Life By Kristen

Go, and embrace your liberty. And see what wonderful things come of it. – Little Women

Archive for the tag “life lessons”

Not Another Post about Advice to Younger Self!

This might seem like the overworked topic of “advice to my younger self” that seems to be swirling around everywhere, and it is in part, but mostly, it’s just sort of a culmination of a lot of thinking going on these parts lately. ┬áThere’s been a lot swirling around in my world, much of which I can’t/won’t share online for a bunch of reasons, but mostly because I like to keep real life happenings close to my person. Suffice to say, the past few weeks have been filled with lots of thinking of possibilities and life happenings.

At the same time, I’ve been listening on my commute to Anna Quindlen’s Lots of Candles, Plenty of Cake ( which I recommend). One of the sections she talks about advice to her 22 year old self in which she ( at an age in her 50s) would tell her younger self to: 1. not let anyone tell her she can’t do something and 2. that her 22 year old self really doesn’t know anything yet. This comes on the heels of an article someone posted on facebook that said you really should trust the advice of your parents in your early 20s because you don’t know anything about life until after the age of 23.

I’ve thought a lot about that- at 23 I was in my first year of grad school, living at home, and about to embark on a stellar summer internship, having fun dating, and enjoying going out with friends. I had big ideas about where I wanted to live and do in life and spent money in so many frivolous ways.

If 23 year old Kristen saw where 30 year old me is now, she would be shocked at the path I took to here. Sometimes I get frustrated thinking about it too— about the money spent on silly things, the debt taken on, the bad choice in marriage partner. Of course, I’ve learned more from my missteps and failures than from the successes, and tend to think more of those bad moments than the good ones ( is that just a women thing?)

But here I am at 30- still quite the spring chicken and life is happening in ways I’ve thought about and in a lot of ways I wouldn’t have imagined. When I was 18, 30 seemed like a huge thing of adulthood- but now I’m almost 6 months into my thirties and it’s some of the most fun ever. I’m the most me I’ve ever been- not worrying so much about what other people think, taking responsibility for my actions ( or inactions as the case often is), and not planning so much for life, but actually doing it. Sure I don’t go on adventures enough, exercise enough, and live frugally ( I thought I’d be out of debt by 30 when I was in college HA HA), but overall I feel like I finally have a clue and even though I just said all the things I don’t do often, I still feel like I AM ENOUGH.

Of course, age is just a number and I often have moments when I still feel like I’m a teenager like last week when I had to call my mom to ask her about washing linen in my washing machine instead of sending it to the dry cleaner. It definitely is true that you’re never too old to need a mother and in the past few weeks of planning, possibilities, and overall too much thinking, I’ve spent a good deal of time seeking advice and guidance from my parents.

So my advice to myself in my twenties is pretty simple:

  • save a lot more money, buy less
  • travel every opportunity you get
  • take a vacation after you finish grad school
  • don’t spend so much time worrying about finding a boyfriend
  • trust your gut all the time
  • live on your own before getting married
  • give up the 4 inch heels all the time
  • Have fun- you’re 23 and don’t need to be an adult all the time!

Things I’ve Learned- Take 1

  • Never go to the supermarket hungry and right after work. It never goes well for me and always ends in frustration and impatience.
  • Planning what to wear the night before during the work week is always the best option because in morning at 6AM, nothing seems to go together or look right.
  • I’m not 22 and anything more than two alcoholic beverages in quick succession will make me feel gross the next morning.
  • Trying to function on less than seven hours of sleep does not make me a nice person to work with or be around.
  • 8 hours of computer time during the work day is plenty
  • Always eat breakfast
  • Being self deprecating about something serious is never quite as funny to other people as it is to you
  • Bring a cardigan/blazer/jacket everywhere
  • Writing down my worries/fears/frustrations is always better than letting them simmer in my brain and result in an irrational breakdown
  • Similarly, going for a walk/jog when feeling worried/stressed/frustrated is always a better idea than sitting on the couch watching mindless television
  • Getting rid of cable is freeing for so much more than just the budget
  • Nothing ever tastes as good as your mother’s spaghetti sauce
  • Cookie dough is not a fulfilling dinner
  • Unless you want to pick up trash all over the place in the morning, wait to put it out on the curb to the morning of trash pickup. Or, buy a barrel. ( OK this lesson took me a few times to learn- gross. )
  • Being cynical is a survival skill and NOT a way of life.
  • Bookstores, libraries, and art museums are my happy places to be solo.
  • Peanut M&Ms are essential for plane rides.

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