Once upon a time I wrote a blog post titled 'Dear 15-year-old self' where I basically listed off a whole bunch of things that I felt I had been doing wrong at that time in my life. Don't get me wrong, it was a thoughtful and funny post, but it was also very negative - and as you'll know from Friday's post I am all about being positive from here on out. So after reading this post written by Aissa from Tea in January the other day, I thought this would be the perfect opportunity to share some of the things that I could learn from my younger self if I simply took the time to look for the positives rather than the negatives.
You are beautiful the way you are, because of who you are on the inside
I remember back when I was 13 years old and I was asked out on my very first date. I have picture proof that I was an oily faced, acne ridden, lipbalm only wearing teenager, but that didn't deter me in the slightest from saying yes and having a great time. I didn't feel the need to spend hours before hand making myself look 'pretty' - my only priority was showing up on time and making sure we saw a movie that we were both going to enjoy. Needless to say we ended up having a great first date and I even had my first kiss that day. We had a good time because that boy liked who I was as a person, and I will always have fond memories associated with that boy for this reason.
Be confident enough to be your own person
As I grew a little older I was often put into situations where it would have been easy to succumb to peer pressure and do what everyone else, or worse, what my close friends were doing. I'm not going to go into too much detail, but there were certainly times when I was labelled a 'goodie-goodie' for not wanting to engage in certain inappropriate or even illegal activities that my friends were doing at the time. Perhaps it was due to the way I was brought up, or maybe I was just wise beyond my years, but I never once hesitated to tell my friends "no" or to go one step further and tell them that what they were doing was wrong. As an adult I still don't normally succumb to peer pressure in this way (probably because there is a lot less of it since I started hanging out with the right people) but the important thing is that even as an adolescent I never felt bad about being a 'goodie-goodie' because this simply meant that I was being myself, and we should never feel uncomfortable about being ourselves.
Find it in your heart to be more forgiving
Sure, many of the people I forgave as child and teenager are no longer a part of my life (and for good reason), but if I hadn't have been so forgiving back then I wouldn't have been able to bounce back from certain situations as well as I did. I would have spent a lot of my younger years wondering what could have been and if I had made the right decision, rather than being young and carefree and learning from my mistakes as I grew older. As an adult I am far less forgiving, and far more thought ridden than I ever was as a teenager. If I could take any lesson from my younger self it would be to learn to let things go and not let them hold me back or weigh me down - I'm still yet to do this though.
Be conscious of what you're spending your money on
This is something I only truly rediscovered after finishing Uni and starting my own business, but as a teenager I was very money conscious and could easily have a much bigger savings right now if I had continued being budget conscious after I finished highschool. I was only ever on a measly part time wage back then (earning $20-$100 a week max), yet that didn't stop me from spending my money wisely. I could have easily blown it all on junk food and unnecessary new clothes, but instead I kept it in a savings account and invested it in furniture for when I eventually moved out of home (most of which I still have today). If I had continued along this path, even on a part time wage, I could have purchased a better car than the one I have currently and been on several overseas holidays by now. Instead I spent my money on alcohol (the one peer pressure I gave into for a few years as a young adult), a stupid amount of clothes and shoes (most of which I lost to mould and had to throw out anyway), and buying an excessive amount of presents for friends and boyfriends I don't even have anymore. I basically spent my "disposable" income on disposable things that mean nothing now, when I could have been saving it to spend on positive and life changing experiences.
Focus on the here and now instead of on the future
If I could go back to highschool as the person I am now, I would have had a date to my school formal, graduated with a top OP score, gone on to Uni to study graphic design, etc. because I would have meticulously planned each day out so that I was in a position to do all of those things at the appropriate time. Fortunately, however, I was the sort of person who dealt with life as it happened and made the most of potentially negative and confusing situations with the knowledge and experience that I had available to me at the time. Sure, life wasn't perfect, but I didn't know any better. I looked for the positives and grabbed onto them where I could, and found comfort in the fact that I had the rest of my life ahead of me and that it could take me absolutely anywhere (and nowhere in particular).
What are some things you could learn from your younger self if you really stopped to think about it?