I really wanted to write a post with advice to my younger self to share lessons I have learned over the past 34(!!) years. Seeing as it is the new year and my birthday, I thought it would be a great time to do so. If I think back to my 20-year old self, I don’t think I would recognize her as the same person. Even if I think back only 8-10 years, I still would not be able to recognize that person. So much happened in my mid to late 20’s and it really did change my life forever. But if I had the opportunity to give advice to my younger self, I have a few things that I would like to say.
The reason I write posts like these rather than typical nutrition type blog posts is because 1) I don’t consider myself a typical nutritionist and 2) there is so much more to my life (and yours) than food and beauty products. Sharing this kind of stuff (the real stuff) is therapeutic and most important if it helps someone out there that stumbled upon my post look at things differently I am all for it. My post on why I am no longer vegan is my #1 read post (by far) and I have received such positive feedback from it, so I will continue to share stories that are deeply personal because that is the good stuff. It lights my soul up and for that I am so damn grateful.
Alright, so my 20-something year old self, who was she exactly?
- She was in a committed relationship (and still is) with her rock and life partner. Relationships are hard fucking work. There is no secret and we fight and argue and disagree on a lot. That’s the honest truth. But there is also so much love there. He knows me so damn well (and vice versa) and most important, he is there for me when I need him. No matter what happens, he is there and he listens and although he drives me crazy (as I do him), he also makes me laugh at myself and tells me like it is. I need that.
- She thought she knew everything about everything. Like a lot of people in their 20’s, I refused to compromise or let go of things and sometimes was pretty petty about things that didn’t really matter.
- She was hella bitchy. Not all the time, but a lot of the time, she was bitchy. Mostly because she was so unhappy with herself deep down that even she didn’t realize it. She was incredibly unaware of her unhappiness (deeeeeep down in her soul) and instead took it out on those around her. Those closest to her that would basically put up with it and her moods. It was also related to her constantly trying to lose a couple pounds and subsequent binge-restrict cycles. This moodiness was directly related to the lack of quality food I consumed and that up and down blood sugar roller coaster.
- She hated her body and picked apart everything. But rather than simply learning to accept things or change them (in a positive way) she instead hid those insecurities and was miserable. The ‘always starting a diet on Monday’ mentality was so real.
- She rushed through life. I was always looking forward to something and never embracing the now. I was in such a hurry to get a job, start my career and buy a place of my own, I ended up rushing things.
I hope that gives a good indication of who I was. Basically, incredibly self conscious, in her own head all the time, moody and in a rush. Not the best picture, but an honest one if I do say so myself. So I had some issues, who didn’t, right?
Now, if I could pull a Back to the Future moment, I would go back in time and give this advice to my younger self.
Advice to my Younger Self:
- Slow Down: Enjoy the times that don’t seem as fun because you have your whole life ahead of you. Being a go-getter is fine, but slowing down is better. Things aren’t going to be handed to you simply because you are qualified, you need to appreciate the things that don’t seem fair and work with them. You are not owed anything in life, not even the time you have on this earth, so slow down and take note of how things are right now, rather than worrying about what is coming next. The worry about what is coming next is anxiety and there are ways to deal with it rather than trying to constantly push forward.
- Eat More, Worry Less: Stop reading the labels on things solely for calories. Worry less about how fattening something is and just enjoy the food without the guilt. One indulgent night of pizza is not going to ruin your whole life. You can probably eat more at times rather than waiting until you are famished and then gorging on food. That is not normal. Calories are not everything, in fact, they are nothing.
- Appreciate Your Body: One day you will see that your body is amazing for all that it does. But when that day comes, it won’t be fun, because it will be too late and your mom’s body (one that she herself never appreciated) will be gone. Only then will you realize that your body is not something to fight against, starve or treat with so much hate. Work towards doing something positive for your body, tell yourself you love yourself (even if you don’t believe it).
- Don’t Follow What Everyone Else is Doing: It is so easy to go the easy route in life. To get a job out of school, commute to work, buy a car, save for a house, get married and “start your life.” There is no rush, these things will come. You are here for a purpose, not to buy stuff, go to a job you hate, come home and start all over again. What works for other people may not work for you and that is OK. It is your life, so don’t be afraid to live it.
- Trust Your Intuition: You know deep down that this career you have started is not feeling right. You knew this from before you accepted the position, but took it anyways. Listen to your intuition and not what anyone else is saying to do. If it doesn’t feel right and it doesn’t light you up, don’t do it. You do have a greater gift and purpose and to deny that is to deny your souls ambitions. Don’t sell yourself short on this, you will regret it later.
I know that it is easy to say all of this now, knowing what I do now and I am sure in my 40’s I will have different advice to my younger self. But I do hope that any of these lessons can help you in some way if you find you are struggling to find your purpose or passion or just feeling a little lost.
I would love to continue the conversation in the comments, so let me know what advice would you give to your younger self?