Aging wisdom about life

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In honor of my goddaughter turning 21, I’m feeling a little nostalgic about my 21st. I also started thinking of things I would have told my 21-year-old self if I had the chance to go back in time and impart some words of wisdom. So here they are 21 things I would have told my 21-year-old self.

Wisdom for you

1. Don’t marry him.

Now I’m not saying I would say this to my goddaughter because she actually has a really good man in her life. I, on the other hand, was not so lucky. I should have seen the warning signs (see my post on relationship warning signs) well before I married my 1st husband, but I ignored them and married him anyway. My marriage ended very badly and abusively and I would tell myself that those things he was doing way back then WERE abusive and that they did lead to worse things. You can read my story of how I got out of an abusive relationship here.

2. Be single for longer than a month.

I don’t know why but I was never good at “being alone”. One thing I wish I would have done was to take a year off and just be single. Date me for a year and really get to know and appreciate me as a woman.

3. Quit Smoking.

Yep, I was smoking at 21. NASTY fricken habit!! Excuse my french, but it is. I actually started smoking when I was 13 and I really regretted it. But I would definitely tell myself to quit smoking at 21, even though I did end up quitting when I was 25. It’s amazing how much better you can actually breathe when you don’t have lungs full of nicotine and smoke all the time. Bleck!

What helped me was hypnosis and reading a book called The Easy Way to Quit Smoking by Allen Carr.

4. Make healthy eating a lifestyle.

I’ve struggled with food and weight all my life. Honestly, I still do and I’m still working on it. But I believe if I had instilled those healthier habits earlier in life it would’ve been just a little bit easier. You know instead of trying fad diet after fad diet.

Last year I started incorporating a more ketogenic way of eating in my life and I’ve seen a tremendous improvement. I did what’s called the 131 Method and it seriously opened up my eyes and mind to how food can truly harm you or heal you. If you want to learn how to feel the best you’ve ever felt in your life, not just by losing weight, you should try the 131 Method. It’s not only helped me with eating but also has helped me with my depression, anxiety, allergies, and migraines.

5. When you get pregnant – EAT RIGHT!!

I seriously just went all out with my first pregnancy. I ate like I was eating for 4, wasn’t active at all and my body really paid the price. I gained so much weight so fast I got really horribly bad stretch marks and my body never really did recover. I know now that if I would have just stayed active during my pregnancy and ate right (with the occasional treat here and there obviously) I would have probably had an easier pregnancy and delivery overall. I also would have been able to bounce back easier afterward.

6. Seek Therapy.

I suffered depression my whole life, not knowing that’s what was wrong with me. I knew something was off, but as a child, it was the stigma to talk about your feelings. Hell, it was even shameful to cry so much. I got really good at building a shell and stuffing my emotions so no one would think anything was wrong with me. Eventually, in my mid to late 20s, I did seek therapy and was diagnosed with chronic depression.

I understand that finding time to get therapy can be costly and time-consuming. The great thing is that you can find a great therapist online. Better Help is a great resource that will match you with the best counselor based on your needs. Plus they are more affordable than you think. Check them out!

7. Get a Second Opinion.

So as I mentioned above, I did eventually see a therapist. However, although the chronic depression diagnosis was accurate, I believed that I didn’t have to be on medication for the rest of my life. After years and years of medications, therapies, talks with my doctors and extensive research I did find that through a better diet (like the 131 Method) and consistent exercise I could keep my depression at bay without having medication.

8. Don’t use birth control.

Birth control seriously messed up my hormones. Every form of birth control I took had some horrible side effect. The BC would work just fine for about 3 years and then everything would go haywire. My first form of BC was Depo Provera and I had issues with that one in the first few months. After about 6 months of taking it with success, I all of the sudden gained 20 pounds. That was the beginning of my weight issues the rest of my adult life. I fully blame BC for my hormone/weight issues.

9. Don’t stop writing.

I used to be a really good writer (and am now obviously getting back into it). But for some reason, after I turned 21, I stopped writing. I used to write in a journal weekly and write poetry monthly. I’m happy I found blogging as an outline for my creative side again.

If starting a blog is something you’d be interested in, you should definitely check out these courses. They teach you exactly how to get set up on WordPress or if you want to start a Travel Blog to make money.

10. Travel More.

I know this isn’t an easy task to accomplish as a young adult due to cash issues. But I truly believe if you have a passion for it, you can make it happen. I did have the means as a 21-year-old, I just didn’t act on those means. Traveling as a young adult is a wonderful experience to take advantage of and I would advise my kids to travel as much as they can when they are ANY age. If you love to do it, do it!

11. Learn to appreciate the little things.

When we’re young we tend to take for granted the awesome little things in life. We forget to be grateful. Instead of thinking about all the things you don’t have, focus on all the awesome things in life you DO have.

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12. Practice NOT drinking for a few months.

Just because you can drink now, doesn’t mean you should. Give your body a break. Give yourself time to recover from that poison you put into your body to “have a little fun”.

13. Learn the importance of budgeting and in having a good credit score.

I can’t stress the importance of learning this. I’m still learning this concept TO. THIS. DAY. I was an only child and I was spoiled rotten. Anything I wanted I was given. That doesn’t help a child go out in the real world and face the harsh reality of bill paying, knowing what your spending limits are, or just basic adulting.

Learn how to budget. Practice how to budget.

Pay your bills on time and pay attention to what your credit score is doing. Because a majority of what you’ll want to do in life will require good credit. Of course, you can get by with no credit if you do it right. However, you may need good credit to get an apartment, get a car with a good rate, and most importantly get a house.

14. Take a cooking class.

Unless you’re a natural born chef, cooking well takes practice. Like anything in life practice will make you that much better. Take a class that helps teach you what may take years to learn on your own.

15. Go to school now, before you have kids.

I didn’t go to school until after I had my first child and he was one year old. That was really difficult to do. It would have been much easier for me to go to school when I didn’t have another human life to be responsible for. If you have the opportunity to go to school and that’s what you want to do, do it. Not saying you can’t do it with kids. Obviously, I did. But it IS easier if you don’t have kids 😉

16. Take better care of your teeth.

I actually wish I could tell myself this when I was much younger. But things were tough when I was young and until I was 21 I wasn’t able to get any dental work since I was 14. I had tens of thousands worth of dental work that needed to get done because my teeth were horrible. They still are, but I worked SO hard to get them as healthy as I could. I stopped drinking pop, cut down on coffee, brushed my teeth every day and eventually quit smoking.

17. Spend as much time as you can with friends and family.

I grew up as an only child. My mom’s family was big, several brother’s and sisters. I had tons of cousins, aunt’s and uncle’s, etc. When my grandmother died my family broke apart. All over my grandmother’s estate. My mother and all the siblings were fighting over what my grandma had “left” everyone. After that, there was no more big holiday family get together’s and everyone drifted apart.

Later in life, it happened again after my grandfather died. Everyone fought over his estate and it estranged everyone even more. It sucks. The family is one of the most important bonds you can have in life. But if your family is THAT bad, at least you do get to choose your friends and make them your family. That’s what I did. As an only child, I didn’t get any siblings. However, I have several “sisters” that I’ve been friends with my whole life and they are truly my family.

18. Try different food.

Don’t be so damn picky! Taste buds change over your lifetime so don’t be afraid to try new foods. You never know you may just love it!

19. Do something that scares you (challenge yourself).

Try out for a play. Audition for a movie. Audition for American Idol. Yes, you may fail. But so what! You won’t regret trying.

20. Never give up on your dreams.

I’ve compromised on a LOT of things in my life. But I do still believe I can do anything I wholeheartedly set my mind to. It’s only when you want to succeed as bad as you want to breathe will you understand what it takes to succeed.

21. Forgive yourself.

No regrets. Going through all this makes you who you are and got you where you are today. If all of these things never happened, I wouldn’t have my awesome boys. I wouldn’t have my amazing husband and I wouldn’t have grown up enough to be able to forgive myself for all the mistakes I have made. Mistakes are a good thing. They make us who we are and help mold us. I’ve forgiven myself and I’ve also learned to forgive others (even if they never asked for it).

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What would you have told your 21-year-old self?

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5 Comments

  1. Wow! I identify with your number 1. I married my ex-husband when I was 21 as well! I should have never gotten married then (as like yours) it was abusive, but I did get my beautiful daughter from it. Although for me, being 21 was only 6 years ago, I feel like I changed a lot. As if I’m a completely different person then I was then. I wish I would have focused more on my self-love, rather than trying to find that in relationships. I wish I would have spent time enjoying life, working on my writing, going to school, hanging out with friends, getting my license (I didn’t get my license till many years later). Overall focusing on myself, so I didn’t suffer from a lot of insecurities later on in life. But, all things are a lesson to be learned.

    1. Thank you so much for commenting. That’s so great you got out of that relationship, it took me 11 years to get out of mine. But like you, I got two awesome boys from that marriage 🙂

  2. I agree with take care of your teeth. Don’t take birth control. I gained weight on deposit. Work on getting good credit mines bad at 42. Go to school before you have kid’s. I am going back with a seven year old son at age 42 as a single mom and I am struggling with using the internet. It was easy before. I am never giving up and I am doing something that scares me in a few years running for mayor of my city. I also need that cooking class. I am happy to say I never wanted marriage and refuse to settle. Try new foods is easier now was harder at 21. I have seen family members separate after my dad died we are like strangers it’s sad for my son to not have a relationship with his only Aunt and two uncle’s on my side. I am trying to get his dad and uncle to visit him every month to have family. This is a great list. I need to write one for age 42.

  3. I second the birth control recommendation. It messed up my hormones and it took me years to recover (and I don’t think I have fully recovered). I developed some sort of adult acne out of the blue in my late twenties when I went off the pill. I think we’re all conditioned that birth control is normal and safe but I’m not necessarily convinced it is. Anyways, it was great meeting you at Activate and I’m so glad I stopped by your blog! Best of luck!

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