January 18, 2019

Five Things I Want To Tell My Younger Self

Life advice for my younger self, mental health
Me at 22 (left) and almost 32 (right)

The photos above are taken about ten years apart. I was 22 in the photo on the left. I had just graduated from college and felt a little more "adult" because of it. I'll be 32 on my birthday next week, and there's so much I wish I could say to the girl on the left. More than anything I wish my future self could give my past self a hug and go ahead and tell her everything is going to be ok. What you're going to experience doesn't define you and we're going to come out like a warrior on the other side. 

There is so much life that has happened across these ten years. And, regardless of the emotions in the moment, I don't think I would change any of it. Hard things make us resilient and, for that, I am thankful. Grace and grit and beauty and brokenness - their coexistence throughout my life is how I got here

And those who know me, know I don't take myself too seriously so the whole list isn't heavy - but important just the same. Because I love frivolous things like makeup and manicures.


one. You're not going to want a big wedding.
This one would've been helpful. I like to call him "the bullet I dodged" - not before lots of emotional wrecking happened. I am grateful for everyone I've ever loved. Loving makes you whole and vulnerable and Christ-like and open. Even when it goes badly, there is good in there. Look for the good. I never wish a broken heart, a broken marriage, a broken relationship on anyone. But in the brokenness I found myself and I discovered there is absolutely nothing I want less than a big spectacle wedding. The courthouse will suit me just fine. 

two. Try nude lipstick.
It will be your go-to, your makeup holy grail, the bright spot in a bland day - my younger self didn't know the glory of a great nude lip, sadly. I was misled by the bright pinks and reds (mostly). So, what I would say to my younger self is this - It doesn't make you look dead, you just need to find your perfect shade, don't give up, you can do this.

three. You have anxiety.
What was (without a doubt) anxiety for me growing up was never labeled. It shifted and changed throughout college and by the time I turned 30 the markers were unmistakable. The most crucial words I would say to my younger self about mental health - this does not define you. You are brave and strong and more than a label or diagnosis. Don't fight with yourself about it - be gentle with yourself. Calling it by name takes away the power and taking back the power in any situation is transformative.

four. It's okay to say "no."
Saying no will not make or break any relationship in your life. And if it does, you probably need to evaluate that relationship anyway. Saying no isn't being selfish - it's often self care. Putting your needs before the needs of another person is so necessary and absolutely okay. You're going to realize in your late twenties that you're actually an introvert and saying no is going to bring you joy and peace and give you the ability to actually a be a better friend in those moments when you say yes.

five. Splurge on the manicure.
I'm really good at painting my own nails. And for years that has been enough of a reason to not pay someone else to do them. What I would give for my younger self to understand the importance of self care. My life feels immensely more pulled together when my nails are painted - this is as honest a statement as I've ever made. I would love for my younger self to have that deep core understanding of the importance and value of the little things. Even in something as simple as a manicure.

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