In three weeks, my 27th year of life will draw to a close. I’m generally not someone who hems and haws over aging or the passing of another year too heavily but be that as it may, I have found myself thinking about the past year a lot. It was a beautiful trip around the sun.
Here are ten things I would tell myself a year ago if I had the chance:
- Go ahead and laugh out loud (like, with tremendous volume) at what you believed a linear career path for you might look like. I’ve heard some people have one of those, but my experience in the “professional world” has looked and felt a lot more like a psychedelic board game that combines Frogger running across traffic, Mario jumping through tunnels, and being sent back to start by the giant Trouble clicking dome. Get used to this and welcome it.
- Stop buying clothes for the body you may someday have, whether that be smaller or larger than the one you exist in today. Yes, even if it’s an unbeatable sale and you love the item. You’re fine right where you are with what you have.
- Nearly everything gets better when you say it out loud. Your mind is a dangerous neighborhood to walk through alone and you are SO lucky that you have people around that care to listen. Be brave, speak up.
- Some of the people who think the most highly of you (and vice versa) have four legs or are two feet tall and don’t know how to pour their own milk yet. You should be proud of that.
- PMS anxiety and depression are real and they will kick your ass, but they will also always pass. Read that again.
- People are not mind readers. Clear is kind. (And for good measure, may as well say “I’m sorry for not communicating that well” while we’re at it).
- Boredom can feel uncomfortable, but it is NOT an emergency; it is an invitation. Let your mind wander as far and wide as it needs to go and follow it with a curious and nonjudgmental lens. You’ll be surprised and entertained by the dreams and worlds that live there.
- Your breath has always been and will always be your safest and surest road back home to yourself. Ancient wisdom, contemporary woo-woo’s, and now modern science are beginning to agree on this. Just keep breathing and keep listening.
- You have always known this, but it’s worth repeating for the year ahead: the sound and smell of the waves is curative, grounding, home. It’s an essential oil. It’s the best fix for when you desperately need to feel simultaneously small and empowered, surrendered and guided, relaxed and inspired, heard and taught. PS: As a deeply feeling and deeply thinking, perpetually moving human, it’s okay to need this often.
- You have already spent enough time on this earth looking out there for facts and ways to calculate, accelerate, idealize your growth, nutrition, fitness, body size, education, morning routine, relationship patterns, and anything else you can think of. It’s great to learn from others, but the reason you haven’t found the Magic Elixir of Bliss in order to do and be everything perfectly forever is NOT a lack of diligence or analytical research skills. You won’t find the answers you need out there simply because they aren’t out there at all. The teachers and helpers are out there, but so is a lot of extra noise. The truth you always needed was in here all along.