Today marks my 43rd trip around this big ball of burning gas we call the sun. In that time, there’s been so much that has happened and still there is so much I am looking forward to.
During my last therapy session (FYI, I have an awesome therapist! 😁) I was asked “Who are you? How do you define who you are?” I was told to go outside of all the hats I normally wear (sister, daughter, coach, friend, athlete, etc.) and really think about it. The only conclusion I came to was “I am the accumulation of all my experiences.” After 43 trips around the sun, so many experiences. Some have been really good, others pretty bad and ugly. Nonetheless, they’ve shaped who I am today and I really like who that person is.
Having said that, there were definitely things along the way I would’ve liked to change. In the past few years I’ve been able to mentor some pretty amazing people, mostly in an unofficial capacity. Sometimes I wished I had someone like me when I was 13, 23, or 33 telling me all these tidbits of wisdom. But alas, here I am, the accumulation of all my right and wrong choices.
While on a hike in Arches National Park, in the pitch black dark (night sky photography!), I thought if there were 43 things I could tell my 13, 23, or 33 year old self, what would that be? Well here it is:
- Not everyone is going to like you, and that’s okay.
- Be genuine. People appreciate who you really are…and refer back to tip #1.
- Not everything is guaranteed (except for death and taxes). When something or someone departs your life, it’s the universe’s way of making room for something else.
- While gymnastics is fun, swimming lessons would be better!
- Ride your bike as much as you can. Then ride some more!
- If you feel like someone or something is holding you back (even if it’s you), they are. Don’t let them.
- When it comes to matters of the heart, mom is always right. Listen to her.
- If there’s something you are wanting to do, go do it. Waiting for people to join you will hold you back. You’ll get to do and see more stuff if you learn to fly solo.
- Travel a lot, then travel some more, and keep on traveling!
- Wear sunscreen everyday, especially on your face. Those age/sun spots have their way of creeping up on you overnight!
- Mean girls will always be mean girls whether they’re 16 or 40 years old.
- People will always gossip about you. Let them.
- People who genuinely care about you will reach out to you directly.
- You can’t control what others do, but you can control your attitude and how you react.
- Marriage is overrated.
- Stop chasing the “dream job.” Instead, make sure your job allows you to follow your dreams.
- Work to live, don’t live to work.
- It’s okay to eat dessert before dinner.
- When people judge or criticize you, it’s their way of projecting their own insecurities onto you. It’s not you, it’s them.
- Don’t be afraid to go against the grain.
- Name calling is not okay, no matter how angry someone is with you.
- You can’t reason with crazy or fix stupid.
- Save early and save often. Compound interest is a powerful thing!
- Collect experiences, not things.
- Buy nice or buy twice!
- You can always make more money, but you can’t make more time.
- The unfollow feature in Facebook is your best friend!
- Whatever you do, never stop learning!
- Don’t forget to enjoy being in the moment.
- Always have more than one stream of income.
- Trust your instincts. If something doesn’t feel right, it probably isn’t.
- When someone tries to blow out your flame, build a bonfire!
- Embrace the changes your body goes through as you age.
- Don’t follow fad diets and meal replacement plans. They’re not sustainable.
- It’s okay to be vulnerable and ask for help.
- Give more than you take and receive.
- Learn how to cook from grandma because no one will ever match up to her recipes.
- Family is EVERYTHING, especially your honorary aunties!
- There’s the family you’re born with and the family you choose. Cherish both with all your heart.
- You are the average of the 5 people you spend the most time with. Choose wisely.
- It’s okay to fail, because from those failures are lessons to be learned in order to succeed.
- Never forget where you came from, and always be moving and looking forward.
- Live YOUR life, not the life that others think you should live.
I’m sure there are many more bits of wisdom I could share to my younger self, but one thing is for sure, I will always cherish every birthday no matter how good or difficult the previous year was because each trip around the sun we get, is truly a gift.