Sunday, 16 September 2007

To me, at 20

Someone raised the question: "What do you wish you had known when you were 20ish?"

I've thought about this before... probably while resisting the urge to offer unsolicited advice to my younger brothers. They don't really need any, these days.

[I would like to note here that some of my brothers did not need any advice to suggest taking more risks. You can tell how much I mean that by my grave overuse of italics. So.]

But here's my list... at least some of it.

What I would tell my 20-year-old self:

Don't take yourself so seriously... live a little, it won't kill you.

Life is long... don't be in such a rush to settle down.

Don't judge. Life's not black and white, and you're not as good as you think you are.

Take some chances... it's the only way to have an interesting life.

Travel more. Travel sooner. Travel further.

Don't choose the safe and sensible path for Every.Single.Little.Thing.

Look in the mirror. You are much prettier than you think you are.

Smile. Your mum is right: it's the most attractive thing you can wear.

Your mum is right more often than you think.

Quit caring what people think of you. Be you. It's really, truly okay.

Straighten your hair.

Be more open. Don't be so suspicious of people. They're mostly nice.

Buy some new clothes. It's ok to have nice things.

Ditch that guy. He'll never improve and you'll waste years figuring that out.

No one built that box you're living in, you built it yourself. You can take it apart yourself too. Get on out of there.

You're not going to get fired. Everyone doesn't think you're a fraud.

Boys don't matter that much. Go where you're going and if they like you, they'll follow.

Watch your expressions. Everyone can tell what you're thinking, especially when you're thinking something mean.

Listen to your heart when it comes to your career. If you don't wake up happy to start on whatever it is you do every day, it ain't worth it.

Just because you're good at something doesn't mean you have to do it.

Spend more time with your grandparents. Seriously.

If you think you've taken a wrong turn, don't despair. When you look back at the mistakes you'll say they were meant to be.

It's not the destination, baby. It's the journey. Pay attention and take it all in.



  1. Wonderful!! I am in the process right now if sending my 21 yo step-daughter into the world (she is mildly mentally challenged and needs encouragement and good advice right now) I will have her read this--in fact, if you don't mind--I'd like to print it out and send it with her for future reminders!
    Smiles, Karen

  2. This is perfect for 20s, now you have one for 30s?

  3. Nice list. I enjoyed it at the age of 46. I would tell myself a lot of the same things.

  4. MrsK, that's really sweet – I'd be delighted.

    Thanks fernfiddle :)

    Jen – I wish! Someone needs to write a 30s one for ME: I'm barely into them yet...

  5. I loved that thread! : ) At 25, I am *trying* to do a lot of those things, but, well, if wishes were fishes, eh?

  6. I've never seen this blog before, but glad I did today. I can't believe how that list said exactly what I would have, or should have, said, if I could get out of my own way enough to say it. Sad that I still can't quite relax enough, at 33, to believe in my own wisdom. But at least I know wisdom when I see it, now! Thank you.

  7. Fantastic advice, and much of it still rings true for me at 36! Thanks for this.

  8. Thank you for writing this. I'm 23 and starting to figure out some of your realizations on my own, but it's so helpful to hear them from someone else, too.