People who say regrets are a waste of time are mostly right.. let’s say 75% right for arguments sake. Regretting past mistakes and doing nothing but think about them and focus on the past IS a waste of your time. But thinking about those mistakes, learning from them and not making them again. To me that isn’t a waste of time.
I believe my mistakes have made me who I am today, and in case you were wondering I like who I am today. But what if I could be this version of myself eight or 10 years ago, how further ahead would I be now?!
With the wisdom of hindsight, knowledge and all that I’ve learnt this is what would I tell my younger self. What I wish I had known earlier…
Doing well at school isn’t everything
I was so focused on getting good grades and doing ‘well’ the entire way through school because I thought.. I was brought up to think.. that it was the only way to achieve or go anywhere in life. It’s only after leaving school that I realised there’s so much more to the world. Exam results don’t mean anything.
All school is teaching you is to pass exams. There are no life lessons there; no how to run a business, or the best way to utilise your money etc.
Life experience is just as important, if not more important than getting good grades.
Not everyone is going to like you and that’s ok
I was bullied for the first few years or so of high school. That along with things going on at home meant that I pretty much kept myself to myself, stayed in my shell, and did as little as possible to attract attention. I’d go so far as to say I was scared to talk to most people.
In other words; I wasn’t myself. I didn’t show my personality, and I never really learnt or explored who I was, what I could be, what I could do.
I wish I could tell my younger self that it’s ok for people not to like you. That’s life. In fact it isn’t just high school where people can act like this so might as well get used to it!!
So be yourself. Learn to ignore those that don’t like you or understand. Focus on the ones that do. You will find your people by being honest and unapologetically you. You will be a LOT happier being yourself than trying to hide.
Don’t follow the crowd. Be you.
Work out what you love and what brings you joy now and stick with it
I never gave a thought to what I actually enjoyed and liked doing if it wasn’t related to school subjects and school work in general. This makes me sad.
I wish I had know back then to start paying attending to things I did that brought me joy and happiness. What I got excited about doing. If I had worked that out back then I think I would have had a better fighting chance of finding a job or making a career for myself that resonated with my values and myself.
Basically, be curious and never stop doing what you love and exploring new things! Now is the time to grow your mind and expand your horizons.
Start doing yoga NOW. You will always wish you’d started sooner!
I have been doing yoga for nearly 5 years now. I love it. How calming, peaceful, and grounded it makes me feel. How much it helps with the pain and muscle problems I have. Even how toned and more flexible I have become.
I wish I had known about yoga in my twenties, back in high school even! If I had I would definitely have started practicing it years ago and started reaping all the benefits earlier.
If you haven’t already I highly, highly recommend that you start now. Today.
Find things you love doing out of school and develop those skills too
I know now I was never meant to be a cog in the corporate world. Office work made me ill and the combination of that work and my coping mechanisms for it ultimately ended in the chronic illness I have now.
If I could go back and tell my younger self to look at jobs and options outside of the obvious. Outside of what society coaches you is the ‘successful path’. I would tell her to start writing. Submit articles, stories, artwork. Develop photography skills… all the things I love now but wish I had started or known about earlier that I could have turned into a career path and saved myself a lot of heart ache.
Drinking and partying all the time is not the answer
I spent most of my twenties partying and drinking. This was the coping mechanism I mentioned before. It wasn’t healthy and it definitely wasn’t clever!
Yes I had fun, and a part of me will always be the girl that just wants to dance the night away. I love music, what can I say. But really the drinking and constant nights out was masking my confusion, hurt and disappointment with the rest of my life. The bad relationship(s) I landed myself in and really the fact that I wasn’t happy with work, myself, or my relationship.
If I could go back I would tell that girl to face her pain. Work through it. Work out what the problems are and work on yourself to find the answers.
Only you can make you happy so don’t run away from the shadows or you will always be running.
Save your money now don’t waste it on material things
I will be the first one to admit that I had absolutely no budgeting skills at Uni. On top of picking an expensive art course where I was constantly buying materials and supplies I was also spending far to much on clothes, fashion magazines, nights out (see above), and any other rubbish I decided at the time I needed.
Really I should have been saving as much as I could. Being way more aware of what my expenses were, learning how to budget and basically be more of an adult!
I think if I had know this a lot earlier I would have been better with my money. And therefore would have had far more savings to go travelling and have more life experiences with – because at the end of the day these are the things that really matter.
Life experience, and making memories is far more important and rewarding than any material thing.
You can’t fix other people
Although this is true or any relationship or friendship in this instance I am mostly referring to an unhealthy and unhappy relationship I stayed in for far too long and spent far too much time and energy trying to fix.
Ahhh… hindsight is such a marvellous thing!
There were plenty of signs, and PLENTY of friends telling me to walk away etc. But my stubborn self kept flogging that dead horse of a relationship.
I wish I’d had the strength and foresight to walk away from that situation a lot earlier than I did. To realise how much lighter I’d feel and how much better off and whole I’d be without it.
I don’t even know if current me going back and telling younger me would even have made me snap out of this mistake. But I’d like to think I could make myself see sense?
Hypothetically of course!
You are the only person that can make you feel whole. Don’t rely on relationships
I think a lot of the relationships I had when I was younger. Friends and boyfriends. I relied on the other person to make me feel better, happier about myself. I don’t know why this is. Self confidence maybe, or not really knowing who I was and what I was capable of…
I wish I could tell my younger self to do some more self-work. Turn inwards. Work out who you really are. What you want in life. What you believe. What your standards are. What you will and won’t accept from people around you. What values do you want to have. What’s the most important thing to you.
When you know this surround yourself with the people that reflect your own ideas, people that lift you up and support you. But don’t expect anyone else to fix you.
Don’t lose yourself in relationships. They aren’t meant to be everything in your life
I think this is something everyone can be guilty of. You meet a guy you really like, you want to spend all your time with him, and then without realising you almost become one person.
I would definitely want to tell my younger self to keep doing things for me. Don’t lose my identity to a relationship. Those differences and time apart are what keep things interesting, and make sure you keep growing as a person.
Filling up your own cup first. Loving yourself first. These are the only things that allow you to then give to others. And don’t just keep giving of yourself without anything in return. A relationship should be an equal partnership. You can’t be the only one doing all the work. And you definitely should NOT be sacrificing things you love and enjoy for anyone.
You won’t just fall into the life milestones you think everyone gets. You have to work at it
I spoke about this quite a bit in my previous post here, I always thought that if I had the good grades and followed the steps of school, university etc. then the perfect job and the ideal husband would just drop into my lap and everyone would live happily every after.
Definitely not the case.
Adults always seem to have it all figured out when you are young. It’s only when you get to the ‘adulting’ part of life that you realise no one knows what the hell they’re doing.
If I’d know that earlier I definitely would have worked on figuring out what I wanted to do with my life, what my options were and started working towards them (instead of just floating along in my naive little bubble).
Don’t listen to your ego. It doesn’t know anything!
Your ego is only there to keep you safe. It wants you to do the un-scary thing, to blend in and be mediocre. Because standing out gets you noticed and that’s dangerous. Your ego is basically an out of date self-preservation mechanism. Don’t let it stop you doing things. Don’t listen to it, your heart and your gut are far more important and far better at making decisions.
Be scared. Be petrified. But do the things anyway. You won’t accomplish anything staying safe in your comfort zone. Yes, think things through logically, don’t be an idiot. But don’t let worrying about what people will think of you or ‘what if you fail’ stop you from trying.
And there you have it. My words of wisdom I wish I’d known earlier.
What would you tell your younger self if you could?