I was going through some photos recently and I stumbled upon this one. I can’t believe it was almost ten years ago that I earned a degree from graduate school. This photo was taken before I was married, owned a home or gave birth to my children.
Almost ten years ago.
That girl in the photo is quite different than the woman I am today. The core of who I am has remained the same but life experiences and various relationships have made me evolve as a person and ultimately, a mother. I guess I never realized how much marriage, a mortgage and motherhood would change my life.
If I could have a conversation and share ten things that I know now with the young woman staring back at me in this photograph, it would go something like this (in no particular order)…
1. Don’t take yourself too seriously or sweat the small stuff. There will be many moments on the road ahead that will require some serious thinking and decision making. Until then, now is the time to figure out what you really want out of life and just go for it.
2. Don’t get so caught up in looking so perfect. Appearances are only skin deep – and when you pop out that second kid anyway, you’ll be working overtime to fit back into those skinny jeans so don’t be so hard on yourself now. It only gets harder.
3. Learn to love your body. Laugh lines are evidence of a life well lived and stretch marks will be appreciated one day, for they will be reminders of the little blessings brought into this world.
4. Know who you are and what you value because these are the things that will get you through some real hard and trying times in your life. This will also help to keep you grounded as you venture out into the world.
5. Surround yourself with influential and positive people and don’t ever let anyone intimidate you. Forget the nonsense and the negativity and only invest your time in people who truly care about you and support you.
6. Love yourself. You can’t give love to anyone else if you don’t love yourself first.
7. Continue to do what makes YOU happy and don’t look back. Make good decisions and learn from your mistakes. Dust yourself off when you are down and get right back up to try again. Don’t ever give up on yourself or your ideals.
8. Make your own money. Follow your passion and pursue a career you truly enjoy to become financially independent.
9. Invest in a quality education – no matter what happens in your life (job loss, divorce, loss of home) your education is something that can never be taken away from you.
10. Don’t ever stop dreaming big dreams and love deeper than you ever thought possible. Embrace your loved ones and count your blessings – because life is too short not to.
I actually could go on and on with a list like this…if you saw a photo of your “younger” self, what is something you would say to that young person staring back at you?