“Where do you see yourself in ten years’ time?”
The age-old question an employer or teacher seems to always ask. As if we’re supposed to know. I have ambition and life direction just as anybody else does. But to predict the way my life pans out in ten years is, well, scary. I have always been terrified of the future, or more so, the unknown. So my safe answer is to be successful or well-established because you know, who doesn’t want those things? But in reality I don’t know where I see myself in ten years, frankly I don’t know where I see myself next year (apart from being midway through my Masters, of course.) I am too spontaneous for my own good to be able to answer that question truthfully. And as Wizards of Waverly Place once taught me “if it’s a guess, it’s a mess.”
I have always been more of an ‘in the moment’ kind of girl. One who doesn’t think about tomorrow, forgets what happened yesterday and focuses on what’s happening right now. And like I’ve said before, you can sit and dwell about all the negative things that have happened in your life, or you can go out and make positive memories that will outweigh them. However, there was once a time when I couldn’t see right from wrong. Once a time when everything seemed so hard that giving up almost seemed like the only option. But now I’m older and somewhat wiser, those life lessons have taught me to have no limits and stop being so safe with everything I do. There’s nothing wrong with making mistakes and once you accept that, those exact mistakes have the power to turn you into something better than you were before.
So because of that, I compiled a list of things I would tell a younger, more vulnerable me. 22 things actually, because I am 22 and it seemed like a good idea…
1. Stop trying to ‘fit in,’ do your own thing and embrace your individuality.
2. Mistakes aren’t the be all end all. You don’t drown by the fall, you drown by staying there; so accept the consequences and move on.
3. A life full of worry isn’t a happy life at all. Be free, let go and don’t take any bullsh*t.
4. Learn to say no. If the recipient doesn’t like it; tough.
5. Friends aren’t friends if they manipulate how you think or what you do.
6. Although caring too much isn’t a bad trait; second chances don’t allow for third and fourths.
7. Don’t let other people dictate your life. You are the only leader in your world.
8. Stop reading magazines. Comparing yourself to other people when you are beautiful in your own skin will only put you in a viscous cycle of self-analysis.
9. If you want to play sports, play sports. Break the stigma, do something different; stay happy, be yourself.
10. Nothing worth having comes easy. Sometimes you have to put in a bit of work for things to fall into place.
11. Don’t put an open box of Coco Pops on the top shelf.
12. Anxiety Disorder doesn’t last forever. Trust yourself.
13. Don’t lose sight of what you really want because of a minor set-back. Believe in yourself and have the courage to persist until you get there.
14. Make your dreams your goals. Dreams don’t become reality if you keep closing your eyes to see them.
15. Alcohol-fuelled arguments are not reason to hate the sober person.
16. Distance is just a number; the friendships and relationships you discover will make it all worth it, but make sure the effort given is equal to the effort received.
17. Stop stressing. When everything seems too hard, take a step back, relax and make time for yourself. Sometimes you just need to disconnect and enjoy your own company.
18. Your opinion of yourself is more precious than anyone else’s. Never change the way you are for the pleasure of someone else.
19. Don’t work for him. Know your worth; karma will come around eventually.
20. Appreciate every single person who means something to you. Life is short, don’t take any chances. You never know when they’ll be gone.
21. Stop filling yourself with doubt. Letting your inner critic take over and ask unreasonable questions will only burden your life. You are worth it.
22. The people who tell you that your dreams are stupid or unattainable are the exact people who will tell everyone else how they know you when you’ve made it. Don’t give up. Prove them wrong.
If you could go back and give your younger self some advice, what would you say?