At 20-years-old, I had no idea where I was going or what I was doing. I was in my undergrad studies, freshly transferred from a community college and terrified of my own life.
Today, I’m 24 and graduated and I’m working an office job that is so rewarding most days. I’m also about to interview for a Master’s program in the field of my dreams. All of this seems unimportant, but overall this is probably the most transformative period of my life because I’m allowing myself to feel afraid.
In my early 20s, I was always forcing myself to feel confident about moves I was making. Maybe that seems like a good idea to most, but really all it did was cause me to miss out on things because I wouldn’t do anything unless I felt 100% sure about it. And the worst part? I was so wrong about some of those seemingly good life choices I was making.
I have wasted time, I have gone with the wrong jobs, and pissed important people off along the way. And I’d asked myself “What did I do wrong for this not to work out”? As I get older, I’ve noticed that the answer really doesn’t matter.
If I could go back and tell myself anything, it would be to stop only making the choices you feel so sure about, because sometimes you’re wrong, like so wrong. And that’s okay. The only thing that matters is that you tried something and you learned from it. At the risk of sounding cliché, I’ll remind you “You miss 100 percent of the shots you don’t take.”
Take all of those chances, the ones that don’t feel good, the ones that you know might be a screw up. Because at the end of the day, you’ve allowed yourself to feel something other than what you’ve told yourself to feel.
Stop telling yourself that feeling any certain way is acceptable or unacceptable, you’re human. You’re going to screw up, but you’ll also look back and sometimes be so happy you did because it brought you to a better place.