I am sure you have by now read a few essays where people ask themselves "What would you tell your younger self?" While some of the answers are a bit too sentimental for me ("Love yourself more") some do make good sense. ( "don't send that 3 am text. Just don't."
So upon the eve of my ... birthday, (let's just say I'm not young) , I wonder what kind of advice would I give to my 25 year old self, that 25 year old young lady who was very messed up, screwed up, so insecure and thought she knew everything? Well, I would sit her down and give her a talking, that's for sure.
So here is what I would tell her and let me tell you, I wouldn't sugar coat a damn thing:
1. Stop wasting time on men. Truly. You spend way too much of your time thinking about cute guys especially those Italians. I get it. You have issues...but come on. You have been engaged twice by the time you were twenty-five, and you are way too dysfunctional for these good and kind-loving men. You need to fix you before there are two. (not sure if that's grammatically correct.)
Further, you will one day regret how poorly you treated them and how poorly you thought of yourself.
Instead of dating, you should be strategically planning for your future. I know...harsh.
2. Sweet. Shy. Polite? Speak up woman.
You used to think being shy and sweet were attributes but they can get you into a lot of trouble. Yes, it's good to polite, but if you are worried about stepping on someone else's toes while they stomp on yours, something is just not right.
You say yes way too many times, and say I'm sorry when you did nothing wrong. I know you have had a dysfunctional past, but you are now an adult. Stand up straight. State your peace. Roar and roar loudly if you must.
3. Get a skill that is marketable and can help you in the job market, do your passion on the side. (Before you say, Egads! Dream Killer! I thought you were into spirituality. Of course I am. But I am also realistic. Plus, this is only until your passions make enough money to support you.) You are about to spend lots and lots of money on a MFA which in all honestly is way too much money for its worth..Writing is a wonderful thing but day dreaming about being Hemingway and living in Paris were cool and everything, but the years go fast and it's best to get skills that the world needs, can use and pay for.Yicks! I sound like my dad.
Unless you are going to write a best selling book (which I AM going to do) pursue your passion on the side, after the kids are asleep, with the dog at your feet and burn that midnight oil (or at least till 10 pm-my bedtime) ...just until you make enough money to pay your mortgage, insurance, and have a big savings account and then you can do whatever the hell you want.
4. Learn to deal with stress. You are about to enter one of the most stressful periods of your life. You will be taking care of your sister who has a mental illness and her son (who will grow up to be 6 feet tall, and become an amazing young man) , so you had better learn how to deal with stress and also manage your life with great skill and finesse. Do not take on more than you can chew.. Keep the essentials, those and things that matter most, and get rid of the rest.
5. Never and I mean never allow someone to yell at you, demean you, or hurt you. Along with saying please and thank you in life, it's important to learn how to say Fuck you sometimes too (when it's appropriate). Enough said and you know exactly who I am talking about.
6. Be kind, but not a carpet. Same thing as number 5 so it's an important one.
7. Opportunities seem to be everywhere when you are twenty-five, but as you get older, they come by less and less, so while it's ok to be discerning, say yes more often. Believe in yourself (oh no..I'm getting soppy) You will be able to figure things out. Take the jobs that seem scary. When you see a door that is opened, fling it wide open. Don't think so little of yourself.
8. Learn about stocks, bonds, finances. One day, you will learn it all one day from the greatest learning place in the world. Where you say? Harvard Business School.? Some Wall Street guru? No, silly. A website called "Udemy."
Listen dear, learning when you are older is a lot harder. Why? Not because you lose brain cells (though my memory is not what it used to be), but because you would rather take naps than learn.
Take courses so you can learn how to manage your money. Money gives you freedom, choices and some security so you don't ever have to feel you have to be in a relationship just cause you suck at earning money. Listen more to your older sister. She knew that gold and Amazon would go up in value one day.
9. Enjoy your youth, (dance at those clubs, swim in the ocean -one day, it will be very polluted and have sharks), and take trips. But take care of yourself. Eat well, work out, have strong boundaries. One day, you will have a a chronic illness, and no matter how you look at it, it sucks.... but if you take better care of yourself, your path may turn out very different.
10. And the guy who you fell in love with at 18. Remember to thank him. He will have taught you the most important lesson in your life and that is how to love. I mean to really love, and how the most important thing in loving someone else is by being kind.
Now go on and live life One day, believe it or not, you will get married, have a decent job, have an amazing family and you will not be so dysfunctional as you are now. Oh, go and eat and enjoy that pizza and ice cream once in a while. One day, you will be on an eternal diet that is lactose, glucose, sugar, and pretty much everything-else free.