9 Things I Would Tell My 20-Year-Old Self

The best thing in life is finding someone who knows your flaws and still thinks you’re completely amazing.

As human beings, we often find ourselves on a learning curve, evolving, trying to become the best version of ourselves. Depending on your vision of life, this can be the best or the worst thing that could happen to you. I like to think of myself as adaptable and willing to change and learn, but that comes with its own set of challenges. With time, I tried to tweak my character in many different directions to see what works and what doesn’t. I tried pushing boundaries to see where is my comfort zone. I am obviously still a work in progress, but I would like to share with you a few things I would have loved someone to tell my 20-Year-Old self.

1- Life is a marathon, not a sprint.

I always had a long-term vision of my life. It might not have been a clear idea, but I knew where I wanted to be. However, I happen to be a very impatient person. I always want everything within a snap of a finger. It’s hard for me to stay consistent on my goals, and it’s only in recent years that I understood the value of playing the long game. Be patient and learn through the process because only then, the fruits of your hard labor will be appreciated.

2- Listen less, Talk more.

I know this is not your typical advice, but it’s the one I should’ve heard. I was a quiet kid, a quiet teenager, and now a quiet adult. I was never really encouraged or pushed to speak my thoughts, which makes it 10 times harder as an adult to express myself, my needs, or my desires.

3- Spend your money on experiences, not things.

The 600$ shoes you got at 20 are somewhere hiding in a box and are lucky to be worn once a year, but you know what I think about a few times a year and make me laugh. It’s the stupid conversations we had with friends at 4 am in the morning on a hotel room floor in a different city. It’s the long early drive to see the sunrise from a hot air balloon. It’s the birthday celebrations. It’s the random stops on a road trip. I wish I had more of those. But you know what happens in your late twenties, early thirties? Responsibilities. And then who cares about those stupid shoes?

4- You don’t have to figure everything out.

The truth is you don’t know what you don’t know. If you ask my friends, they will tell you I have an answer to every problem. I’ve had a hectic life that pushed me to be fiercely independent and rely on myself only. It created extra pressure to always be on top of everything when it’s okay to say that you don’t know. I remember pulling all-nighters to find solutions to my problem and testing them out without anyone knowing what was happening. Just so that everyone could be impressed with the end results without knowing what I just went through to get here.

5- Make health a priority.

No one is invincible. Partying until 3 am to start work at 7 am is not sustainable long-term. Eating crap for weeks won’t fly later on. You need to teach yourself good habits that will allow you to be better prepared for the future. As someone who started working out late in life and never cared about it, can I tell you how hard it is today to stick to a schedule or to even enjoy it?

6- Don’t rush love, but be open.

There should be absolutely no need to be in a rush to find love. I look back today at myself and my friends; I can honestly say that we could’ve all waited a bit longer before getting into relationships. We took things so seriously, and we believed these guys were the end goal when they were not even worth our gaze. I’m not saying don’t date, but at 20 years old, you should have more fun with it. Or at least learn to know yourself well enough so that the right guy presents himself; you can be ready for him.

7- Things will always get better.

This is the religious side of me that is speaking. It has been proven to me many times in the past, that no matter what the situation is, it will always end somehow to my advantage. You might not see it while it’s happening, but two or three years later, you might understand why this had to happen. Stress less and go with the flow, because in the end, whatever has been written for you will happen.

8- Practice Self-Care and Self-Love.

It’s vital to know yourself and know how to take care of yourself. If I could tell 1 thing to my 20-year-old self, it would be just that. I wrote previously a list of things that were crucial to my mental health that I would’ve loved to know at 20.

9- Follow your gut feeling.

Consciously you might not want to admit certain things to yourself and you might not want to do the right things but believe me that you will never lose by following your instincts. Your body knows what’s good for you physically and mentally and as much as you listen to others for advice, check with yourself first. In reality, you don’t have to listen to anyone, you have the final say on the changes you want to put in place but if instinctively it doesn’t feel right, throw it into the garbage.

The older I get and the more I learn about myself and it’s one of the amazing parts of living. My 20-year-old self would’ve probably thought she was too cool for this article and that she knows better but I hope that other 20-year-olds can read this and learn something new!

Until next time,

Sofyah,

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