What I Would Tell My Younger Self
Anyone else ever think about this? We hear it so often from our elders... you only live once, so live it up while you're young and you can. Do we take those words seriously when we have the time and energy to live that type of carefree life? I know I didn't, at least not as much I wish I did.
Now it's me telling my younger cousins, who are in high school, to live life to the fullest, study hard to be accepted to the best universities, make the most of your college experience because these days and college will be some of the best years of your life.
My High School Years
What was I doing in high school? Too busy trying to grow up too fast, and I'm not even sure why. Part of it was the desire to have nice things and a ride to get around in. So, I started working when I was 15... even before that I was volunteering (at 13 & 14). I was so desperate to work and have that type of independence.
But there were pros and cons with working. I loved working at a young age because it taught me independence, money + time management, and I was able to buy myself nice things which felt amazing… but on the other hand, I missed out on being a teen in a lot of ways. I didn't party like a lot of my friends at school and I didn't hang out on campus to shoot the shit after school. I rushed home to get dressed and ready for work.
I Did the Same Thing in College
That mentality of working to be able to get the things I wanted continued on from my high school years into college, where I studied as a full-time undergraduate student plus worked a 40 hour week as a beauty advisor. It was cool because I was making really good money for that time... over $20/hr with my sales commissions was a big deal then!
In my college years, I didn't even consider any schools where I couldn’t be a commuter and that wouldn't allow me to continue the work life I had established at a young age. I have no idea why I was so concerned about growing professionally in retail when my only concern should have been school and experiencing my college life to the fullest.
I was fortunate enough to have earned good grades while still working and eventually I pursued and entered the MBA graduate program at UCLA, again a local school that would allow me to work while I went for a higher education. I was also fortunate that the company I worked for, at the time, fully paid for my graduate education... insanely fortunate and something I am forever grateful for.
But again, I remember how tiring it was throughout graduate school when I rushed to school after a full day's work and prayed I made it to class on time every single evening. I worked during the day and studied at night.
This is What I Would Change
All in all, I think you see the big picture here. I'm not going to say I didn't have any fun in my younger years… that would be a lie. I made some amazing lifelong friends at work and at school and I vacationed to new places when I could. But my overall regret is that I didn't make more time for ME. I was always rushing somewhere, studying, eating bad fast food, and not getting good sleep because I had an exam the next day and deadline for a work project I had to see through to the finish.
I wish I made more time for travel in general. I wish I didn't work so much while I was in high school and college so I’d be able to enjoy some extracurricular activities with all of my friends. Dare I say, I wish I dated more. I met my now loving husband when I was just 21. Before then, I never really had any other serious relationships. I was too busy to date. I could barely hang with my life being single. I remember when my now husband first asked me to be his girlfriend, my initial response was "I don't have time for a boyfriend." Haha!
All I can do now is laugh and say what the hell was I was thinking. Why was I in such a damn hurry to grow up. I had my whole life to be a grown-up. If I could go back now... I would quit working altogether in high school, maybe volunteer somewhere working with kids once or twice a week to keep my mind busy with something "good." I'd work less in college and travel more in my free time to exotic places I would never go to with kids, like India and Thailand... I've always wanted to travel to those countries. I'd also travel throughout Europe and see some of those countries through younger, more "fresh" untainted eyes. Lastly, I would tell myself to slow down, live in the moment, and enjoy life... because all moments are short-lived and all moments are worth living in real time.
What's one thing you'd tell your younger self?