Hindsight is 20/20, isn’t it? I think we can all agree that if we could go back in time and talk to our younger, less-experienced selves, there are a few things we would do differently. That’s life, though. It’s a learning process. If I did possess the non-existent power to go back 12 years to when I was just starting off in this world and educate my 18-year-old self, here are 10 things I would tell my younger self.
1. Remove yourself from the tanning bed IMMEDIATELY. Your parents have told you to stop tanning. You won’t listen, because everyone else is doing it. Everyone else is tan. “Tan” is beautiful, you’re told. No. What’s beautiful is your young undamaged skin in all of its pasty glory. What isn’t beautiful is wrinkles, sun spots and the fear of skin cancer.
2. At some point you’re going to wise up. You’re going to figure out that tanning beds are not your friend. But then you’re going to start spray tanning like it’s your freaking job. Once again, STOP IT. Orange, oompa-loompa styled skin is also not beautiful. Just get down with your pasty self, girl. Pale is beautiful.
3. Right now you’re considering majoring in photography. You should TOTALLY do it. Don’t let the fear of the drawing prerequisite classes deter you. I know drawing isn’t your forte, but you can battle through. Photography is your calling. So start now instead of later. The drawing classes will be easier to get through than figuring it all out when you have a full-time job.
4. There is more to college than vodka and kegs. Yes, vodka and kegs are fun, but don’t let them rule your college experience. You attend a university that provides endless opportunities to get involved. Take advantage of it and put yourself out there! I know it’s intimidating, but you have it in you. You’ll see.
5. Be who you are. You are a creative person. Creativity sets your soul on fire. Own that. Don’t try to be like everyone else. Share your unique gifts with the world. They will thank you for it.
6. Be nice. The world can be a catty place, especially for women. Don’t fall into the trap of putting others down in order to boost your own self confidence. Instead, show love to everyone. You don’t know anyone else’s story, and you have no idea what they’re going through. Your job is not to judge other people. Your job is to love other people. So love and love hard.
7. Right now you think that your wedding day will fall shortly after your college graduation day. You are wrong, my friend. Your wedding day will not happen until you’re 27. I know you think that’s old-maid status, but it’s not. Your future husband doesn’t even go to IU, and you won’t meet him until after college. He’s super handsome, thinks you’re beautiful and loves all of your crazy little quirks. He’s totally worth waiting for, girl.
8. You’ve probably figured out by now that you’re also not going to have your first child by your planned age of 25. When you’re 29, you’re going to welcome the most precious human being into the world. His name will be Beckett, and he will give life a whole new meaning. He will change you and he will change your heart. His smile will make your heart skip a beat, and when he wraps his arms around you and hugs you all of your worries will disappear. He will be the best thing that you and your husband ever do.
9. You think that immediately following college you’re going to pack your bags and move right back to Evansville. Wrong again, girlfriend. You’ll find this unbelievable, but you’re going to live in Indianapolis, Boston and Chicago. Moving to Boston will be one of the best, albeit riskiest, decisions you’ll ever make. You’re going to learn so much about life through your experiences there.
10. Lastly, get outside of your comfort zone. Be open to new people and new experiences. These are the things that shape and mold you into the person you will become. Approach life with a positive attitude and an unshakable confidence that there are good things in store for you. Your life isn’t going to unfold how you think it will, but it’s way better than you can imagine. Keep an open mind and a loving heart, and life will take you to some pretty incredible places.