I was recently asked what is the best advice I have ever received. I couldn’t narrow it down to one bit of advice because advice has always been like interacting with my child: it is always around, it is not always welcome, sometimes I’ll ignore it, and sometimes it changes my life drastically for the better. Advice seems to come from every direction these days with all of the “self-help” books and “improvement podcasts” and well-intentioned friends and family and internet therapists with some well-designed advice meme. How do I choose what has influenced and helped me the most when some of the best advice did not impact me until I was in a place to receive it? How do I choose the best-advice I have ever received when I am a million different people from one day to the next?
I have seen the “30 Things to Tell Your Younger Self” or “30 Bits of Advice for Women Under 30” articles for a few years now. And since I am nearing 30 *gasp*, I think I’ll hop on this bus and provide some of the BEST advice I have received from friends, teachers, parents, lovers, enemies, and myself. It won’t be 30 because ain’t nobody got time for that.
Leave people better than you found them. Build them up, teach them something, comfort them, and make them more complete than how you found them. There is no reason someone should look back at your interactions with them and feel anything less than heightened and grateful.
Don’t let the world harden your heart. This world is harsh and full of less than ideal realities. It doesn’t take much to let a bad experience harden you to the good in the world. Be soft, be malleable, and be open to rediscovering that good.
Acknowledge your pain. Just because someone else has had it worse doesn’t mean what has happened to you doesn’t matter. Your pain can be valid without undermining others’ pain.
You are one decision away from changing your life forever. This is as freeing as it is terrifying because you might not always be changing your life in a positive way. You’re driving the bus here. Good luck.
Never, especially as a woman, rely on anyone else for money or a place to live. I cannot stress this enough. Never be in a position that allows someone else to dictate your life because you are concerned about your livelihood.
Don’t wait to address a physical ailment. That injury you ignore when you are 20? You are going to regret not fixing it properly when you are 30. Fix it right the first time. Your pride won’t carry your toddler around when you’re older.
Women are not your competition. There are so many badass women out there. We need each other’s support. I think this realization, after years of getting pitted against other women in the Marine Corps, impacts me the most daily.
Everyone is coming from a different place of understanding, pain, and emotional intelligence. Recognize your place in your own journey in relation to others in their journey. Always listen more than you talk.
RTFM (read the fucking manual). Google it. Try every way possible. You can spend hours bugging someone or you can get your hands dirty and learn it yourself. I guarantee you will learn more figuring it out yourself.
Conversely, don’t be afraid to ask for help. Other people can be so much smarter than you.
You’re going to fuck up. All we can do is keep trying.
Have your own relationship with food. Some people thrive on 4500 calories a day and some people eat water and vegan Oreos. Just because other people are eating five meals a day doesn’t mean you have eat with them. Listen to your body and eat mindfully.
Don’t be ashamed by what you like in bed (unless it involves animals or children and then fuck you). There are too many people in the world for you to be ashamed of liking something strange in bed. Be honest about what you like, because I PROMISE YOU someone out there wants to give it to you.
Don’t waste your time finishing a book/show/movie that you aren’t loving. Life is too short to suffer through shitty entertainment.
“No” is enough. No other explanation of your dissent is necessary. Stand your ground and respect your own boundaries. How can others respect your boundaries if you don’t respect them yourself?
Invest in quality items: a great bed, blackout curtains, solid luggage, and a great knife. Some things make your life worse if you choose to be cheap.
You don’t have to be broken to go to therapy.
When you feel down, get outside of both yourself and your house. Get into nature, interact with people, and connect with the world. You are so small compared to the world so don’t get that tunnel vision into your own misery.
Keep up with technology. It makes life easier and you can be so much more productive.
Always be unapologetically you. The ones who accept the authentic you are the ones you want to have around. The world is too big for fake friends.
Learn how to take criticism, because real friends will give it. Look for friends who hold you to a higher standard.
Do what sets your soul on fire. And I mean ON FIRE! Run the beach at sunset, dance, read, create, play, and connect. The only thing keeping you from enjoying everything in your life is you. Breathe in deep and experience the world.
Stop thinking the world has to be one way. Make the world and your experience your own.
Don’t dip your quill in the office inkwell. 😅
Thank you to everyone who has shared their wisdom with me! What is the best advice you’ve received?