What would you say to your 20-year-old self?
A few days ago, I celebrated a special birthday (actually every year is special, but this was special special) so I thought I’d share some of the things I’d say today to my 20-year-old self:
1) When you say that you are moving to a new country for a year before returning “home”, most of the time this turns out not to be the case. Temporary can easily become more permanent – and once you’re an expat, you’ll never see the world through the same eyes.
2) Go on that gap year! Don’t worry about having to finish your studies exactly at the age of 22 (even if I’d been a 23-year-old graduate, I would still have been young!).
3) Having lots of people around you is not the most important thing. Many of these “friends” are actually acquaintances. It is far more important to be surrounded by people who truly care for you; as Marlene Dietrich once said. “It is the friends you can call at 4 AM that matter…”
4) Choose a profession that makes you happy to get up in the morning. There I made a great decision!
5) It’s a great choice to fall in love… crazily, madly, absolutely, with the innocence and the passion of youth and without worrying about commitments and life plans! Just pure, deep passion and falling in love!
6) In a relationship you can be apart (whether emotionally or geographically) for a period of time and then come closer again, just like an accordion… but you can still play beautiful music together. Going through a difficult time doesn’t necessarily mean it is the end of the relationship – it may just be a phase! If this person matters to you, stay on your game and listen to his/her music! It took me a decade to emotionally grasp this, even though I could understand it logically!
7) In those moments you feel you won’t make it through or when it’s simply all too much, you will be surprised by the strength you have within! Also, it’s not worth expending your energy on the little things that can ruin a day. There are more important things in life to focus on! Focus!
8) Remember, we are only passengers in this life and this knowledge should be our compass when making decisions; choose what you enjoy the most… simply try to feel good!
9) Don’t say, “There is always a next time.” Sometimes this isn’t true: some chances you have to grab, or you lose them. Be wise, be smart and seize your chance!
10) Take on board all of the above! ?
Now, I would love to hear from you. What would you say to your 20-year-old self?
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8 commentsWrite a comment
Knowing you personally and being able to “read behind the words” really made me want to comment on your article by saying that this is truly such an honest and emotional confession from your part!
What you wrote really felt intimate.
As for what I would say, I admit I was so different back then in so many ways that I will just summarize everything in only one sentence: “Most things in life are a matter of perspective; the moment you change your perspective, you become a completely different person”.
At least, that worked for me. ðŸ˜‰
Thank you so much for your comment and sharing your thoughts!
Your words touch my heart… Thank you!
Good tip you shared with us Maria and indeed it is a matter of perspective!
I would say one thing to my 20-year-old self: “Try to become independent as soon as possible, in order to be able to rely on yourself economically and emotionally as much as possible.” For me this is the key to feel strong and confident so as not to be afraid of changes and difficulties.
Thanks for your comment and sharing your thought. Indeed becoming more independent and emotionally resilient is a key to face life’s challenges.
All the best
That is pretty nice article. Actually touched lots of things in my heart.
Concerning friends, I had been for quite some time with friends who never care about me. When I did not call, they never called. When I asked them to meet for a nice day, they never came unless they have someone else with them, and if this one would not join, they will never join me for a special day. I used to create myself many excuses for them (actually to keep them close to me) but they never deserved that. And I discovered you may know 100 but your good friends are 2!!!! Bad but fact.
I used to work in a club as tennis coach (completely different than my current job) and never felt like this is ME. I said several times how on Earth I will continue doing this for life? Then when I worked in my current career in oil industry (very interesting job that touched my heart since I was in the university) I said, this is my real life job. And really you are happy everyday walking up.
LOVE: It is all about someone who cares about you. Call you when no one else would ask. A nice girl to live with is the only thing that I was looking for one day. And life would have no taste if there is no LOVE…..INDEED.. I felt every single day with no love like a year.
A chance you should never mess: It is the time to move to a new job, or moving to a new country or even a chance for a LOVE. Sometime if you would miss it, you have lost what would never come back.
Very interesting article!
Thanks for your comment and sharing your thoughts and feelings with us in the Expat Nest community.
I love the way you describe your insights and that it all goes back to love! Indeed how important and priceless.
Many thanks and kind regards,
This article spoke to my heart! I really agree with everything above.
Thanks for reminding me of those things Vivian.
Thank you for your feedback!