Twenty years ago, I was 5 years old without a worry in the world. My days were simple and filled with Disney movies, PB&J sandwiches, school church songs, and lots of love. Completely naive to the world around me, I had absolutely no clue of the experiences I'd have, the things I'd see, and the lessons I would learn. If I could go back in time to warn, inspire, and prepare myself for what life has to offer, I would be sure to let my younger self in on a few secrets.
1. This too shall pass
If it won't kill you, harm you, or be worth the worry a year from now, don't dwell on it. Panic and anxiety are constantly knocking at your door so be mindful of your triggers and don't open the proverbial door. Worrying changes nothing and anxiety will only dig you in a deeper hole. Keep positive, pick your battles, and try to focus on the good.
2. Life will get hard but keep your heart soft
Things will happen throughout your life that will break your heart, hurt your spirit, and make you question all the things you thought you knew. No matter how difficult things may get and how scary tomorrow seems, you have to stay true to yourself and learn from your experiences. In a world filled with naysayers, ignorance, and hate, be the inspiration, wisdom, and smile that the world needs.
3. No one has the power to hurt you like your kin
Friends will come and go and people will offend you, but nothing will shake you more than betrayal, disrespect, or jealousy that comes from a family member. Blood loyalty is great, but remember that no one has your back as much as you do. Love your family, be supportive, but don't be stupid. Call a spade a spade and keep your distance from the family that talks ill of you or wants to see your downfall.
4. Listen to your parents
There will come a time when you want to do the opposite of what everyone tells you and simply learn on your own. As nice as that independent thinking may seem, remember that your parents are older, wiser, and have likely been through the same situations that you're going through now. Learn from their mistakes, save yourself some time, and trust their guidance when you can. More often than not, your parents are right.
5. Not all friends are forever
Throughout your life, you will have many friends. You may have friends to for decades and others for days, but regardless of the time you are close to these people, each friend will teach you about life and also yourself. With that being said, people change and so will you. If ever their morals, aspirations, and outlooks change, the course of the friendship may need to change as well. Pick your friends wisely, after all, you are the company you keep.
6. Not everyone is for you
Not all listening ears want to be the voice of wisdom on the other side of a venting conversation. In fact, some people love the fact that you are behind or disheveled. To them, it shows your weakness and their upper hand. To add insult to injury, with time you will always realize this fact the hard way. There will also be people that strive to find an issue with you. The sooner you discover the fake people, the faster
7. Happiness is not contingent on "ifs"
If I get this job everything will be perfect. If we move here then I'll be happy. If I get through this hurdle, everything will finally be right. There will always be another issue or hoop to jump through in life. Pure joy is something you create. Your happiness will never solely depend on one thing going as you please. Make a habit of finding the positives and being optimistic. There's always a silver lining.
8. Inner beauty always wins
Your body will change throughout the years and acquire scars along the way. As important as it is to be healthy and in shape, it is even more important to have a happy and healthy soul. Physical beauty can fade but it's your personality and that people will remember and treasure.
9. Take the chance and live your life
Make a point to get out of your comfort zone when you can. Tomorrow is never promised and you don't know what the future holds. Spend your days with people you love, surround yourself with genuine and goal seeking friends, travel to places you always wanted to see, be sweet to everyone around you, be optimistic for tomorrow, and eat the damn cake! You are given one life so you should live it to the fullest, without regret.
To the little girl with so much life ahead of her that wears her heart on her sleeve, hold on tight and enjoy the ride. Don't forget to thank God for the good and the bad along the way and remember to give just as much as your receive. Life is a wild ride filled with peaks and valleys and in the blink of an eye you will go from making dances to paying mortgages. Your life won't be perfect but I promise it will be beautiful.