Today marks my 31st birthday and to put my past years in perspective I thought it would be fun to write a list of things I would tell my younger self. Now that I am in my 30’s (scary!) I don’t think I necessarily “know it all”, but I have definitely learned some life lessons along the way that I wish I was mature enough to realize when I was younger. So, here we go:
1. Learn to forgive and set yourself free.
I attended a church service in 2007 and the sermon solely focused on forgiveness. The message of the sermon was that by not forgiving others, you keep yourself trapped in a prison of your own anger. The person you are angry with is not affected by your anger, only you are feeling the burden of carrying around so much anger towards another. This breeds negative energy around you and does not allow you to live the full life you are destined for, it also doesn’t allow you to attract the right people towards you whether it be friends or romantic relationships. This sermon struck such a chord with me and enabled me to take the steps to give forgiveness to my father, who I had held so much anger against for many, many years. Once I was able to forgive my father, my whole life changed and I was able to start living the life I was born to live. Forgiveness is the most difficult but truly rewarding act you can take.
2. Treat your body as a temple.
Okay – not in the Biblical sense, but in a literal sense: garbage in, garbage out (GIGO). I truly believe I look younger and am more fit now than I was in my 20’s because I treat my body as a temple. This means: no smoking (gross), eating as clean as possible and working out, and not as much trying to poison myself with alcohol (ha). I believe we can all stay young and live much longer if we treat our bodies with care and stop trashing them with fast food, laziness and junk. Whatever your age, start treating your body with kindness today, I promise it will change your life for years to come.
3. Stop Being So Judgmental.
I think this is a lesson for every age and something I pride myself in not being, but I think on some level we all struggle with being judgmental towards others (even if it is never spoken). Whether it is out of our own insecurities, jealousy or just a plain reaction we have been conditioned to make. I think the world would be a much kinder place if we all were more accepting and open towards others. When we judge someone else it just shows our own weaknesses and frankly, makes us look unattractive. I don’t know about you, but I want to look as attractive as possible so I try my best to not judge others, keep an open mind and my thoughts to myself.
4. Family is the.most.important thing.
Whether your “family” is your actual family or your close group of friends, please cherish your time together. When you are young you focus on flighty people who will not be in your life in years to come. Stop and take time to build the bonds with those who will be there forever, no matter what, ride or die. As you watch your parents and grandparents age, and you experience grief and loss, you realize how short our time here on earth is and how special these relationships are. When you are down and out, these people will be there for you fiercely. Do not neglect these relationships. You don’t want to look back and wish you had appreciated someone more when they were around, choose to do it today!
5. Money can buy you peace of mind.
Hear me out here: I am not saying being a slave to a paycheck or making a million dollars will bring you happiness, but I do believe that by making and saving your own money, where you learn the value of a dollar and how to be responsible with money, you can give yourself piece of mind. I have had a job since I was 15 and when I turned 18 and left for college I was basically on my own to figure out how to pay my bills, buy groceries and learn about credit cards all while trying to juggle a social life. To say I made some financial mistakes in my past would be putting it mildly, but I wish I knew then what I know now which is that if you are smart with your money, you can buy yourself peace of mind by your late 20’s. To do this: save as much money as possible, do not rely on credit for items/trips/meals and stop comparing your life to other’s. When I was in college it felt like everyone around me had so much while I was living off $5 Lipton Noodle packs, but I always felt secure knowing that I could make it on my own and I didn’t need to rely on anyone. There is freedom in this feeling and at 31 I can proudly say I have financial peace of mind.
Wow, looking back on my past 31 years I feel like I have learned so much. I can only imagine what you know when you’re 40?! You must have the whole world figured out, ha. For now, these are the 5 biggest lessons I have learned that I wish I knew when I was younger, but I am still pretty happy to have them figured out at 31. Share your life lessons in the comments below and have a wonderful day!