5 HARD TRUTHS FOR MY 22 YEAR OLD SELF
I've always been driven and clever enough to manoeuvre myself through society, but I think we've all been through points in our life where we're maybe a little lost, eager to fit in and not really sure of how to make anything work in our favour. So, speaking as a 29 year old woman who's been through most of the life experiences the world has to offer someone in their 20's, I thought I'd have a stern talking to my 22 year old self.
Get ready for some hard truths. Here are 5 things I wish I'd known when I was 22:
Don't mess around with your health, you only get one shot at it
A poor diet and lack of exercise takes five times as long to reverse as it does to create. Smoking and excessive drinking won't benefit you in the future and it can negatively impact every area of your life, from family, to career, to your social life. Eat real foods, you know that processed foods will mess up your health so put them down. You know that you should be exercising so start doing it. Start small if you need too, cut down slowly if that works for you, but health is simple, don't complicate it in the future by not paying attention to it now.
Not everyone will like you and there's nothing you can do about it
Some personalities just clash, some people just dislike others for no reason, some people get jealous and turn on you, some people will hate you because other people like you. This is all part of being an adult in a social world. You can't make everyone your friend no matter how hard you try. It sucks and it gets hard but it's unavoidable. When someone dislikes you, consider the reason they don't like you, evaluate it. If it's nonsense, dismiss it and move on. Don't take it personally. Pick your true friends, your reliable colleagues and trustworthy associates. Anyone who doesn't fit into these categories deserves a civil relationship from your side, but what they choose to give back is out of your control.
Save your money and save it now
For most people, your money will never be as disposable as it is in your 20's. Don't waste it. If you want a vacation, save for it, don't put it on a credit card. Feeling like you've got a little FOMO*? Suppress it and throw that money in the bank. If you enter your 30's with massive debt, the chances of you keeping that debt for an excess of 15 years are incredibly high. Where as the time it takes to clear a 10k debt in your 20's is approximately 4 years. Save a portion of your salary every week/fortnight/month and don't touch it. Live within your means. If you earn $600 a week, don't spend any more than $600 a week and make sure a part of that is savings.
Your opinion can change and it's okay to be wrong
You won't learn anything from anyone if you're not open to their opinions, and the fact that what you're preaching could possibly be wrong. Not only that, but you can't learn to debate diplomatically if you get hot-headed and in-cohesive during arguments. If someone has a valid point, honour it and then debate it if you feel you need too. Be open to learning and switching sides in a discussion, you're not always right and you're not supposed to be.
People won't take your career seriously yet
It's not because you're still baby-faced, it's not because you're a man/woman, it's purely because they know more than you do and they've been doing it a lot longer. They've been climbing the career ladder since you were in primary school. You need to earn your place. Learn from your peers, listen to their advice and guidance. The more receptive you are, the faster you'll climb. You're not too good to get coffee, you're simply at the bottom of the ladder and rightfully so. Give it a few years, work your ass off, and earn your place.
*FOMO = Fear of missing out.