Looking back now, I could’ve (and maybe should’ve) done a few things differently…
Thing is, with age (and kids, and grey hairs, and stretch marks) comes wisdom. That really is true. And our experiences turn us into the amazing, intricate people we become. We need those experiences to grow into the individuals we need to become.
Still, if given the chance, I would give my younger self some pointers. You know, just to alleviate some of the damage…
1. They really DON’T care…
I used to care so much about what people thought. How they saw me. If I was ‘cool’ enough, ‘good’ enough, just ‘enough’… Meanwhile, they probably didn’t even know I existed. I could’ve used all that energy in a much more positive way. Built myself up as a person. Educated myself more. Instead of trying so hard to impress ‘them’, I could’ve spent more energy on loving myself.
2. You are perfect
I’ve always had issues with my body… Big hands, thin arms, protruding hip-bones. Large hands. Big feet. Being asked, constantly as a child, if I’m anorexic. Being the ‘weird’ kid. The nerd. Not liking the long, dark hairs on my arms. Not liking my mousy hair colour.
I wish I could’ve grown up loving my body the way I do now. My sharp edges and soft curves, my musician’s hands, my wisdom streaks, my stretch marks, my scars. Because I truly am beautiful. Inside and out. Carved by life and circumstances into a living, breathing masterpiece.
3. Don’t grow up too fast
I wished my childhood away. I wished to be ten. Then 16. Then 18. Then 21. Then 25.
I believed that once I reached a certain age things would be better. People would respect me more. I’d have more money. A good job. The kids would chill out. My marriage would get better.
Thing is, I’ve learned that NOW really is the best time to be living in. I get to experience things (emotions, places, people) NOW. ‘Then’ might never come. I could die tomorrow. So I choose to make the best of today. Each day truly is a gift just waiting to be unwrapped and enjoyed. Use your pretty crockery. Wear your special dress to that picnic. Eat the condensed milk out of the jar. Don’t keep things only for ‘special occasions’. Being alive is a special occasion!
4. Listen to your parents
Oh, how I wish I had listened to their advice more! But when you’re young you know everything, right?
Yes, that dress was too short. No, black lipstick really did not look good on me. Yep, Rob Zombie reallllly sucked and I only listened to him to piss my parents off!
I wish I understood then that my parents did not have rules to spoil my fun, but to protect me. Because they love me deeply. And that is a love I only got to understand once I became a parent myself.
5. Have a soft heart, but don’t show it off too much.
I’ve been hurt by many people in my life. Taken advantage of. Because I don’t believe only in second, but also in third, fourth and fifth, chances. People have used my good heart against me countless times. And it hurts every time. Because I truly do believe in the innate good nature of people, and am genuinely surprised when they act in a manner contrary to that belief. Call me gullible if you must. I love people. All people.
If I could give my younger self some advice, though, it would be to have more friends, but let them in more selectively. To guard my heart more closely. To judge more with my head, and follow with my heart. Not the other way around…
If you had a chance, what would YOU tell your younger self?