The other day I got an email from DW reader Veritek33 that inspired this question: If you could go back in time to ten years ago, what advice would you give your younger self? Ten years ago I was 27 (that’s me in the photo exactly ten years ago), living alone in Chicago, going to grad school for something I didn’t think I wanted to do (teach English), and dating a guy I’d just met a few weeks earlier and would date for nearly a year. This month, ten years ago, was significant because I started blogging, which has led to all sorts of opportunities and revelations, most of which have been pleasant and welcome, that I never would have expected.
When I think back to where I was 10 years ago, it’s with bittersweetness that I remember that time. It was exciting and scary and anxious and sometimes lonely. I was on the cusp of some of the most important moments and meetings and discoveries of my life, but I didn’t know it. I was racked with self-doubt and a lot of worry about my future (and my present). Both my love life and my school/career situation would consume most of my thoughts over the next, well, several years, but the next two years would prove to be especially challenging in those areas. On the friendship front and the fitness front, and in just overall well-being in other aspects of my life, things were great. (Well, except for finances). I had a wonderful circle of friends and plenty of time to devote to them. I lived close to the lake, and I loved spending tons of time at the beach and going swimming and jogging and bike riding. In many ways, life was good.
If I could go back in time ten years and give myself advice, this is what I would say:
1. Three months is enough time to see if a relationship “works.” If it’s not working by the end of three months, MOA.
2. You have free tuition and a monthly stipend through your research assistantships. If you still need money to live on, either live more frugally or get a job. Taking out 40K in student loans that you don’t need for a degree you aren’t even sure you’re going to use is fucking stupid.
3. If you’re going to go into that kind of debt, at least spend it doing some great traveling and not blowing it all on dumb shit, like clothes you’ll only wear a season and too many nights out.
4. Wear sunscreen every day on every bit of exposed skin.
5. Don’t spend too much time dissecting negative internet comments. Just MOA.
6. Trust your gut more.
7. Don’t volunteer to be a hair model for student stylists.
What advice would you give yourself ten years in the past?