I’m 21, the age one is officially an adult everywhere- Guess what, I can even buy alcohol in the U.S. now!
However, I would be lying if I said that I feel very mature. I am still terribly unorganised, and I often feel as if I had absolutely nothing figured out in my life. Nonetheless, I did improve in adulting (or, at least, I got a little wiser). Looking back, there is fortunately not a lot I regret in my life. Most of my decisions (especially the big ones!), I would just make again the exact same way without hesitating.
But there are still several things I wish I had known a little earlier. I figured these can be applied to many of us, so I’ll share them in this post 🙂
- Don’t worry
This does not apply to everyone! I feel like some people should actually worry a little bit more. But for me, personally, I worried about far too many things at a far too young age. There were so many “what if”s in my life, which, looking back, where completely unnecessary and the time I spent contemplating about these questions was definitely wasted. Most of the worries vanished all of a sudden, or they were things that are out of my hands. I realised that problems (and I mean actual problems, not tiny worries about the weirdest things) can only be solved by actively doing something. Overthinking never helped anyone.
- Live in the moment
It goes hand in hand with my first point. Instead of thinking about what will (perhaps) happen in the future, you should enjoy the moment, experience it to its fullest and just live. Some moments will never happen again- or just not like that.
- You are good enough
As a teenager, I sometimes (fortunately not too often, but it did happen) was haunted by serious self-doubts. No matter what I did, I always felt as if it wasn’t enough. High School wasn’t enough- so I started to work part time. A-levels? Not enough. So I decided to do a double degree including the French baccalauréat. Playing the violin? I also started playing the guitar. I am still guilty of this, but at least I have realised that it IS enough. I AM enough as long as I give 100% in the things I do. It doesn’t always need to be extraordinarily much.
- Be yourself
Again, I put this as subsequent point to number 3 because it goes into the same direction. It took me quite a while to figure out that there is no such thing as the “cool kids”. Just because the whole class thinks they are cool, this doesn’t make them any more special or better in any way. For me, coolness is to be yourself. Stand and speak up for yourself, your opinion, your passions. There is nothing less “cool” (if this attribute even exists) than following the crowd just for the sake of fitting in. While I never really did that, I sometimes tried to blend in a little more. I tried to find excuses why my grades were so good, because I was embarrassed to stand out, for example. However, most of the time, I actually sticked to my own way. But I found it incredibly hard, and I often doubted if it was the right thing to do, especially when I got a lot of negative feedback. Looking back, I would love to tell my younger self that the struggle is worth it, and that the older me will be truly grateful.
- Sometimes, 90% are enough
I do not want to encourage anyone (let alone my younger self) to be lazy by any means! What I wish to bring across with this statement is solely for the workaholics amongst us. I am definitely one of them. No matter how much I do, how much I work. I always feel that I should do more. I am living by the rule: Either you give it your all, or you might as well not even start. While this is certainly a great approach in general (!), there must be exceptions. You cannot give 110% in everything you do- or you’ll burn out in no time. Sometimes, I wish I had realised that a little earlier. If I could, I would tell my younger self to take a step back every once in a while. It’s simply not sustainable to power through life 24/7.
- You cannot be everybody’s darling
Sorry to burst your illusion, but when you are being true to yourself, there will always be someone disagreeing at some point. This used to make me feel terribly anxious and, at times, even sad. However, I came to realise: Quality over quantity. What matters is that you are liked by the people that care for you, and that you care for. It’s not important what the guy from next door thinks, as long as your best friends and your family support you. Note that I used the word “support” instead of “agree”. No one can always agree in everything. There will be times that you have to swim against the crowd. The important thing is that those close to your heart understand your motivation and accept it.
- You’ll be an adult soon enough
Growing up, being an adult seemed absolutely awesome to me. Drinking, driving, being independent. Looking back, I wish I could tell my younger self to enjoy the freedom of childhood a little bit more. The freedom gained with the magic number 18 (or 21) comes along with a lot of responsibility.
- Glasses aren’t ugly
I had to wear glasses from a very young age. And I used to hate them. I was incredibly ashamed and felt terribly ugly. To be honest, I am still not a huge fan of them. The reason for my disapproval has changed, though. While it was purely for aesthetic reasons in the past, my preference for contact lenses stems from the fact that I just see so much better with them! Plus, they are a lot more handy, and do not get all blurry when switching from a cold to a hot temperature. But I came to appreciate my glasses. And I actually like my frame (it’s from Chanel, and it’s the first pair I willingly wear out on the streets). I wish I could make my younger self get rid of all the self-doubts and the embarrassment. Maybe I look better without glasses, I don’t know. But they are nothing to be insecure for.
- Clothes for boys are not made for you!
Yep, I admit it. I went through a phase at the beginning of High School where I found that boys’ clothes look pretty good on me. Not to self: They do NOT. Do not wear them under any circumstances (except when you are cold, and your boyfriend offers to give you his jumper, because that is pretty cute).
- No, you do NOT need that
I was so guilty of this, and I find that most humans are. I am still not a minimalist, but I cut down the amount of clothes I own drastically. When my parents moved, I seized the moment to throw away more than 50% of my stuff (no exaggeration). Looking back, I wish I would have come to the realization that material things will not make you happy for very long a little earlier.
These are my top 10 things I would love to tell mini me. What about you? Is there anything you seriously regret doing? Or are the things you’d like to change more general (like mine?)
Oh, by the way, do you like the cute little stamps I got? I really enjoy playing around with them- they’ll be awesome for crafting greeting cards I guess 🙂