work, never called, never visited (it was a long distance relationship), and I could go on. We dated until I was 23. One day I woke up and decided I needed someone in my life who treated me better. I called my two closest friends that morning and moved out that afternoon. Scariest decision of my life, but still one of the best. That was the moment was when I grew up. I was finally listening to what wanted, and I shrugged off my 'young adult/college kid' persona and growing into the woman I am today.
  • Nurture your relationships - There are plenty of people I wish I didn't lose touch with over the past 12 years (and some I'm glad I did). It just takes a little effort to nurture a friendship, which is something I still need to consistently do, but it is well worth it.
  • But, don't be afraid to meet new people - I wish I would have branched out more in college and grad school. I was really involved with the boyfriend at the time and spent almost all my time traveling to see him. I didn't have too much time leftover for branching out. That's my biggest regret from that point in my life. I was so blinded/brainwashed by my then boyfriend that I allowed myself to be engrossed in his life and cut off from my life.
  • Listen to your parents - Younger Self, I know your parents seem like overbearing, advice-spewing people meddling in your life, but, sadly, you'll learn that they're right. Don't fight it, just swallow your pride and do what your mom says.
  • No one cares about your GPA in ten years - One day it won't matter that you had a 3.98 GPA instead of a 4.0, so quit giving yourself an ulcer over it. P.S. No one else cares, so quit whining about it to everyone.
  • Be prepared for struggles and disappointments - Your charmed, sheltered college days are going to pass. After grad school, you'll land your first job making way too much money, your vintage apartment in Chicago will seem like the most perfect place in the world, and you'll fall head over heels for a medical student, but this will leave you completely unprepared for the disappointments that lie ahead. You'll very quickly learn life is hard. Sorry, it's a tough lesson, but you'll get through it to face the world another day. Oh, and don't ever say, 'Well, at least it can't get any worse' because it can always get so much worse!
  • Thank you for being an SPF freak - Oh, Younger Self, thank you for never venturing out without slathering on the sunscreen. Thank you for spending obscene amounts of money on beauty products. Don't listen to your boyfriend when he tells you you're wasting your money. It is worth every red cent!
  • Just because you're dating a doctor doesn't mean you can let your health insurance lapse when you follow him across the country - Dumb a$$.
  • Um, you don't really need to worry about birth control so much - Okay, maybe I won't tell my younger self that little secret since being responsible about that aspect of my life back then was probably a really good thing.
  • Quit planning your life - Nothing, I repeat nothing in the next 12 years goes to plan, so don't waste your time on your stupid life plans. How about you quit worrying and start living! 
So, there you have it. If I could go back 12 years and talk some sense into myself at age 20 I'd totally do it. Of course, I'm still the same stubborn, opinionated person, so I doubt my younger self would have listened to me. 

Sigh, I guess you can't change some things in life. 

7 kind comments from you:

Taylor said...

This is a great post. I definitely agree with the GPA doesn't count. I also would add that I shouldn't be rigid about my career and find value in other things and to be flexible.

Chantal said...

I love Michelle and her blog! And this post :)

Michelle said...

Thanks for hosting me today!

greaterexp said...

Terrific post! Wait until you're 50-something! Ha! I wish I could have known at 18 what I (hopefully) will have learned when I'm 70. It's a real process, isn't it?

Michelle said...

Oh this is good! So many resonate with me already.

Mrs. Nix said...

Love this. As a 21 year old, I wish I could tell my 18 year old self to slow down and not worry about growing up so quickly. Thanks, Michelle!

Carmen said...

I love Michelle and her blog! This post was amazing. I should write something like that for myself. :)

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