In honor of International Women’s Day, join me and other gals around the globe as we offer our younger selves (and our readers!) some solid advice on how to stay strong and keep smiling.
You’re young! Enjoy! Oh, wait. You already do. Guess you’re kind of ahead of the curve on that one… Everyone else always seems so eager to grow up, but as Mr. Scire once said, you’re wise beyond your years—to an extent. Don’t let that one go to your head, though. Remember! I said you’re young. You’ve got much to learn. With that being said, here are some things to keep in mind:
Beyond all else, embrace your mistakes. (They’ll teach you much more than any textbook ever could.) There’s one line from 13 Going on 30 that will resonate with you for years to come—
“I know I’ve made a lot of mistakes, but I don’t regret making any of them, because if I hadn’t made them, I wouldn’t have learned how to make things right.” –Beverly Rink
For some reason, people (including your inner perfectionist) are afraid of failure. However, they neglect to realize that it’s in those mistakes that we learn what matters most and what changes must be made. If you never fail, you’ll never learn. Everything you do will help you become the person you are, and no matter what anyone else tries to tell you, that person just so happens to be pretty awesome if I do say so myself (har har). Thus, you must not dwell on any one problem for too long. Yes, this or that might seem like the end of the world in the moment, but you’re stronger than you think. Learn and move along.
In 10 years, you will also have developed the uncanny ability to determine who does or doesn’t belong in your life—those who lift you up and those who pull you down. You will even be able to isolate the moment when this new skill came to light. Life won’t last forever. We’re all watching the clock in some fashion. Therefore, at some point, everyone needs to decide who’s worth their time and who belongs in someone else’s monkey sphere. The things you once thought were important—work, popularity, etc.—suddenly won’t matter as much because they’ll ultimately keep you from spending precious time with those you truly love.
Don’t worry. I’m sure I’ll have plenty more advice for you in the coming decade. (Foresight isn’t exactly my thing.) But you’ve been doing surprisingly well thus far, so I’m not all that worried. You aren’t afraid to tell it like it is or stand up for yourself. Never lose that. Keep smiling, make people laugh, and do your best to inspire others to do the same.