When I look back over the last 20 years I am sometimes amazed at all the things that have changed in my life. The things I’ve been through. The joys I’ve experienced. The heartache that has molded me. I’ve learned so many valuable lessons I wish the 23 year old me had known back then. Maybe things would have been easier, but maybe not. That is what life is all about I guess, living through those experiences and learning from them. It’s not about the destination. It’s about the journey, right?
If I could go back, here are 10 lessons I would share with myself.
1. Know who your people are
People will come in and out of your life. They will all have a purpose. Some will be there to help you. Some will be there because they will need your help. You will meet a lot of people in 20 years. Some will be friends and some acquaintances.
Know the difference.
Your friends will always be there. No matter what, when or where. No matter the distance in time or miles. That’s how you’ll know they’re your true friends.
Know who your people are.
2. Be a good financial steward
Start saving money now. Be disciplined to save and invest for your future. Once the children come you’ll be broke as a joke so double up now!
Keep track of your income and expenses. Don’t allow yourself unnecessary debt. Allows pay off high-interest debt first. Participate in your 401K to the match limit. Hey, it’s free money. Protect your stewardship for your family. You may not always be there and you want to be sure they are taken care of. Be sure to protect them.
Know that money is a means. It is there to help you achieve your goals, your vision. So know what those dreams are and be fiscally responsible.
Be a good financial steward.
3. Heartbreak will happen
Your heart will be broken. People that you trust, love and admire will break your heart. Things will happen that will hurt you so deep that you will feel like you’ll never get through it. But you will.
Mom will give you some of the best advice you’ll ever hear, “take it hour by hour cause that’s all you can do right now.” This is advice that will carry you through other difficult times in your life. Those hours will turn into days and the days will turn into weeks. The weeks will turn into months and then before you know it, years will have passed.
These will be heartbreaks that you will hold onto for a long time. It will shape the person that you will become but let it change you for the better. Don’t allow it to harden your heart. Forgive, because holding on to heartache only hurts you.
Trust. Love. Feel again.
Heartbreak will happen. Your true character will determine how you deal with it.
4. Make peace with your body
Take care of yourself. Make your health a priority. Eat good, nutritious food. Get outside. The fresh air will do wonders for your health and your soul.
Make exercise a habit. The older you get the harder it will be to get off. Trust me on this one. Find something that you like to do and stick with it. Just get moving and don’t stop.
Get some sleep! Sleep is so important to your overall health. You’ve got to get some sleep because trust me your exhausted now! Beyond exhausted.
Most importantly, make peace with your body. Accept who you are and what you look like at that very moment. Don’t waste your time worrying about the weight you need to lose or the wrinkles on your face. Each one tells a story.
Just make peace with your body. Confidence looks so good on you.
5. Have faith
Faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see. Hebrews 11:1
Oh have faith baby girl becuase there will be so many times that faith will be all you have to keep going. Dark days will come but hold tight to the Lord and have faith that he will see you through.
Have a relationship with the Lord. Pray. Read your bible. Find a good church home. Surrounded yourself with Godly people that will help support and encourage you. You will go through things that only the Lord can get you through. When life is scary, God is good.
6. Do something you love
Find your passion. Find that thing that lights a fire under you. That thing that excites you when you wake up in the morning. If you don’t know what that is, keep looking. Keep searching. Research your ideas. Pray about it. Don’t stop until you discover what you’re meant to do.
Life is too short to answer to someone else for the rest of your life. This is the age of the entrepreneur. People are creating jobs for themselves every single day. They are turning hobbies into money. People are making millions off recording their kids opening toys and other people are watching it! It’s crazy times I tell you.
Doing what you love everyday will do wonders for your metal health. It won’t seem like work. It will be your calling, your passion. Don’t be swayed by others opinions or advice. Only you know your vision. Only you know your joy. Don’t let others dictate your future.
Do something you love.
7. Stop trying to control everything
Your life will derail from your planned timeline. It just will. There are too many things in this life that are out of your control, so stop trying to control everything. It’s exhausting. And remember I already told you how exhausted you are.
Know that God has a plan for you. You may not always see it or understand it but trust in Him and He will guide you. He is going to take you on an amazing adventure that will change you forever.
It’s okay. Everything will work out. It will. Have faith and let go.
You have to stop trying to control everything.
8. Open your heart
You will love again. Be open to accepting it. You will meet someone that will be nothing you thought you wanted but everything you never knew you needed. You will have to kiss some frogs before you find your prince and he’ll be disguised as a frog at first. Keep the faith. He will slowly turn into your Prince. Once you get through that rugged exterior there is a kind and gentle soul in there that will live his life to make yours better.
Don’t make him pay the price for the heartbreak you’ve had. Don’t make him carry that burden. He will help you heal. Allow him to do so. Be honest with him. Trust him. Love him. Hold him close. He is the one you’ve been waiting for.
Open your heart again.
9. Be who you are
Let me stop you from wasting years of your life and so much energy. Stop trying to be what you think other people want you to be. Don’t be the person that you think you have to be. Be the person you want to be.
Now this won’t be easy because honestly you have no idea who you are. But you will. You’re a people pleaser and that can get you in trouble. It can rob you of your own pleasures in life. It forces you to wear a mask. Many actually. Take the mask off and be you.
Go after your dreams. Don’t be held back by someone else’s lack of drive. Only you know where you are headed so go with vengeance. Don’t allow anyone to deflect you from being the person you know you can be. Don’t give anyone that much power over you.
Just do you girl. Be who you are.
10. Give yourself grace
One day your life will change forever. You’ll become a mother. You will have two beautiful, loving, wild, crazy girls. They will change you. Forever.
You will be totally clueless, but you’ll slowly figure it out. Just keep them feed and watered for starters. Love them then love them some more. When you’re feeling overwhelmed, give yourself grace.
Let yourself mess up. Learn from it. Show yourself grace. You will get frustrated, angry, hurt, scared. You will say things you will regret. You will be quick tempered. You will spank out of anger instead of disciple. Give yourself grace.
You will yell and scream when you have just realized they have taken black crayon to your new occasional chair. You will see red and lose your mind. Then you will beat yourself up for it. Give yourself grace.
There is no manual to raising children and you’re old and tired now. Just remember that all they need is you. You are all they want. Your time. Your love. Your smile. Your hugs and kisses.
So, give yourself some grace.
Get ready for one hell of a ride
Take these lessons and make things different for yourself. Be open and free to live the life you have chosen for yourself.
Feel more. Do more. Save more. Travel more. Dance more. Pray more. Sleep more. Forgive more. Kiss more. Appreciate more.
Love more. Love lots more.