10 years ago I was 28, just embarking on my career, freshly married. Oh, you sweet summer child.
Every decision that I’ve made between then and now has led me to this point. And if I could, there are some pieces of advice I would like to impart on 28-year-old me.
- No job is worth your health. Not even when they paycheck is amazing.
For six and a half years I worked at a job that was bad for me both physically and mentally. I sacrificed my health for a paycheck. I let myself be dragged down into bad places because, while I believed in the mission, the company itself was toxic. In a number of jobs I’ve let people take advantage of me, my kindness, my desire to help, and my desire to be seen as a team player. I always want to help, and people take advantage of that.
- Your loyalties will be tested.
Your loyalties to your husband, your friends, your family will all be tested over the years. At the end of the day you have to be true to who you are. Don’t sacrifice yourself or your ideals for people that don’t deserve it. Make the right choice.
- Your friends are as much of your family as your blood.
Work to keep your relationships strong. These are the people that have your back because they chose to, not because they have to. They’re in your life because they want to be, and they love and accept you for who you are. When times get tough and you’ve got to go to the mat, these are the people that will go with you, support you, cheer you on. Don’t neglect your friends, especially when times get tough. Lean on them. And be there for them when they need it.
- Save money.
Just because you have money doesn’t mean that you need to be personally responsible for stimulating the economy. Save for a rainy day. Save for the big things that you know you’ll need eventually.
- You are good enough.
Believe this. You’re worthy of love and affection, companionship, friendship, success. Your views of yourself are skewed. People are in your life because they want to be, not because they’re forced to be or because there’s no one else around. You deserve all of the love that you get. You deserve all of the success that you get, you worked hard for it. Enjoy it. Enjoy your friends. Enjoy your life.
- It’s OK to ask for help.
You do not have to do everything alone. Those same people that are in your life because they choose to be are the same people that will come running if you reach out. The same goes for your family. Asking for help is not a sign of weakness. It really is a sign of strength. You don’t have to go everything absolutely alone. Ask for help when you need it.
- Worry more about how you want to be seen rather than how others expect you to be seen.
You have to be true to yourself. Don’t base your appearance, your interests, your life, around other people’s expectations. You will never be truly happy if you do, and you’ll be chaffing against the bonds that you put on yourself. People will accept you for who you are, and if they don’t, they’ll either leave or deal.
- Stop making excuses.
There’s always going to be a reason not to do something – workout, go to work, pay the bills, see your family/friends. Stop making excuses why you shouldn’t do something and start making reasons why you should. Take risks. Do the thing. You might find that you’d enjoy yourself immensely, have adventures, learn something. Just do it. Get out of your comfort zone.
- Don’t forget to put yourself first.
It’s OK to prioritize yourself. In fact, you should. You can’t take care of others if you don’t take care of yourself. You don’t need to constantly light yourself on fire to keep everyone around you warm. It’s OK to be selfish.
- You can be different things to different people.
This is an interesting one. You’ll sometimes find yourself in situations in which you’re pulled in different directions by different people. That’s OK. Be true to yourself. Don’t let yourself be ruled by either your head or your heart, they have to work together. You don’t have to be everything to everyone. You can be a friend, a lover, a wife, a daughter, a sister. Fill each role to the best of your ability. But don’t overextend yourself.
Just some thoughts swirling through my head today as I thought about how far I’ve come in 10 years.