When you’re a young teenager, you wish to be older and aim to look it by dressing up, wearing make-up, and having a teen attitude that is enough to drive an adult crazy. You go to discos and try to make as many friends as possible; try everything out to impress those around you, even if you don’t like it. When reaching 18, you go out and do as many shots as possible until you decide you’re too old for that, and then become ‘mature’ by having your friends round your house, instead. When you reach your 20’s, you have all of these dreams and ideas that you hope to accomplish by the time you’re 30, and when you finally reach 26, you think, what’s going on? What’s happened to those hopes and plans? I’m actually getting old…aarrghh!!
Well, the thing is, in our mid-twenties we actually aren’t that old, but old enough to think we know and tell others younger than us what they need to do ‘before they get to our age’. We now know what we should have done when we were younger, and what we would tell the younger version of ourselves.
1. Having as many friends as possible isn’t all that important, because you will only have 3 or 4 actual friends you can count on, eventually
When you’re in school, you dream about being the most popular girl around; the same when you go to college. In all honesty, how many true friends do you have by the time you’re 25? A true friend to a twenty-something is someone you can Whatsapp in the early hours of the morning during one of your crisis’ or meltdowns; a person you can call 5 minutes before you want to go out and you end up having the best day ever. Having a small group of close friends is much more valuable than having a large group of acquaintances, especially when the nomad in you breaks free and your friends at home have to deal with a part-time friend who only visits at Christmas. The people who are worth it will stick around forever, even if you don’t speak for weeks at a time.
2. Men come and go, but once you know, you know
During the period of a girls life where they start dating, everything becomes exciting and new, but the consequence of heart break is extremely difficult to prepare for. “Why doesn’t he like me?” “What did I do wrong?” Every girl (and probably boy) will experience heartbreak once in their lives, or at least that is what they think it is. Once you finally meet the person you are going to spend the rest of your life with, you will realise that everything before it was just a lesson and a learning process in your life. A girl usually has to date a few frogs to understand, later on, that actually that guy wasn’t as great as you thought at the time. Fate is a wonderful thing, and will likely bring you and your literal other half together at some point in your life; slow down that panic-mode if you’re still single in your twenties… It’s coming!
3. Confidence will come with age
I used to always ask “mum will you ring them for me?” “can you do it instead of me?” as I was so shy when I was younger; something which has completely disappeared from my personality now. I believe confidence comes not only with age, but with experience and knowledge, too. Once I decided to go to China for a year, alone, and looking back now I wonder how the timid version of me could have done it. I believe it was due to trust in myself that I had made the right decision, but there are so many opportunites I could have taken, had I only been more confident; continuing auditioning for shows with my dancing and not giving up; I thought at the time that there were so many people better than I, and spending so much money on studying a language yet not using it when I had every opportunity to. I guess confidence is a part of growing up, and I actually think a younger version of any of us with too much confidence would have probably been annoying!
4. Start saving.. ASAP
I started work a lot younger than many, having my first job chopping salad in a kitchen aged 12. From then on, I had job after job after job, saving and saving for the next adventure I would go on around the world. To be fair, after all my travelling I still have broken even at every opportunity; working and working and spending on more travel, and not going into debt in the meantime. If I could tell my 15 year old self something, it would be to save those pennies as often as you can- one day you will wish you had! You may have plans, as a child, of what you want to be or do, and those plans will likely change over the years. However much those plans do change, you will probably still need money to obtain the aim of what the next idea is. The ultimate goals or ticks off of your bucketlist that you want to achieve, will definitely need even a little bit of money. SAVE.
5. Learn to say no
Be you, do what you want, and if someone doesn’t like it, then tough. Life is not about pleasing people, it’s about pleasing yourself and finding your own way down your individual path. Life is one big journey of self-discovery, and we have to try things to work out whether we like them, or not. However, trying or doing things when you actually only said yes because you felt like you had to is the worst feeling in the world; obligation without want. I am sure everyone has been pretty bad at saying no at some point in their life, and this can actually be prevalent in my life nowadays, but we have to learn to be selfish and to do things our own indiviual way, if not, where would we end up?!
6. Look after your body and mind
Now this is something we didn’t think about when we were young, (although nowadays the peer pressure is immense so it’s slightly different), but there are many things that change when you reach your mid-twenties; weight, teeth, eyes, body shape and so, so much more. Eat junk food and snacks when you want, but also work out to balance the cheat day out. Brush those teeth three or four times a day, and get your eyes tested if you find yourself squinting; it sounds obvious but so many of us fall into a trap and realise too late that it can’t be reversed. We took for granted all of the penny sweets and fast food meals we could have when we were younger, and now we long for them but know we should be ‘good’! Do yoga, clear your mind. I challenge someone to find something that makes you feel better than yoga ever could!
Of course, we can’t turn back time and tell ourselves to be the best child or teen version of us that we can, it is all a part of learning and growing up; by discovering now what we could have known then, we can be the best adult versions of ourselves. We all probably wish, when we were younger, that we were just that little bit more confident, or better at choosing our teenage romances and friends, but who we have become today is a result of all of the learning curves along the way, and everyday is a new adventure with something to be learnt.
I am really interested to know what you would tell your younger self. Comment below- I’d really love to know!Tweet