This is not one of those lists where I tell myself that I should read more – although I probably should have. I’ll be honest, I grew up way too fast. I was always in a rush to act older, be older and experience those things that my cousin, who was four years older than me, was able to do. I skipped out on my childhood and my adolescence, and while I’m perfectly content with that because of who I am as an adult, there are some pretty significant lessons I’ve learned along the way. Here are the top 30 nuggets of wisdom I’d share with my younger self – at any age.
1. Hug your mom. Hug her every time you can. Stop being a typical teenager and avoiding your mother’s lips when she tries to kiss you. Answer her texts and answer her calls and spend as much time with her as you possibly can because she’s going to die before you reach 30 and you’re going to want to all those slobbery moments back.
2. Learn to forgive family members who’ve hurt you. Forgive your sister when you two get into an argument. Forgive your brother when he doesn’t call as often as he should. Forgive yourself for not putting forth as much effort as you blame everyone around you for not putting in either.
3. Stand up for yourself, for fuck’s sake.
4. Don’t feel embarrassed to let your mom read what you wrote. Don’t let anyone not enjoy your talents because you’re insecure about them. I know it’s hard, but don’t allow your feelings of self-doubt or the critical words of some dumbass tie you down. There will be more people in this world who admire your talents, then those who mock it.
5. Do not just randomly show up where you know you’ll run into someone you like. It’s painfully obvious and you look ridiculous.
6. Don’t ever, ever, EVER believe that you should be talked down to.
7. Don’t ever allow someone to hit you. And don’t you ever stick around because you thought you deserved it.
8. Get up after you’ve been knocked down. Interview for jobs you probably won’t get. Submit articles that probably won’t get published. Dare to write about things that others will get angry over. Share your opinion and aim high and don’t for a second let that failure convince you that you should just stop trying.
9. You don’t need to have a timeline or a lifestyle that everyone around you has. You don’t need to go to a brick and mortar college. You don’t need to live in a dorm. You don’t need to be out until 2 in the morning, sloshed, with your face buried between your legs to get the “college experience.” The college experience is about bettering yourself and discovering yourself – plain and simple.
10. Stop letting your pride win every argument. Sometimes you’re just wrong.
11. Don’t delete a friend off Facebook because you’re angry. Overcome your bruised ego and talk it out. Don’t let your pride stand in the way of a friendship you’d really miss otherwise.
12. Don’t look at every argument like it’s the end for every relationship. Some friendships will not be able to handle it, but the true ones will. Give people the benefit of the doubt that they’re going to eventually understand where you’re coming from.
13. Stop slut-shaming yourself for having a one night stand, because you’re not. Don’t let others say it to you either.
14. Try something you’d never do once and see how it makes you feel. Dress up at a comic con, and walk the streets of San Diego, with a pink wig and thigh high boots, and meet every awkward stare of pedestrians who are trying not to mock you. Do it once and you’ll absolutely fall in love and realize that being completely uninhibited is an overwhelming fantastic feeling.
15. Don’t purposely start drama with anyone.
16. Don’t be afraid to quit your job in pursuit of something you crave more. Whether it’s a pipe dream you want to become a reality, or because your job is literally sucking your soul dry, it’s okay to leave a job. Don’t feel trapped a second in your life.
17. Try and stop feeling weird about being an adult around your parents. It’s natural to want to get married, and celebrate, and have babies. Talk with them about it. Don’t feel like you’re a kid playing house in their eyes, because that’s not how you’re looking at it.
18. Don’t feel like you ever have to choose between a family life and a career because you don’t. You’re not a statistic in the 50’s.
19. It’s okay to dislike President Trump, just like it’s okay to support him. This is why there are multiple flavors of ice cream – because no two people have the same opinion. Don’t cast someone aside because you don’t agree with their political stance; it just makes you part of the problem.
20. Take an active role in a cause you can get involved in. Don’t just sit and scroll through your Facebook about natural disasters, like Hurricane Harvey, and not do something. A $10 donation can make all the difference.
21. Spending $37 for foundation is actually worth it. Trust me; I was surprised too.
22. You have to put an effort into friendships that have lasted over 15 years.It’s not enough to say they’ve been your friend forever. You need to call. You need to text. You need to go and grab a coffee once a month at least because people grow apart when they don’t talk.
23. Don’t constantly be moving on to the next thing. When you’re planning a wedding, don’t rush and get excited about the making a baby phase. When you’re dating, don’t rush and get excited and curious over when you’re getting engaged. Enjoy these moments because they’re BIG moments that you’ll be unable to get back. Take it slow.
24. It’s okay to say no to doing something. There is zero obligation to do something you just don’t want to do.
25. Don’t bad mouth your boss – especially to a co-worker.
26. Love someone with literally, all you have – and all you ever will have. Love them with a force so grand that it actually consumes the both of you. Hug them, kiss them, wrap your arms around them every second, of every day.
27. Write your own vows – not just for your wedding, but for your entire life. Vow to love yourself. Vow to remain proud of yourself. Vow to keep trying, even when times get tough.
28. Trust your gut instincts – around men, around friendships, around relationships, around being at the wrong place at the wrong time. If it doesn’t feel right, it isn’t, so get out.
29. Don’t allow the loss of someone you love ruin every other moment in your life. It’s okay to still celebrate holidays, and to feel excited on the morning of your birthday. Nothing will be the same – but it’s okay to move on and create a new normal. Sometimes you just have to.
30. Allow yourself to continue growing at every chance you get. Push yourself to write outside your comfort zone, to live outside your comfort zone, to love outside your comfort zone. Give yourself the opportunities you’re constantly pushing others to take.