Having recently reached a milestone birthday, I found myself pondering the past. When I think about all the guys I spent so much time pining for, all the heartache, I wish I knew what I know now. When I think about the job opportunities that didn’t pan out, that I spent hours beating myself up over, I wish I could talk to my 20-something year-old self. When I think about family and the friends I’ve made over the years, I wish I knew then what I know now.
If I could go back and talk to my younger self, I would impart these words of wisdom:
If he doesn’t love you back, it’s not because you’re not good enough. Without realizing it, we tend to project a lot of our dreams and expectations on people. I can see that now. It’s easy to feel bad when you like someone who doesn’t feel the same way, but that doesn’t mean you’re not enough. You are more than enough. He’s just not the right one for you. Or he might wind up being gay, which has happened to me not once, but twice!
If he doesn’t feel the same way about you, you may look back later and realize you were spared. I can think of several instances now, years later, when I realize I was indeed, spared. There are guys I spent so much time and energy pining over who I have since run into and realized what a mistake it would’ve been if I’d ever been in a relationship with them. Sometimes it takes time and distance to truly realize, “My God, what was I thinking?”
You can’t make somebody love you. I was once so pathetic that I actually read a book called “How To Make a Man Love You” or some such nonsense. But I can’t be the only pathetic one because there are SO many books with titles like this in the self-help section. I’m sure both men and women buy them. Another time I remember buying some voodoo powder that you’re supposed to sprinkle in the air to attract love. I bought pheromone perfume at Victoria’s Secret. I bought an unflattering color of eyeshadow because the salesgirl told me, “He will see you wearing this and fall in love with you.” I will tell you now: all this is total rubbish. And seriously, you shouldn’t have to work hard to make someone love you.
The truth about love. I remember once leafing through a women’s magazine at the hairdresser’s and read (I’m paraphrasing here),”If he’s the wrong guy, you can buy the most stylish clothes, the best-smelling perfume, be charming and funny and witty… and he won’t care. If he’s the right guy, you can have spinach in your teeth and your skirt on backwards and he’ll think you’re adorable.” I have found that to be 100% true.
If you didn’t get that job of your dreams, it wasn’t meant for you. You gave a great interview… or so you thought. So what happened? Why did someone else land that job you just know you were right for?! Because it wasn’t meant for you. The plus side: you were meant for something better. Believe that.
If you didn’t get that job you so wanted, you may have been spared. There were a number of jobs I had really, really wanted, but later found out were complete nightmare situations. Insane hours, abusive bosses, you name it. I have found that not getting a particular job may have been a gift in the long run.
Sometimes we get sidetracked and those paths we go down take us where we’re really meant to go. John Lennon once famously quipped, “Life is what happens when you’re busy making plans.” This applies to jobs, relationships, and anything else we *wish* we had total control over.
Choose wisely. It’s easy to attract friends when you’re on top of the world. But the friends who truly care about you will be there for you through thick and thin.
Sometimes friends “break up.” It can be a very painful loss. But sometimes friends find their way back to each other, too. And those relationship can be stronger because of this.
Your friends won’t always be there. When you’re young, you think you’re invincible. When you get older, you realize this just isn’t true. This past year, I lost two friends: one to cancer, one to a car accident. So appreciate your friends while you have them. Sometimes we move away from each other, have families or get busy with work. In short, things change. But with Facebook, texting, email and FaceTime, there are many ways to keep your friendships strong.
Your family won’t always be there. Cherish them while they are still on this earth. Forgive them for their weaknesses and faults and appreciate what they have done right.
BUT MOST OF ALL… If I could go back and talk to my younger self, I’d say: you have worth and you’re doing great. Stop agonizing over every little thing and trust the process.
What would you go back and tell your younger self?