I received my invitation to a happy hour scheduled for next month this past Friday.
It was sent two days after I would have graduated 10 years ago.
That, coupled with the fact that my little brother graduated that same week (Go Zay!), got me thinking.
What have I learned these last 10 years and if I could give my younger self any advice, what would it be?
I’ve seen everyone reflecting on their school days including First Lady Michelle Obama who talked about being courageous, using her voice and learning along the way.
In the #dearme video, she said “Michelle, stop worrying so much about getting things wrong, success has nothing to do with perfection. So stop being nervous, raise your hand, use your voice, get it wrong, learn from your mistakes, and keep moving on and don’t worry about what other people think.”
She continued by saying, “so be brave, use your voice, ignore the doubters and work hard because life is hard. Don’t be afraid of it. Just do it.”
All of that applies to me, but here is some more advice I’d give my self.
First and foremost, you are human.
You are not perfect nor will you ever be. You are bound to make mistakes, make the wrong decisions and even hurt others, that’s life. But when you do make mistakes and the wrong decisions, work to quickly fix them. What’s important is not what you did incorrectly, but how you recovered. That will define what type of person you are.
When you hurt others, apologize sincerely. When others hurt you, forgive them. Wholeheartedly. Not because they deserve forgiveness, but because you deserve peace.
Remember facts. Remember the good times. How hard you laughed, smiled and in some cases, even cried from the beauty of situations. Holding on to hurt feelings and dark places will only make you bitter and resentful. It’s not worth it.
Always seek out the light in others. Some rays are bound to fall on you.
Remember “the walls we build to protect us from sadness, can become the walls which protect us from happiness. Know when to let your guard down.”
It’s nothing wrong with being a good listener, but you were given the ability to speak for a reason. Use your voice and don’t be afraid to tell your truth. It will help you become a better person and a better writer.
Live your life to fullest.
Live it in color.
Just live. And don’t fear every unknown corner.
Be strong in the way you carry yourself, how you think and even in the stances you take. You will need it.
Also, give love every day and don’t be afraid to receive it.
What advice would you give your younger self?
p.s Please excuse that weird expression on my face and my ridiculously oily skin. Thank goodness those slick-spot days are over.