It took turning 30 for me to turn into an Grown-Up.
Not marriage, or paying bills, or living on my own, working, or even having kids. 30. Something clicked at 30.
As you can probably tell by my post ‘Here’s Where I’m At‘ this year seems to me the year of self reflection and contemplation. Sometimes, the process of self reflection and contemplation can be tough; getting loss in the abyss of should haves… the self pity… we’ve all been there. For years I’ve struggled between allowing myself to grieve for the injustices of my past vs the ‘everything happens for a reason’ and the ‘it made me who I am’ justifications. In this moment, right now, I am happy with who I am..regardless of my past. HOWEVER, I do wish I could have said some things to my younger self.
Dear Young Person,
Love Will Find You
You don’t need to take matters into your own hands and actively seek out your lifelong partner…. At least, not yet. This is so important. You will save yourself a lot of heartache and the ripple effect (and there are many many ripples) of bad decisions.
Be a Good Friend
..and surround yourself with people who bring out the best in you. On that note,
Find the Nerds
I could write a book about the advantages that aligning with, or being, a nerd provides. There is less pressure on superfluous social things, which will inevitably lead to less bad decisions (with less bad decision ripples…) and more pressure on academics and personal enrichment which will probably create a path of positive ripple opportunities (overboard with the ripples?) Just know, dear Young Person, that the nerds are the smart, funny, and nice kids who then grow up to be the successful, (still) funny, more interesting adults.
Spend Time with Elders
Don’t dismiss old people. They have so much to offer. Listen to stories, ask questions, and take notes. You don’t know everything… but they probably do.
Play Play PLAY
Never stop. It’s much better than movies, or going to the mall, I promise.
I vividly remember seeing a poster in the old lifeguard station that read, “The most sun damage happens before age 18.” I was 17 at the time with years of baby oil suntanning behind me… I told myself, as I did all those summers before, “I’m (1/2) latina… and I live in Vermont, it’s like a month a year of hot sun. I’m ok.” For the record, it doesn’t matter how light or dark your skin is, everyone should wear sunscreen…even if you live in Vermont. There are hundreds of creams, sprays, etc that can make you look like surfer barbie without the sun damage, skin cancer, sun spot, and wrinkles. You will thank me when you’re older.
Wear Wild Outfits
Wear wild and fun outfits and wear them for you.
Being a kid can be tough, being a teenager can be REALLY tough. The onset of social media and numerous ways to instantly communicate with one another have presumably made the complicated lands of teenage angst even more tumultuous. Don’t try and navigate it gracefully. Navigate it gracefully. Learn this.Live this.
The Golden Rule
There are 18 different religions and spiritual followings that each have numerous versions of the ‘Golden Rule’? That’s pretty impressive. It must mean it’s worth knowing…know it.
The Golden Rule(s) YOU, young person, need to know-
(The In a Nutshell Version) Treat others how you would want to be treated
(The Tech Version) Never type/text anything that you wouldn’t want said about you
See the Beauty in Your Backyard
You will never see the true beauty in the world unless you can find and appreciate the beauty in your own backyard.
Everything you need can be found outside in nature. You will be your best and strongest self when you are in the wilderness, soak it up as much and as often as you can.
You’ll be OK. You are stronger than you think. Xoxo