Before I get started, I’m 22 years old.
For the past 6 months I have been travelling around the world solo. There have been ups and downs, bumps in the road, many a good time, and a great deal of adventures. It hasn’t always been easy, but there are a few things it has always been.
It has always been fun. It has always been rewarding. It has always been a journey – and always will be about the journey.
I’ve learned a lot over the past half of a year.
All of these lessons and the growth I have experienced in the past 6 months have lead me to believe that I might have something of value to share with other 20 year olds and teenagers around the world.
So here we go, the 12 things I would tell my 22 year old self in the hopes of telling other young girls…
1. Do what you love and love what you do
Stop what you’re doing, close your eyes, and breathe. What does it feel like? Are you happy? Are you content? Or are there a million thoughts and tribulations running through your mind so fast that you can’t seem to get a hold of yourself, let alone your mind, for even just a minute. If you’re not happy with what you’re doing, make a change.
2. Those who matter don’t mind and those who mind don’t matter
People will criticize you. People will tear you down. People will laugh at you. People will undermine you. Prove them wrong. Then do it again and do an even better job at it next time, just for satisfaction.
3. Things are just that… things
Take a day to rid yourself of all the clutter and commotion you have collected over the years. Once and for all, get rid of all your extra baggage and unnecessary sh*t so you can cut ties with the past, and focus solely on the future. Stop buying so many things… they will not bring you happiness. Things will give you a temporary rush, but once that is over, you’re just left with tangible goods that are meaningless. Save that money to spend on experiences and lifelong memories.
4. Travel and see the world
Don’t think about it – just go. You can make it happen if you really want to. Stop excusing yourself. If you don’t have enough money, start saving. If you can’t save enough, get another job. If you don’t have anyone to go with, go by yourself. If you’re scared, find just one moment of insane courage.
5. You don’t need a safety net
Worried about keeping enough money in the bank for a rainy day? Worried that you won’t have enough money to ever buy a house so you better start saving now? Worried you might incur a sporadic expense that will leave you high and dry? STOP WORRYING. Things will work out, they always do. With good friends and family around you, someone will always be close by to help when times are tough.
6. Don’t look too far into the future
A house, a career, a significant other, a family…. WOAH THERE COWBOY. What about focusing on you. Let yourself grow and learn to stand on your own two feet. Learn not t rely on anyone else, but to trust your own capabilities. Learn to love and accept yourself first, before you go about looking for another human being who will do the same.
7. Your body is an empty shell without your soul
Forget what the scales tell you, forget what the mirror shows you, and forget what everyone else is doing by way of diet, exercise, and weird body contortions that leave you with one eyebrow raised. As Dr. Seuss would say,
“You are you, that is truer than true. There is no one alive that is youer than you!”
8. Speak your mind but mean what you say
It’s important to have your own opinion and speak your mind… but it is also just important to refrain yourself from saying something you will regret. Always consider others when you go to speak – not everyone is as easy going or can brush things off like the next person. You never want to tarnish friendships or insult others by saying something you didn’t entirely mean. Take some time to think about what you believe in, what you stand for, and what you will fight for.
9. Embrace your youth
We’re always looking to be one step ahead of ourselves. When we were 10 we wanted to be 13, when we were 13 we wanted to be 18, and when we were 18, we couldn’t wait to be 21. Well now you’re here, in the golden years of your life, your 20’s. Make every second of this decade count and live like it’s the best years of your life — it is.
10. Love is the most powerful thing you can give another
Seeking forgiveness? Wanting to strengthen a friendship or relationship? Just give love and give yourself selflessly. The most powerful thing you can give another is love – unconditional love.
11. Smile more, laugh more
Stop worrying and overthinking it – life wasn’t meant to be a puzzle solve. It’s a journey we embark on and see how much we can achieve, how many people we can inspire, how many people can inspire us…. just remember there’s always a way out of your troubles. Smile more, laugh more.
12. Take a day off whenever you feel like it
When it all gets a bit much, take a day off. Stay at home in your pjs, watch a chick flick, turn off your brain and just have a day off. Sometimes you will need it at the worst time imaginable – who cares. Do it anyway.