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I have been reflecting a lot on the past lately especially when it comes to giving advice to my younger self.
It all started with Facebook groups.
I was active on Facebook so that I could promote my blog, get my questions answered, and discover new blogs. One day, one particular sharing thread caught my eye. Someone asked, ‘what is one thing you would tell yourself in high school?’
I couldn’t answer the question immediately and it got me thinking. This is a good blog post idea! There are so many things I would have told my younger self.
#1 Advice Younger People Need To Hear
If there was one piece of advice I would tell my younger self, it would be this:
You cannot control many things including what people say to you. You can only control your reactions.
All of us care about what people say to us to a certain extent. When I was younger, I was more easily affected by people’s words. Someone might say something harsh and it would get me into a bad mood. I believed their words because I wasn’t a confident teenager. When you’re less confident, you tend to believe what other people say more because deep down, a part of you believes it’s true.
Some people might say things to provoke you or they might say things without meaning to hurt your feelings. Either way, I cannot control what other people say to me. As much as you want to cover your ears and block out what they’re saying, you can’t. Well, okay, you can but that isn’t socially acceptable.
When you feel yourself losing control, take a few deep breaths. I would tell my younger self to think more rationally. Those few seconds matter because it gives me extra time to think about how to react to a situation.
Most of the time, I will choose to let it go. I’m not a pushover but I also do not need to pick a fight every time someone says something to me I don’t like.
With practice, you will get better at controlling your reactions. I know these words seem simple but it’s hard to remember during the times you need them. Honestly, I still struggle with this sometimes but it’s something I am working on and will continue to actively work on.
This Too Shall Pass
When I’m feeling down in the dumps, there’s almost a dark cloud above my head. I can’t shake off the feeling and it feels like this will last forever.
Several years ago, I was about to graduate high school and was on my way to the next stage of life: college. I couldn’t wait to move away from my hometown.
When I finally moved to Boston, it fell below my expectations. I struggled to adapt and even doubted my decision to leave Canada. Should I have stayed in Toronto? Is it going to be this hard for the next four years?
There are moments where you will feel like a situation sucks and you feel hopeless. Everyone has gone through this kind of period at one time or another.
Compassionate self-talk is key during those times. Tell yourself this.
You have survived all of those other tough times before. You will be able to survive this one too. It will pass.
Telling this to myself makes me feel strong and brave when I’m feeling the opposite. There is light at the end of the tunnel even if the tunnel is a bit longer than you would like.
You have to go through bad times to appreciate the good times.
You Don’t Need to Have Everything Figured Out Now
There’s an insane amount of pressure to figure out what you want to do at 17/18 years old. At that age, you’re probably in your first year in college figuring out what you want to major in to help with your future career.
Deciding what career path you want to commit to for the rest of your life? There’s pressure figuring out the answer yourself but it’s a question that adults like to ask you as well. Essentially, there’s pressure everywhere. I remember being really overwhelmed because I wasn’t one of those people that knew she wanted to be a nurse in third grade.
In another blog post, I talked about the first step in your career path. You don’t need to have everything figured out now but do have a general sense of what you want to do or what interests you. You do have to make a decision eventually and can only put it off for so long.
Life is a journey. Even for people who think they have it all figured out, it doesn’t mean that their life will follow their plans. That’s the thing about life. No matter how careful your plans are, they will be screwed up in some way. But isn’t that also what makes life beautiful?
You’re Going to Lose People in Your Life Whether You Like It or Not
Think about a time where you thought you couldn’t imagine a person in your life. You thought that person was going to be in your life forever except a few years later, he or she is gone.
People change. People leave. There are all sorts of reasons why you’re going to lose people in your life. You can try your best to still want them to be in your life but if they don’t want to…there’s nothing you can do about it. I learned this the hard way.
There are many situations where you have temporary friendships. Where it’s only convenient to be close to someone because you see them every day. College was like that for me. I had one friend that I was extremely close with. She was someone I thought was going to be one of my forever friends but we lost contact after graduation.
One of my childhood friends had a good point. She said that it’s hard to keep in touch with friends if both of you are international students. My college best friend and I were only staying in The U.S. temporarily. We were always going to go back to our hometowns eventually so when would be the next time we meet?
My hometown is always going to be my base but we both don’t have any ties in Boston. I could visit her in her hometown and she could visit me in mine but that requires a lot of effort on both ends.
Unfortunately, she is no longer a part of my life but I’ll always cherish the great memories we made together in college. I still think about her and hope she’s doing well wherever she is.
People Are Always Going To Give You Advice But Will You Follow What They Say?
When you’re younger, people love to give you unsolicited advice. Since they’re ‘oh so wise,’ they can’t wait to share their life advice with you.
Does their advice apply to your situation? More importantly, will it be something you will actually do?
For example, my cousin used to encourage me to go to bars more often. She loves going to bars meeting new people or going with coworkers for a drink after work.
I like to meet new people as well and going to bars is a great way to socialize with coworkers. However, going to bars every week isn’t my thing. It doesn’t mean I don’t like to socialize and make friends but I prefer to do social gatherings in other ways.
This situation highlights our personality differences. I don’t feel the need to follow her advice because I know that’s not my style.
When people give you advice, they might have good intentions but you need to make that judgment on whether or not that applies to yourself.
There Are Some Things You Have To Experience Yourself To Truly Understand
My dad used to tell me to spend my money wisely. I should always save up money for a rainy day or save to buy things I really want. Younger me didn’t really listen. I nodded and smiled at the times he kept repeating this piece of advice. In reality, his words were going in one ear and out the other.
Now that I’m an adult, his words finally hit me.
Being in a pandemic shows that you should always have some savings in case of unpredictable situations (although I know this isn’t realistically for every single person out there).
2021 was also the year I started to become interested in luxury items. I have a bunch of reasons why I buy preloved but even at preloved prices, these designer goods don’t come cheap on Vestiaire Collective. I need the money from somewhere so I had to cut out unnecessary expenses.
There really are some things you have to truly experience for yourself to understand. People can tell you the same thing many times or give you all sorts of advice but it won’t hit you until you experience it personally.
You’ll Make Better Use Of Your Time When You Don’t Have A Lot Of It
When I moved back with my parents, I knew that I was going to have less alone time. It’s only natural but I find that I appreciate my alone time more now because it doesn’t come often.
I worked on my blog more and celebrated my first blog anniversary recently. While I was still in Canada, I had trouble posting on my blog weekly.
I decided that this cannot go on so I vowed on New Year’s that I would post a new blog post every Thursday. I wrote a blog post about it and put it out to the world to stay motivated. So far, so good! It’s almost August now and I haven’t once missed. I am really proud of myself for that.
I came to the realization recently that I am most productive when I have limited free time because I have to choose carefully how I spend that time.
What’s some advice you would give to your younger self? Or to younger people now?