There are times in our lives, as we reflect upon the choices we’ve made and the paths that we’ve chosen, when the thought comes to mind…if only I’d known then what I know now. Looking back, there are many things I wish I could tell myself at the age of 20. I’ve learned enough through the years to realize that I probably wouldn’t have listened to “me” but that doesn’t stop the wonderment of the thought. For the sake of brevity, I will share with you a few that come to mind for myself, and I’ll try to keep it lighthearted. So…this is to “me” – at 20.
1. Keep a Diary. There will be countless memories that you will want to preserve…many in great detail. Write it all down; every minuscule detail that makes you laugh, makes you cry, or makes you want to relive the moment. Write about the people that mean the most to you and make notes about why they’re so important to you. Believe me, you’ll want to reflect back to your diary. You’ll want to remember the moments, both good and bad. You’ll want to remember the times that you laughed so hard that your stomach hurt, the mistakes that you made and what you learned from them, and the details about the people that are important to you, particularly your family and others that you love.
2. Slow Down…Don’t Wish The Time Away. You know how you’re always saying (at 20) “I can’t wait until I’m 21, or “I can’t wait until I’m out on my own?” Take your time. Believe me, the older you get, the faster times goes by. Just relax a little and enjoy the moment. Enjoy the fact that you have so few responsibilities and don’t be in such a hurry to conquer the world.
3. Take Lots of Pictures. Now, I know this may seem trivial, but you’ll thank me for this. Carry a camera with you and photograph friends, relatives, vacations, silly times, serious times…you’ll want to look back on them like you will your diary. And, this is really important…you’ll just have to trust me on this one…put them in an album as soon as you get them developed. Don’t let them pile up in a box. That box of photographs will hang over your head like a black cloud, and you’ll be so busy that you’ll have to take a vacation from work to get them all sorted. When you get older, it’ll all be digital, but I can’t go into that now. You’ll see, and you’ll be amazed.
4. Hang On To A Few of Your Favorite Shirts. Sounds silly, doesn’t it? But when you get older, you’ll come across a picture every now and then and you’ll think “Oh, I loved that shirt.” Now, it won’t, in any stretch of the imagination, fit you when you get older, but I think you’ll enjoy having them just to bring back memories of the times when you wore them, and to remind you of why that was your favorite color.
5. When You Get Pregnant, You’re Not Really Eating for Two: Oh, you’ll want to believe that you are, and it will, in your mind, justify eating a whole pizza by yourself. Again, trust me. Put.Down.The.Fork.
6. Keep Working Toward Your Goals. It’s really easy to push your goals into the background when you get busy. Just stay focused and keep them in front of you. Don’t give up.
7. Pay Attention To Your Health. You’ll hear and read a lot about the benefits of exercising and eating right. Turns out all that stuff is true. Develop a habit of daily exercise. Make time for it.
8. Don’t Pick Up A Couch Just Because You Can. Well, since we’re talking about health, you really need to know this. I know…you’re 20 and you’re strong, but seriously…if you want to rearrange the furniture, get some help. You, and your back, will thank me for this, too.
9. It’s Okay to Say No. You’re a people-pleaser, but don’t feel guilty if you can’t do something, or don’t want to do something.
10. Don’t Turn Down Those Rolling Stones Concert Tickets. You’re not into the Stones much yet, but believe me, you will be. When you get offered the chance to go to see them, cancel whatever you have planned. Oh, they stick around for a long time, and you’ll be amazed at how well Mick Jagger ages, but hello…it’s The Stones!
A Quote on Looking Back: