25 things I wish I could go back in time to tell my 15 year old self

The big two-five…I can now officially mention the words “quarter life crisis” without people telling me I am a little too young to be experiencing such a phenomenon. This is a confusing stage in one’s life to navigate. Trust me, you are not alone in this. Most of my friends are experiencing at least some confusion in regards to what life path they want to pursue and no one knows what the f*** they are doing either, so do no fret if you feel lost! When I was younger, I thought that I would have all the answers once I turned a certain age and that I would no longer feel like an imposter who is just faking her way through life(I still feel this way but have since learned how to be comfortable with being uncomfortable). No matter how old you are I hope this post will help you feel more at ease with this–not so subtle–life transition that every human being has to go through but surprisingly not many talk about.

  1. It’s okay to say ” I don’t know” when you do not know the answer to something. You do not need to have all the answers and it is important to know what you don’t know. This is the first step necessary to facilitate learning. As sad as it sounds, I was always made to feel dumb in school by teachers when I did not know something, although I am sure it was not intentional on their part and they only wanted to better me..this made me reluctant to interact freely in class and consequently stunted my learning . Despite the flaws in our educational system, going to school is a privilege that not everybody has and once you are okay with sounding(and at times, looking) stupid then you are on the right track. The only thing that’s not okay is choosing to remain ignorant when we live in an age where information is easily accessible via the google.
  2. Everybody has experienced childhood trauma and being aware of this will help you heal in adulthood. As controversial as what I am going to say may be, our childhood trauma is a necessary component in our lives that will build us into strong, resilient people. Our parents and caretakers are human and they make mistakes too, most of them are trying their best and as adults it is a bit easier for us to step into their shoes and understand them. Recently on a ski trip, I was standing in the lift line and overheard two dudes talking about trauma in both children and adults and how it could be miscontrued as mental health disorders(which sometimes involves medicating an individual to “treat” them). Instead of unnecessarily using drugs to numb someone, it is more proactive to introduce them to meditation or exposing them to nature to help them escape from the constant fear and anxiety that they feel due to the distress left over from the traumatic experience that they faced. According to one of the guys, our brain is physiologically divided into three parts; the reptilian, the mammalian and the higher brain. The reptilian brain is essentially our fight or flight control center, it tells us if we are in danger. This part is activated by traumatic experiences and when a child goes through something traumatizing this portion of their brain stays activated until the trigger is turned off and the has been addressed. Most children grow up without having this turned off and this creates an adult with high cortisol(stress hormone) levels. Prolonged exposure to stress causes depression and anxiety/panic attacks. The next part is the mammalian brain, which is responsible or answering the question ” Am I loved?”, If a child does not receive a suitable answer to this question then they cannot advance to the higher brain which is responsible for ” what can I learn?”. Safety and love are necessary components in order for a person to grow and learn efficiently. I learned all this by eavesdropping LOL which brings me into the next point…
  3. Listen more than you talk. People will appreciate you so much more for being a good listener and honestly it is the best way to get to know someone. Listening to another person increases empathy and helps you learn new things while allowing the other person to have a voice and be seen, it’s a win-win.
  4. Be kinder to people. As cliche as this sounds, you never know what someone might be going through and how they treat you could be a result of them mirroring how someone else has treated them. Set a good example and be the better person, you’ll never regret choosing kindness over hate. Lead through example and change what you do not like in your society by changing these traits in yourself first.
  5. Let go of control because nothing in life goes as planned and that’s sometimes a good thing! Most unexpected obstacles that I faced in life which have led me towards a different path than I had envisioned have resulted in things turning out for the better and this can only be realized in hindsight because it can be frustrating in the moment. I struggle to remind myself this everyday when life does not pan out the way I want it to.
  6. Love your body no matter what shape it may be–potato, round, square, cone, triangular, egg, etc. What I wished I had realized sooner was how amazing my body is and how blessed I am to have it, despite it not looking the way I want it to at times. Keeping it healthy is my responsibility and I wish I realized this sooner and did not mistreat it by pulling all nighters in college or drinking excessively. Now that I am older, I am starting to feel the effects of everything and though it is not too late to live more healthily, the sooner you start the better.
  7. Never ever leaves things on a bad note with someone you care about. Life is a fickle thing and you may not know when the last time you will see someone is.
  8. Be alone. Save some time for solitude, only then can you figure yourself out and truly appreciate the people in your life without becoming dependent on them.
  9. Fuck other people’s opinion, just go with your gut. I am not saying to forgo the advice and wisdom that your friends/family give you but to listen then consider it and think for yourself. I have never regretted listening to my gut but I have regretted listening to other people or caring too much about what they think of me. Most people don’t even think so don’t be afraid to be criticized, their opinion is their problem not yours.
  10. Read more books. I was an avid reader growing up but stopped in high school because it was “uncool” and “nerdy” to read for fun. I regret this so much because of the books I missed out on reading all those years. Being forced to read textbooks just amplified this reluctance to view reading as a pleasurable past-time and so I did not enjoy it as much in school as I do now that I am out of school.
  11. Stop comparing your progress with other people’s. I would have friends tell me “oh, so and so looks like they’re living their best life I wish my life was like that” and let me tell you, I just spoke to so and so and their life isn’t perfect either and they are struggling with things that you may not see on social media. No one is perfect and neither is life, stop comparing.
  12. Remember, if you don’t then who will; stop waiting for other people to take action because sometimes it is up to you to create the change you want to see. Don’t fall into this trap called the bystander effect, where when we are around a group of people we often sit back and wait for someone else to do something rather than taking the initiative and responsibility into our own hands.
  13. You meet everyone for a reason. Good or bad, everyone you meet played a part in your growth as a person.
  14. Buy Bitcoin before it blows up. Or Amazon stock, which will go up in the near future.
  15. Keep failing. I would tell you to keep winning but that’s highly unrealistic and the sooner you come to terms with the fact that out of every one hundred fails(maybe more maybe less) there will be one win. Statistically speaking, the more you fail the more you win and taking the pressure off of being perfect feels great. Being a failure isn’t a bad thing if you are always stay in motion, what this means is never stay stagnant and let a fail settle because then you have no momentum to turn it around. Always keep moving and you will not sink. Like a duck in a pond, people.
  16. Time is a luxury…and so is privacy. Use both accordingly because they come at a price.
  17. I am dumber than I thought and it is honestly so liberating to admit that I do not know everything and have so much to learn still.
  18. Seek discomfort. I know this may go against all your instincts but it is the fastest way to develop into the best version of yourself and to build competence as well as confidence.
  19. Never let anyone make you feel powerless or uncomfortable. Stand up for yourself and your standards. If somebody doesn’t respect your needs, fuck em(not literally but you get the point).
  20. Travel more. Expose yourself to different cultures and people who grew up in a different environment than you.
  21. Take more pictures because they help you remember pleasant memories but also put your phone down and experience life.
  22. When someone gives you their time, be all there; Being present is important and when you are making a commitment to spend time with someone don’t be half-assed about it.
  23. The little things matter. Don’t wait for a made up holiday to remind someone that you love them or are thinking of them, everyday should be special.
  24. Sometimes letting people grow without your presence is the best thing you can do for them and the best way to love them. Everyone needs time to figure themselves out(even if they think they’ve got it all figured out) and giving someone space to do so is the most selfless thing another person can do even though it may seem contradictory.
  25. The winning lottery numbers, duh. LOL last but not least, never pass up an opportunity to tell a joke!