Wednesday, August 25, 2010

What advice would you give to your 18 year old self? What would I pass along to my kids?

I was reading an article the other day that posed the question ," If you could go back and give your high school self three words of advice what would it be?" It got me thinking.  I knew right away what I would tell myself.  I’ve made my share of mistakes in my life. I don't live in regrets as I have  learned so much from every single mistake. However, there are a few things I wish I had known when I was graduating from high school and starting out as an adult in life. Which made me think.. .what do I want my children to know as they embark on real life?

"I'd rather regret the things I have done than the things that I haven't ." Lucille Ball
  • It's not what happens to you  but what you do with what happens to you.  We all make mistakes. We all face challenges. We all fall short.  What differentiates us is how we react and act to the situation. Decide to do the right thing for the right reasons .  Remember, your home is a place to safely test the waters and figure out where you need to make turns and adjustments. 
  • Marriage-Love is a verb! It isn't a feeling. Those feelings of euphoria will one day diminish . So,   marry your best friend. The one you couldn't imagine living without. The one that makes you a better person . Then, spend your lifetime loving unconditionally,  serving that person, and laughing often.   If you are wondering IF he's the one-he isn't. 
  • Fund your retirement and don’t withdraw it. This piece of wisdom might seem obvious. And they are. Don’t think I didn’t know this when I was 18. I did. I just didn’t pay it serious attention. Retirement was something I could worry about when I was in my 30s. Well, I’m way past that  now and I wish I could slap that little 18-year-old . What money I could have invested by now! Take $200 dollars a month from the time you are 18 and invest it consistently for the next five years. If you do nothing else you will be a millionaire by retirement.  Note-- DONT STOP!
  • Do what you love and you will never work a day ! Most 18 year olds  have no idea what they want to be when they grow up.  Many  adults still ask themselves that question.  Explore, investigate, and figure out what you love to do.  Ask yourself " what would I do with the next 24 hours if money and time were not and issue?"  In the answer lies your passion! Pursue it believing that you were born with many God given talents ! You can and will make money living out your passion.  Chose what exhilarates you , not what exhausts you.  
  • Most of the things we worry about never happen.  All that stuff that’s stressing you out right now  — it won’t matter in 10 years. I know they seem big right now but they wont later.  All you can do is all you can do.  Give the rest to God in prayer and enjoy life.  Perspective is a good thing to learn
  • .You are an average of the 5 people you spend the most time with.  Profound!!  People pay a huge part of who you are and who you are to become.  Chose wisely. Never put things about them. Your family and  friends with are so much more important than your job or stuff you accumulate . Jobs come and go  and stuff breaks!   The family and friends are the most valuable things in life. 
  • Your kids are going to grow up way faster than you think. Don’t waste a minute.When I had a houseful of sick toddlers and dreamed of running away from home, my mom reminded me.  The days can last forever , in this season of your life, but the years fly by. Cherish them. As my oldest starts grad school, I am reminded how true these words are.  I am thankful for the long conversations in the car about life, the hours of games as a family, the nightly family meals, the laughter, the hugs and the time to pour into my kids before they grew up.
  • ALWAYS eat dinner together.  We have always gathered every night to have dinner together. We sit down together, bless our food, share our food and our lives. I realized the impact this had when my kids refused to eat when their Dad was running late one evening. Speaks volumes. We realized this was not a common practice among families when many of the kids friends showed up at dinnertime -often! They too longed for that time together.... or a good home cooked meal?
  • Put your big girl panties on make it happen!   Whining gets you nowhere. If life is beating you down , have a mini pity party , and then stand up and make it happen.  You are where you are because of the decisions you made. That's the bad news. Good news is you can change it with the decisions you make from here on out.
  • Forget the drama. Focus on being happy. There have been many things that have happened to me that seem like the end of the world. Many almost were.  They caused me to be depressed from time to time.  If I realized that  I could be happy instead if I focused on the positive, on what I did have, and what I could be doing … I could have skipped all the pain and gray hairs.  Happiness is not how we feel it is how we CHOSE to fell. 
  • If it seems to good to be true it probably is!!  I know we are born with an optimism that outweighs our reality.
  •  Commit to spend your life always growing and learning.    Just because you get a degree, or a job, or become a parent, or reach the OLD age of 45 , you are still a living breathing being that needs to grow, learn, and be challenged. Read daily! What an education.  Knowledge is power and it makes you a more interesting person.  Never stop learning.
  • Goals.  Commit to writing down monthly, yearly, and future goals.  Take time to think about WHAT you want your life to look like.  You don't want to turn around in 60 years and wonder how you  ended up there.  You wouldn't go on  a road trip without mapping it out, packing essentials , and preparing for when you get there. I think life is way more important than a weekly vacation.  On that note- vacations are not an option. They are a necessity to your well being. Budget the time and money to take them  as often as you can. Go back and look at your written goals and take note of those you met. You will be surprised.
  • All these mistakes you’re going to make, despite this advice? They’re worth it.  My 18-year-old self would probably have read this post and said, “Good advice!” And then she would have proceeded to make the same mistakes. Life is about learning who you are despite the mistakes.  And that’s what I did, and I don’t regret a minute of it. Every experience , bad choice, and celebration have led me to where I am today. I love where I am today, and wouldn’t trade it for another life for all the world. The pain, the stress, the drama, the hard work, the mistakes, the hangovers, the debt, the fat … it was all worth it. 

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

You have great advice Robin. I have really enjoyed reading your blog and looking at the pictures of your beautiful Family. Thanks so much for sharing this with me. I wish you and your Family all of the Blessings, success, health, and happiness in the world!
Andrea Lagos