What started as a casual conversation commemorating the 20-year anniversary of Hansen’s “MMMBop” quickly turned into the realization that a girlfriend of mine and I are getting old, and it’s weird. We took a trip down nostalgia lane talking about everything from Boyz II Men and the return of lava lamps to the emergence of the world’s creepiest toy, Furby. It was the most wonderfully embarrassing yet accurate description of such a huge chunk of my youth. We laughed and talked about how much things have changed and how much we’d love to go back and do it all again, only with the knowledge and the slightest hint of wisdom we have gained over those years.
“How great would that be?” I thought. I might have been a genius if I had my current brain in my middle school body. Would I have chosen a different path? Probably not. I always had an idea of what I wanted to do and who I wanted to be. Would I have done it differently? Absolutely. For some reason, I have this bad habit of making things much more difficult for myself than they need to be. Not to say the experiences are wasted; quite the contrary in fact. Living is learning. More so, the path of least resistance doesn’t always have to be the path less traveled. There are multiple ways to get to the same destination; how you get there is your choice.
Ok, time to get back to work. The ridiculous conversation subsided but of course, it stuck around in my brain. In addition to having an intense craving for fruit by the foot, I kept wondering what I would have told my younger self after all these years.
Let’s cut to the chase. Life is good, and it will continue to be good. You’re going to work hard, and you’re also going to hit bumps in the road that make you feel like it’s the end of the road. It’s not. Keep your head up. Keep traveling. This is a big world, and there is so much life to live. You’ll be amazed at how things turn out. On your journey, don’t forget to:
1. Be kind to yourself. It’s okay to make mistakes, and you’ll make a lot. You’ll beat yourself up over them, but they’re probably not as bad as you think at that moment. More importantly, you will grow from those mistakes. Deep breaths. In the grander scheme of things, the only person that will probably remember them is you. It’s all good. Plus, how you treat yourself usually indicates how you will treat others.
2. Surround yourself with positive people. They say you are who you spend time with. So why not spend time with people who uplift you and make you better? We often feel obligated to stick in relationships that are actually toxic to us. Why? Life is too short. It’s not mean to let those go; it’s self-care. Just as negativity loves company, so does positivity. It’s out there, go find it.
3. Live your life. Your life is yours and no one else’s. Have the courage to make choices you are proud of, that you own. Don’t be afraid to take chances and try new things. Follow your dreams. Love and allow yourself to be loved too. Have a plan but go with the flow. Grow and change. Someone told me that we’re all here to make a dent in the world. Go make yours.
4. Enjoy the chapter you’re in; life isn’t a race. One of my favorite quotes sums it up perfectly. “Things never were ‘the way they used to be.’ Things will never be ‘the way it’s going to be someday.’ Things are always just the way they are for the time being- and time is always in motion.” Look around. You may well be seeing something you’ll never see again. Soak it up.
In ten years I will probably revisit this blog and laugh. The destination is the journey, and the path is ours to take. I don’t know a lot; but if there’s one thing I know for sure it’s that I am always amazed at how things turn out.
Given the chance, what would you tell your younger self?