As an aged, wise 25-year-old, I’ve acquired such a wide breadth of knowledge, it’s hard to narrow down what I’d tell my younger self to just one, or even two, things (hopefully my sarcasm is noted). So here are some of the things that keep me moving through my 20s, that I wish my younger self might have had some foresight into. (Also, I hear your 30s are supposed to be better. If someone can confirm that, it’d be a big relief for current me).

Starting off with some of the lighter points:

Brace yourself, but you’ll be living in Texas and it will be of your own free will.

Luckily, there will be this magical land called Austin, where your political beliefs will be reassured, there will be plenty of dogs to pet and it will be generally acceptable to do so, and melted cheese will be a part of your daily diet. (Side note: you’re not lactose intolerant, but you’re getting there, so EAT ALL THE CHEESE WHILE YOU STILL CAN.)

Consider finding an employer who will allow you to deposit a portion of your paycheck directly to Target.

Whether you’re feeling sad, happy, or just purely existing, Target will be your Mecca; it’ll be the place that grounds you. Just know that whenever you step into the red and white fortress, you’re most likely going to walk out with at least one new top and at least a hundred dollars lighter.

You’ll still be watching Bravo.

Don’t worry, Bravo is still a channel and Andy Cohen is still the emperor of mindless, yet highly-scripted, reality TV. However, your favorite Real Housewives city will change multiple times, depending on where you are in life. You’ll go through a brief period where Orange County is your favorite city, but don’t be too hard on yourself—we all have low points.

Now the meat and potatoes of what I’d tell lil’ me:

There will always be things that are hard, but your ability to deal with them will get better.

I’d like to say that life gets easier, but sadly, it doesn’t. Sometimes, it will get even more challenging. You’ll feel things you’ve never felt before, both good and bad. You’ll still have panic attacks (womp-womp), but you’ll no longer start physically running from them. You’ll be able to sit and face them.

Just know that with each thing you go through and recover from, it’ll make that next hurdle a little bit easier to jump over. You also won’t have to do things alone, and don’t feel like you have to. Some of the friends you have now will still be there to help support you through the highs and lows, and you’ll have even more pretty amazing people join your corner along the way.

Follow the writing, wherever it takes you.

Worried what you’ll do with that degree in English Language Literature? You should be. Luckily, as your Dad keeps telling you, everyone needs people who can write. Your career in writing might not look like you imagined (being a writer for Rolling Stone hasn’t quite happened yet, but honestly, that’s probably for the best), but the variety will be fun. You know how you know virtually nothing about computers, other than using AIM? Well, you’ll end up working for a tech company! The exposure to the new and unfamiliar is a great thing, trust me.

Things happen for a reason.

You’re going to go through some things and wonder why in the world it’s happening to you. Wonder why you moved to Texas by yourself? Well, there’s going to be a lot of things building up to it, so be grateful for each one that comes along. It might take some time, but eventually you’ll look back on those things and realize they’re what helped you get to where you are—and I’m pretty sure you’re going to like where you end up.

  • At 25 I had just started my IT career and had no idea of where it would lead.  Now I'm just over 50 and can look back at 25 years of interesting times, worked for 21 different companies (most as a contractor) in almost every industry, travelled the world (sometimes for work) and pretty much completed what most people would consider a mad bucket list.  Here's to the next 25 years and good luck with yours.

  • I love seeing the difference between what each of us would write to a younger self.  As I stifle the patronizing and trite thoughts and comments that want to boil out of my fingertips to provide unrequested advice and commentary, it causes me gratitude to you for your writing.  I wish I were 25 again, facing your life and problems and hopes and dreams.  At 59, I see and remember much, and I'll just sit on those observations.  You have a wonderful life to live--make it count!

  • My situation was a little different.  At 25 I knew kinda what I wanted to do... i was wrapping up my studies in Computer Science and starting out doing networking on a few of the biggest networks for Uncle Sam.  I didn't realize it at the time but things eventually came full circle.  One thing's for sure... even in IT... someone has do document and write things down in a way other people can understand.  Also one really important area is the bridging of the gap between business people and IT people.  It may sound simple but it's much more important and difficult than it sounds.  Many people here on thwack I know didn't start out doing technology in school.

    What’s the Difference Between Doing What You Like & Liking What You Do?

    I think the key to happiness is finding a way to both do what you like and like what you do.  If you can find both it's hard to not find satisfaction in your career.

  • I really like that story and the sentiment. Thank you for taking the time to read my post and sharing such meaningful feedback!

  • Thank you! I'm sure I'll be at 50 before I know it, but I'm looking forward to who I'll be and what I'll know by then.