For the most part, I have no regrets. Now that I am in my thirties, I can look back with pride to see how much I’ve grown and developed in a decade. But, if I were to have a frank tête-à-tête with my 20 year old self, here’s what I’d tell her:
1. Embrace the phase of life you are in, you only get this point in time once. If you’re single, take this time to soul search and create your identity, independent of another. Trust that love will come.
2. Compete with your intelligence and kindness, not with your looks. If you spend a lifetime receiving validation on the superficial, once gravity kicks in and your looks fade, you will need to find a more sustainable way of feeling empowered. Start working on the qualities that last. Work on being interesting, being intelligent, being funny… these things don’t have a shelf life.
3. Each breakup brings you closer to the person who is right for you. Remember that sometimes you need to cross many bridges to get to your destination.
4. Be careful whom you get your advice from. Not everyone has the credibility or experience to give you feedback that will help you.
5. There is clothing appropriate for the beach, the club and the office. Know the difference between all three settings.
6. Remember that your parents tried the best they knew how. Forgive them.
7. Quick friendships fall apart easily. Take time before giving someone BFF status. You don’t know someone until you’ve experienced enough of life’s ups and downs with them.
8. Buying shoes too small with the hope that they will stretch out is a bad idea.
9. If he doesn’t make an effort to see you, he doesn’t like you enough. Move on.
10. Nothing good will ever come from a drunk call/text/email. Especially when the person on the receiving end is sober.
11. Have enough money saved, your resume always updated and diversify your skill set so that if you lose your job tomorrow, you won’t get knocked off your feet.
12. Say yes more.
13. You know in your gut when something doesn’t align. You can feel it in your body. Don’t ignore that intuition.
14. Send more flowers. Write more cards. Celebrate people’s special moments.
15. No matter how much it hurts, how unfair it feels or how hard you are struck down, always handle yourself with grace and dignity. That’s the only thing nobody can ever take away from you.
16. Invest in experiences, not things. Spend more time outside. Spend less time shopping.
17. Regardless of what Usher thinks, you will never find love in the club.
18. Give the beta male a chance. Don’t dismiss someone because you didn’t feel instant attraction. Sometimes, the best relationships grow through time.
19. If you have to think twice, don’t post that photo.
20. You will get back up. Your heart will mend. You will forget. And one day in the future, it will all come together and make sense.