It’s time for another episode of Things I Would Tell My 20-Year Old Self. Today’s post is brought to you by Doniree of doniree.com | champagne with breakfast and living with intention. I recently got a chance to hang out with Doni at Bloggers in Sin City last month. Although we met last year at #BiSC, sometimes it’s hard when you’re at an event like that to get one on one time with everyone. I’m really glad that we got to spend a bit more time together this year. One word to describe Doni: inspiring. She runs her own business, does Yoga, takes gorgeous photographs and is an all around superstar blogger. Oh, and she has magical pink hair! I’m so happy that she agreed to share some of the advice she’d give her younger self. I hope you enjoy reading her post as much as I did!
You don’t need all that shit.
No, seriously. You’ve got too much stuff, you’re a pack-rat, it’s time to let go of THINGS. You’re going to move all of your stuff NINE times (including two short stints while in between homes) in the next decade. At 29, you’re going to look back on this and roll your eyes at all of the STUFF you were holding onto. Actually, at 29, you’re going to look around your current living situation and roll your eyes at all the stuff you still have. Let it go. Your sense of wanderlust is going to take a strong hold in your life pretty soon, and it’d be so much easier if you just had fewer things.
Take better care of your body.
Or at least just realize that this energy and metabolism isn’t going to last forever. I know you hit the gym sometimes, but hit the gym more. Pay attention to where your food comes from and what’s in it. Pasta Roni is NOT real food. You have zero idea right now what kale actually is, but I wish you did. Stop being so lazy about brushing your teeth. All of your self-employment dreams are going to come true one day, which has the unfortunate side effect of NOT coming with amazing dental insurance. You’ll kick yourself for this one later, but your future dentist says thanks for the poolhouse she just built thanks to the money you’ll pay her in 2011 to fix your dirty mouth. Gross.
PUT DOWN THE CREDIT CARDS.
Just. Put them down. All of them. One would’ve been fine, but you don’t need FIVE, you don’t need to buy a DVD player with one of those five, and you definitely don’t need ones for Express and Victoria’s Secret. Step away from those applications.
Let go of the puppy love.
I know you don’t want to because we’re talking about a high school/college crush, and it’s cute, and it’s like, your first “real” relationship. (“Real” is debatable since you spent more time trying to be who you thought he wanted you to be instead of being yourself, but that’s a whole other story). Trust me. You’ll meet a guy soon enough that will take your mind off of him long enough to move you forward. He won’t be the right person, though. Neither will the next person you meet (and she’ll straight up tell you so). Something like three quarters of a decade later, you’ll finally start to understand enough about who you are (and who you want to be) that you’ll be able to make better decisions about who to date.
Oh, you don’t know what to do with your life? THAT’S OKAY.
Between age 20 and 29, you will be and/or have been: a full-time merchandise manager for a professional salon and cosmetics shop, a benefits specialist in the HR department for Target’s corporate offices, a broadcast and online media buyer at one of the oldest advertising agencies in the country, a struggling freelancer completely drunk off of the newfound freedom of setting your own schedule, a getting-by freelancer completely overwhelmed by the ability to set your own schedule, a community manager, a blogger, a blogger-networker, a brand ambassador, a social media strategist, an SEO copywriter, a prolific (or OK, a frequent) tweeter, and an addicted jet-setter.
By the time you’re 29, you’ll FINALLY have started your own business and thus will begin an entirely new era of
making shit up figuring shit out.
Understand that Alfred Kinsey piqued your interest this year for good reason.
Sexuality is fluid. Well, ast least yours is, and it’s ok if that’s your truth and not someone else’s. Embrace it. Just because it’s black and white for others doesn’t mean it will be for you. This is going to be a tricky one, dear. While on the one hand you know, you’re not going to really understand what that means for you, your identity, or your prospective dating pool until you get a little older.
Oh, and it will get worse (or at least, overwhelmingly confusing) before it gets better. Your late-20’s self is going to want to time travel back to 2003 and tell you to figure this one out now, for heaven’s sake, but you won’t listen. It’s ok though, because it will get better. You know how to build a support network, and you’re totally going to have that in place when you really go through it later. And you’re going to count your blessings for compassionate friends and a supportive partner in the process.
You’re really going to do some amazing things.
No, really. I know you don’t know this right now, at 20, because you don’t really know who you are yet. You’re kind of a chameleon, easily adapting from one situation to the next, but never really understanding who YOU are and what unique things you bring to the table. It’ll take you years to finally uncover this, but you’ll eventually start to learn. Sometime around age 29 you’re going to learn what a honeybadger is, and why that little rodent really does have it all figured out.
In your late 20’s, you’re going to embrace your love of loud colors (and go back to dying your hair hot pink the way you did in high school), you’re going to stop censoring yourself because you’re afraid something you say might sounds “silly.” You’re going to say things. People are going to laugh with you, agree with you, disagree with you, challenge you, and respect you. Open your mouth. Say what you think. It won’t hurt.
That blog you started on a whim this year? Oh, honey. That’s going to take you places. Over the next nine years, you’re going to quit your job to start your own business, move across the country twice, go for hot air balloon rides, play in apple orchards, eat some of the best food in the country, and visit places like Traverse City, Wenatchee, Reno, and Snoqualmie because of your blog. That same blog is going to introduce you to some of the most mind-blowingly smart and inspiring people all across the world, and you’re going to be lucky enough to call them your friends.
So, date the wrong people (even the good ones in there won’t be able to keep up with you), keep writing those blog posts, daydream your heart out about living out of a suitcase sometimes, pay attention to the people you meet along the way, and go ahead — wear the neon, even if no one else is. Turns out it makes a comeback in 2012, just like you do.
Doniree Walker blogs at doniree.com | champagne with breakfast and living with intention. She is the proud new owner of Eff Yeah Media, a social media consulting services business in Portland, Oregon. In her free time she takes a lot of pictures (mostly of food) and lives to find the balance between happy hour and yoga. You can find her in 140 characters or less @doniree.
What advice would you give your younger self?