In 40 days, I will turn 40 years old.
How and when did that happen? Wasn’t it like yesterday that I was a teenager and in my 20s? Time begins to fly at a certain age.
They say that “time flies when you’re having fun” but “they” are wrong. My mom actually had it right when she said, “time flies when your hair is in a bun” (mom knows best).
I’ve been thinking a lot about the wisdom I’ve gained in the past 40 years and how I wish the younger version of myself knew everything that the older version of me did.
I suppose that you have to get through some stuff to get to some stuff, but how great would it be if my older self could send my younger self a list of wisdom and tips that I’ve learned from each decade?
Some of the advice I would give would be a repeat from the decade before because some things warranted repeating *sigh*.
Can you relate to any of these?
1. Everything will be okay, I promise.
2. The people who tease you in high school—you won’t ever have to see them again. Don’t let their words hurt you so much or define how you feel about yourself.
3. Adults don’t know everything. Older doesn’t equal smarter or more mature.
4. Respect your body; if you use it to attract attention, you will receive the wrong attention…every…single…time.
5. Don’t sacrifice your body to get emotional fulfillment…you’ll really, really regret it (and it doesn’t work).
6. It’s okay to be smart; don’t dumb yourself down to be attractive to someone or try to fit in.
7. That “popular” group of people who prefer to blow off school and party a lot…they don’t turn out to be very successful or happy; don’t try to fit in with them. Choose your friends carefully.
8. Respect people’s feelings and handle their hearts with care. ..just because you were hurt doesn’t give you permission to hurt others—you’ll come to regret it.
9. Having sex has the potential to create a baby no matter how much birth control you use. If you’re not old enough to take care of a baby, you’re not ready to have sex.
10. Read inspiring books…a lot of them…fill your head and heart with good words and wisdom for when bad times come…because bad times will come and this wisdom will be incredibly helpful.
11. Seek out a healthy, positive, successful role model and learn everything you can from them.
12. Everything will be okay, I promise.
13. Define your own worth. Don’t let others define it for you…they will try to.
14. When it comes to loving a partner, pay attention to “red flags”…you cannot “love” the emotional or mental problems out of someone.
15. Don’t settle when it comes to love or a relationship…especially not right now; you have lots of time (I know it doesn’t seem like it).
16. Be okay with being alone, get to know yourself.
17. Travel. Be adventurous. Explore your interests.
18. Surround yourself with people doing positive things—they will force you to rise up. Distance yourself from negative people doing negative things—they will pull you down.
19. Invest in you…don’t be in a hurry to make absolute decisions; some decisions you can’t undo very easily. You have time right now to change your mind.
20. Respect your body; if you use it to attract attention, you will receive the wrong attention…every…single…time.
21. Read inspiring books…a lot of them…fill your head and heart with good words and wisdom for when bad times come…because bad times will come and this wisdom will be incredibly helpful.
22. Seek out a healthy, positive, successful role model and learn everything you can from them.
23. Stop comparing yourself to other people…it will rob you of your joy.
24. Call and visit your grandparents more often. You will miss them when they’re gone and will regret not reaching out to them more. You will want to know things about them that they are no longer here to answer.
25. Start a retirement account and don’t touch it!
26. Everything will be okay, I promise.
27. You will want to smother your spouse with a pillow—at least once—it’s okay. Marriage is the most aggravating but most rewarding relationship of your life. However, nothing good comes easy; let go of the fairy tale you had about marriage and be willing to do hard work (because it will get hard many, many times).
28. Don’t gripe about your marriage to friends, family or co-workers…especially co-workers or friends of the opposite sex…that never works out well—ever.
29. Don’t re-connect with ex-boyfriends on Facebook. Just…no.
30. Divorce doesn’t end problems; it creates a new set of problems. The grass isn’t always greener on the other side.
31. Don’t trade something that is unique to you for something someone else can do. You’ll never wish you worked more hours but you will wish you had spent more time with your kids. A work meeting is never—and I mean NEVER—more important than a school play, music performance, dance recital or a big game. Kids grow really, really fast and they will remember that you weren’t there for their special day.
32. No job is worth your integrity…life is too short to work for a$$holes for any length of time.
33. Embrace aging with grace. Stop trying to look like you’re in your twenties when you’re in your thirties. It’s okay to be in your thirties…you still got it.
34. Don’t get the boob implants…don’t get the boob implants.
35. Reevaluate friendships—if you have to guess the true intentions of a “friend” or have a circle of “frenemies”, start weeding out. Choose quality over quantity.
36. Be really good friends with someone in a stage of life behind you so that you can mentor them and be really good friends with someone who you admire and respect who is in a stage of life ahead of you so that you have someone to mentor you. .
37. You’re a good mom but you’re not perfect—it’s okay—when you know better, do better, and let the rest go.
38. Forgive people who have hurt you. Stop carrying it around…the weight of anger and resentment will begin to rob you of joy.
39. Read inspiring books…a lot of them…fill your head and heart with good words and wisdom for when bad times come…because bad times will come and this wisdom will be incredibly helpful.
40. It is never—and I mean never— too late to start over.
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Editor: Bryonie Wise
Photo: Jessica Diamond/flickr