I turned thirty in June. I tried not to… I wasn’t ready for it. Like death, I’ve known for many years that it would happen, had things I wanted to achieve before it did, but it seemed to sneak up on me and when it did I just wanted to turn back the clock. Morbid? Maybe, but that was my mood.
I’ve dealt with it now… mostly. I’ve done a lot of reflection on my current situation, my future and all the lessons I’ve learned in 30 years on Earth. Still, from the height of three decades, I look back and wish I could tell my past self certain things. They are all equally true, though a few of them might seem contradictory;
1. Just be yourself! Don’t worry kid, one day weirdos will be cool and geeks will be chic. Give it time!
2. You can’t please everyone. Seriously. It’s impossible.
3. You’re in your teens and you’re doing well. No, really. You’re on the right track. Don’t bother trying to have all the answers RIGHT NOW. Save your pennies, study hard and most of all, enjoy your life; you’ll spend the rest of it nostalgically longing to relive some of these days.
4. Boys, boys, boys… the years will fly by and when they do, you will no longer have the slightest interest in the boy you have a crush on today. You won’t even remember his name. Focus on your personal development. I swear, one day you are going to date a guy with a PhD and a BMW. One day, you will date a man who writes songs about you. One day you will marry a brilliant, gorgeous astrophysicist who will move mountains to be with you. Fret not your pretty little head about THAT boy.
5. Don’t burn bridges that don’t need to be burned. You can’t see the future (unless you are somehow actually reading this message from future Joleen, in which case how do I not remember this???) so you don’t know when you may need to cross that bridge.
6. Take risks. Wear that outfit. Accept that job. Travel. Test your crazy business idea – it might pay off! You don’t have as much to lose as you think.
7. You’re entering the world of work. You’re trying your hand at love. Be aware that there are people out there who are truly rotten deep down inside. You can’t fix them. Be cautious about who you trust.
8. Karma is real. It will find the people who have hurt you. Remember that it also applies to you… Tread lightly on the emotions of others. You have more power to hurt people than you think.
9. In your mid twenties, take care of your skin. If you start when it’s too late… it will be too late!
10. RELAX. Everything is temporary and subject to change. Every experience is a story you will tell one day. Don’t panic.
11. Don’t be defined by other peoples’ opinions of you. You alone can tell your story; you alone can build your identity. Dress for the job you want, act like you already have it and it is yours.
12. There will be rainy days. Many of them. Don’t be afraid; if it never rained, nothing would grow.
Trust that the sun will shine again.
That’s the wonderful, powerful, universal truth about life.
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