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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© Vivian Chiona

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