16 Things I’d Like to tell my Younger Self
It may have been 1995, but I remember it like it was yesterday.
NMU Chics 1995
I was visiting my college town, Marquette, Michigan, a year after I had graduated from NMU. I still had friends there, I had a place to stay, and it still felt like my home away from home. We were listening to a cassette “mixed-tape” of our “pre-party” music as we got dressed. “What’s going on?” by 4 Non-Blondes was playing loudly on the boom-box.
“Twenty-five years and my life is still
Trying to get up that great big hill of hope
For a destination”
– What’s Going On? 4 Non Blondes
I loved the lyrics and how it was sort of a “screaming” type song. Partly, because I was in my early 20’s and at a point in life where I was trying to figure things out and find my path. I had no idea what my future held and it sometimes felt like a hill I was climbing. I wanted to scream sometimes. But, I had hope… and an innocence.
We were the “NMU Chics” and we were singing at the top of our lungs, sharing outfits, applying make-up, taking pictures and about ready to hit the bar. A bar where we knew the band playing and would be allowed up on stage to dance. “Speaker dance” we called it and we kind of became the entertainment.
It’s sort of funny to think about the style – our hair and what we would have been wearing and even talking about. What boys were in the picture at that time. We had no idea what was coming our way — the good and the bad. We didn’t have iPhones, SnapChat or any social media. Life was different and I think we’d all agree, we were at the prime of our lives.
My kids could probably never imagine that version of me, even though I still remember that girl very much.
It definitely wasn’t yesterday though. It was 23 years ago — before marriages, kids, losses, gains, financial ups or downs, successes, failures, marital problems, empty nests, aging parents, etc. So much life has been lived since, so many lessons learned.
To this date, when I hear that song, I can be overcome with nostalgia. I can see our younger versions and get an aching feeling to barge in and tell them a few things.
NMU Chics 2017
I recently pooled those friends for advice to our younger selves. Here’s the response.
The 16 Things I’d like to tell my Younger Self:
1. Slow down and enjoy this. Don’t rush. Don’t rush to graduate. Don’t rush to get married or have kids.
2. When you do get married, take time to be with your husband for awhile before having kids.
3. Travel more and buy less stuff.
4. Don’t worry about being the “cool” girl because it’s bull shit.
5. Don’t live your life for the approval of a man, the right one will love the real you and the wrong ones will take advantage just for their own needs.
6. Some men are “children.” If you do everything/ anything for them, they will expect that for the rest of their lives.
7. One day you will kill for that body you have today.
8. Your own money is power, don’t let anyone take that away.
9. Hang out with your parents and siblings a lot. Call your grandparents at least 1-2x per week.
10. You are strong. You have been through a lot and you can overcome anything.
11. It’s okay to just be okay — you don’t have to be perfect. Being perfect is a myth.
12. Don’t take things too seriously.
13. It’s okay to be vulnerable. Don’t pretend or hide your feelings.
14. Life goes fast. Make the most of each day and don’t sweat the small stuff.
15. Some people will let you down. Some come into your life as blessings and others as lessons. Embrace the blessings and let go of the lessons.
16. Be grateful for the small things.
Fast forward to 2018. I’m preparing to drop my own daughter off for her sophomore year in college. Will she listen if I try to explain my wisdom? Probably not. We all have to go through certain stages of finding ourselves and college is that time, I do know that. But I will try and maybe, just maybe, she will have heard something.
What would you tell your younger version? What do you wish you knew then that you know now?
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