I remember at age 17, talking to a co-worker at my weekend job, she said to me ‘What I’d give to be your age and know what I know now’. At the time, mystified, I wanted the answers. I was unable to comprehend my own naiveté.
Sure as I am that I still have much to learn, but I have learned some of the essentials, and I’m always happy to share the wealth.
1. Be around the people who make you laugh.
You should laugh at least 7 times a day, someone once said…! I disagree, it’s not enough! Friends should be there with a bottle of wine on a bad day and a bottle of tequila on a good one. Cherish the ones who not only understand your quirks but love you more because of them!
2. You are what you eat, and sometimes you are chicken nuggets.
Eventually you realise that you can’t live on take away pizza and ramen forever, although I think plenty of us would be willing to try. What you eat affects how you feel, and yes, you only have one body. But sometimes, you need a pick me up, so embrace your guilty pleasures along the way.
3. The only deadlines are the ones you create.
Married by 27 so I can have 3 babies by 32…blah blah blah. My sister-in-law just had her second child at 42, she’s in love with my brother, has two beautiful daughters and a successful career; she lived abroad, she travelled, she settled down. The only deadlines are the ones you put in place for yourself, enjoy the journey and let things happen when they are supposed to.
4. You choose your own path.
Your voice must always be the loudest one you hear. ‘You can’t please everyone, you are not nutella!’ – it’s true, and it doesn’t matter because the only person you need to please is yourself.
5. You don’t have to pick one goal.
Who wants to do the same thing for ten years, let alone their whole life. It’s okay to be, or to aspire to be as many things as you like. Apparently however, being a unicorn is not a vocation…
6. You have to work, but work is not the only thing you have to do.
You have bills to pay, fact. Whether you love or hate your job, be sure to find the balance. Take time for the things and the people that make you happiest. Don’t wake up in ten years realising that all you did was work.
7. It’s crucial to know when to walk away.
Walk away from the lousy drinks-too-much boyfriend, the job that brings out the worst in you, the hobby that ultimately you just suck at. Focus on the positives and leave the negatives behind. You’ll be happier and better off in the long run – I promise.