Things I wish I knew at 21
As of today, I'm exactly 31 years and 1 month old.
You'd think I'd be 'essentially freaking out' by now.
You would be right.
A decade ago I'm not sure, if even I, had planned to be 31, single and still without a 'goal in life' to speak of. But here I am, exactly that but somehow not 'freaking out'. Is that an appropriate response?
Its not that I'm calm or content. Definitely not that. I am more 'accepting of difficult situations and people as natural process of life' and less 'God hates me and thats why he's putting me through this.' Its not maturity as such. I am just less naive and a little more gutsy now than when I was at 21 and opefully a little more capable of handling chaos. Is that how most women feel in their 30s? or are they supposed to wish they were 20, which I definitely don't?
Sure, I look back to my 20s with fondness and little nostalgia. At the same time, I just wish when I was, say 21, someone had told me these 7 things to save myself some precious time and wasted energy.
1. You are at least ten times prettier and thinner than you think you are.
I say this , not to sing my own praise but, out of a very objective analysis of these pics of me with my friends. Even with unfortunate fashion sense, we look beautiful and radiant with a glow that only a 21 can have without makeup or done up hair. I vividly recall how obsessed I was about my weight and thinking it to be the ONLY reason guys were not falling over themselves to ask me out. Clearly it was not so. I wasn't skinny but you know I wasn't as fat as I thought I was either!
2. If you don't have it all yet, pretend like you do.
I'm talking about faking confidence. All those jobs that I didn't apply for or dates I didn't go on because I thought I wasn't knowledgeable enough or interesting enough, all I had to do is pretend that I was and not be nervous or afraid. Believe that I am capable. A few times of pretending and you know what? It disappears!
3. Take care of your skin and hair every single day.
"Make sure you remove the day's makeup every night, get facials and use oil treatments for hair at least once a month",my mother used to say. She might have been wrong about the benefits of toner (none) but she was right about the rest!
4. Wish you could learn to dance or ride a bike? Start now! Its NEVER too late.
This one holds true for all ages. At 21, you are quite self-conscious and worried that your friends will think you are lame. So you pass out on so many opportunities to learn things outside your school curriculum, some of it even offered for free! I have lost count on the number of times I hesitated in front of postings on dance classes by the athletic centre or camera club meetings at the Hart House. I should have just gone in!
5. Pay attention to your body. If you feel ill and you know you don't have a physical reason to be, you are probably in a situation that you shouldn't be.
We underestimate the importance of emotional health in this society. You might be able to ignore what your mind and/or your friends and family are saying about a bad situation for a while. But if its making you unhappy for a long time, eventually your body will start to show it and you will not be able to ignore it.
6. Feeling impatient and not being very nice to people ? You just need a snack.
This one is just like #5 only on a smaller scale. It could be just me but I'm beginning to think its a woman thing. Irritability not because of PMS but low blood sugar. It doesn't have to be a meal, just some sugar for your brain cells cause they are tired. Now I keep a cereal bar or gum with me at all times.
7. Your parents were wrong. Friends ARE as important as family.
Like many other opinions of theirs about career goals (What can you do with a Biology degree!) this one was very wrong as well. Great friendships are something to treasure and who says you can't be friends with your family as well?!
- Being all girly/woman is not as sign of weakness.
- You can't be good at everything
- Dating is not for finding 'The One' but to find out 'if you are The One for someone'
Pearls of wisdom ? Hardly.
But you know, it would have helped!