#DearMe – 10 Things I Would Tell My Twenty-Something Self
1. Live your life, not someone else’s.
I’m glad I didn’t have social media around when I was your age, but even in my thirties now it’s easy to get caught up in the fancy lives that are portrayed on social media everyday. Whether it’s relationship goals, career goals, fit goals, or life goals, don’t get caught up in everything that you see on social media. Comparison kills confidence.
It’s one thing to be inspired by someone’s life or their social media page, but it’s another thing to envy someone else’s life and become obsessed with wanting what they have. Everyone’s journey is different, and nothing happens overnight. Plus, you can’t always believe what you see online. People are quick to show the success, but less likely to show the struggle. The easiest way to feel terrible and ungrateful about your own life is to look at someone else’s through the lens of social media. So, promise me that you will be you and do you like no other.
2. Don’t get so caught up in trying to find love that you end up losing yourself.
I know for a fact that I would’ve avoided a lot of unnecessary heartache along the way had I not got so caught up in boys, and instead, focused on what I needed to do for myself. I know your father wasn’t there and you yearn for the attention and love because your daddy was the first man to break your heart, but you can’t stay in that broken place forever. Eventually, you will realize that you have to love yourself before you can love someone else. At the end of the day, boys will boys, so stop trying to turn them into men, and stop trying to force guys to like and love you. It won’t work. If a man wants to be with you, he’ll be with you. In the meantime, while you’re on the love journey, don’t allow your single status to keep you stagnant.
3. Don’t waste your money especially your financial aid/residual checks.
“Too many people spend money they earn…trying to buy things they don’t want…to impress people that they don’t like.” Do you remember when you spent $117 on some Victoria’s Secret pajamas for that “pajama jam” party during your freshmen year of college? Yes, it was a memorable party, but you know good and well that was out of your budget back back then based on your budget?
Trust, that $117 may seem small now to some, but even that small credit card charge eventually added up to debt that you later had to pay off. You’re going to be smarter about it though, and you will be much more proactive and diligent about saving and investing in things that will help you grow personally and professionally especially when it comes to your writing, personal branding/business, your website, blog, events, etc. I know you can’t see it now, but the sacrifices you make today will yield numerous benefits later on down the road.
4. Be open to new experiences, and travel more.
Do you know why you never went on any Spring Break trips in college and in your early twenties? Because you were too busy spending your money on club and party clothes and other frivolous stuff. Explore as many new places as you can and be open to learning new and different things. You will definitely gain more appreciation for your life, other people, and God’s creation, and it’s one of the greatest things you can do to help you relax and refresh when you need it. Trust, you will definitely appreciate the concept of rest and relaxation the older you get.
5. Follow your instinct and passion. Don’t just follow the money.
You know that gut instinct that you have inside of you, or that thing that keeps you up at night, or that idea that you just can’t let go of? Follow through on it. Don’t sleep on God and don’t sleep on your dreams. There’s a reason why you have those ideas, that talent, or that gift, and God expects you to do something with it.
I’ll be honest – had I really stayed committed to dance, I know God could’ve opened up doors for me so that I could’ve been like the awesome and talented women: Fatima Robinson, Aaliyah, Mrs. Debbie Allen, Janet Jackson, Rosie Perez, or even Ashley Everett (Beyonce’s background dancer). But I’ll never know really because I didn’t stay committed to the process. I am, however, staying committed to this creative instinct inside of me now even though there are days when I feel like quitting.
Don’t allow fear and comfort to keep you paralyzed, and don’t allow others to keep you in a box. You don’t want to look back and wish that you had listened more intensely to that inner voice inside of you. “My passion is my platform to fulfill my purpose.” I heard this awhile back at an event, and hopefully it inspires you to follow your gut instinct and push through. Yes, money matters, but figure out a way to do what you love…and still make money while doing it. Consistency is key. Stay disciplined, trust God and His timing, and work hard and it will come to pass.
6. Don’t limit your friendships.
Don’t limit your friendships to only people who look, think, or act like you. Be open to new and different people from different backgrounds. You never know what ideas or future relationships could come about as a result.
7. Don’t get caught up in society’s timeline and societal pressures.
Who says you’re have to be married with kids, and a house, and a dog by the age of 30, or that you’re supposed to “have it all?” It doesn’t matter how well you try to plan your life, things happen and sometimes you will have interruptions. They say, “The best way to make God laugh is to tell Him your plans.”
Don’t be so hard on yourself when you finally turn thirty, or whatever age it is that will have you feeling some type of way. Trust God’s timeline because it’s better than yours anyway. Just because you may not be exactly where you are by a certain age doesn’t mean you won’t get there. A delay is not always a denial, and sometimes the best blessings are usually the ones that God blocked. As you grow, you will be just as thankful for the doors that closed as well as the ones that were opened.
8. Pay more attention to your physical health.
Keep it right and tight as much as possible, and don’t miss out on your doctor and dental appointments. Trust me, when you turn 30 you will start to feel things because of a disease they like to call “O.L.D.” It’s not that you’re ‘old’ per se because of your age; rather, at times it will feel like your mind and body are operating at different speeds. So, there will be times when your mind will say “Hey, let’s stay up really late,” but your body will say, “I’m tired. I’m going to sleep.” Plus, your whole metabolism will change and it will make it that much harder to stay in shape and stay healthy.
9. Listen to and learn more from your parents and those who came before you.
Eventually you’ll realize your parents, grandparents, aunts, and uncles, etc. were right all along; maybe not about every single thing, but just about any and everything that was truly for your good or for your protection. You will eventually find yourself saying some of the very same things to those who will come after you.
10. Don’t rush life.
I guess it’s true, you always want what you don’t have. When you’re young, you want to be older, and when you’re older, you want to be younger. I’ll be honest though – life has a way of creeping up on you, and you’ll look up and there it will be – flying right past you. Yes, you will miss the pro’s of being young and having less responsibilities (“adulting” can be difficult at times), but you will appreciate the wisdom, freedom, understanding, and growth that comes with age. For now, though, enjoy where you are and take a moment to appreciate the simple pleasures of life as a young adult. There will be moments that you will cherish that can never ever be re-lived again. Quit rushing and wishing you were older, because the more you live, the more you’ll miss.