10 Things I Would Say to My 20-Year Old Self

When I was 20-years old, I was finishing up my Sophomore year of college. I had strong opinions, a will of steel, and nobody could tell me anything about the world. Sometimes, I wonder if I would even listen to my own advice if I had the chance to go back in time and talk to my 20-year old self. I guess I will never know, but if I DID have the opportunity, here are the ten things I would say.1. You CAN have it all. You just can’t have it all at the same time. You want to have a big career. You want to travel the world. You want to have a social life. You want to sleep eight hours every night. You want to volunteer your time. You want to hit the gym every morning. Go ahead and think big and dream big! Just remember that all of your wishes and dreams cannot and will not come true simultaneously. Decide what you want most now, and work on prioritizing those items.

2. Go ahead and wear that bikini. There is nothing wrong with your body. The problem is with your warped perception. You are fit and healthy, and nobody else sees all of the flaws that you think you have. When you look back in 20 years, you will not criticize the young woman in the photo. Instead, you will be in awe at how young you looked, and how happy and carefree you seemed.

3. Life is not fair. Bad things will happen. You will experience your share of difficult times, but you are strong and resilient and can handle anything that comes your way. No matter what, you will be just fine.

4. Stop baking in the sun. Your tan is not what makes you beautiful. It won’t actually make you look leaner. You have no flaws that need to be hidden. I assure you that there are healthier and more productive ways to spend your time than lying in the sun for hours.

5. Keep working hard. You may not fully see the purpose now, but it is shaping your character, making you stronger, and honing all sorts of skills that will come in handy later in life. There is no time like your 20s to work like a dog, start saving for the future, and absorb knowledge like a sponge.

6. Stop weighing yourself. You do not need the scale to confirm what you already know. You know when you are eating well. You know when you are not eating well. You know when your clothes feel comfortable, and you know when they feel too tight. Small day-to-day fluctuations in your weight should not determine your mood for the day. Your self worth is not measured in pounds. Stay off the scale.

7. Get your sugar addiction under control. I know you think you are healthy because you eat so many vegetables and exercise like a beast, but you have no idea how destructive your sugar addiction is. Stay away from the muffins, pastries, cookies and white flour treats. Perhaps you will be able to avoid all sorts of illnesses and ailments in the coming years. If you want sugar, have some fruit.

8. Don’t be afraid to fail. It’s tempting to avoid challenges because there is no guarantee of success. I know that failure is embarrassing. Embrace the opportunity anyway. If you succeed, there will be no better feeling than knowing you overcame difficult circumstances to reach that success. If you fail, you will learn and grow.

9. Listen to your body. Some days, you will feel the intense need to go outside and run. Go run. Other days, you will feel a strange sense of exhaustion and not want to exercise at all. Don’t exercise. Your body is an efficient machine. It knows what it needs to stay healthy, and it will speak to you, if you are willing to listen. You will want to override that internal voice, but it will truly serve you well if you just tune in, listen, and obey.

10. Be generous with your compliments. Your words have the power to uplift and to heal. Be genuine, and don’t hold back. It costs you nothing and bestows the gift of happiness and confidence upon someone who might need it.