10 things I’d tell my 19 year old self

10 things I’d tell my younger self – learnings from a wise 35 year old

It’s funny when you grow up and think of when your parents would give you advise and you didn’t listen.

Do I wish I had? Yes, but there are also elements when I think back and wish I’d argued a point. Although, I wasn’t allowed to argue with my parents!

Why 19? 19 was my favourite age! My Dad was still alive, we had a beautiful house we’d built in the country, I had a solid groups of friends, I went out most nights and had a great time, I had a career, I wasn’t short of boyfriends and I was always happy. I hadn’t experienced what life throws at people; grief, job loss, financial worries. I was a very lucky young lady.

I often reflect on the advice I was given and think about what advice I’d have given myself at that age.

#1 Think for yourself

Listen to others, do ‘research’ so you can make an informed decision, but most importantly don’t let other’s opinions hinder your own thinking.

#2 Time really does fly

When you were younger, like me, I’m sure your parents and grand parents often spoke about time flying. It wasn’t something I had grasped until I hit my 30’s. When you’re busy at work and you’ve got friends and family, things going on with your house, pets and trying to squeeze in time for holidays, time really does fly. Don’t make every day merge into the next. Make the most of your youth. Be adventurous. Do things you don’t like to try them out.

#3 Have personal life goals

Bearing in mind time does fly, think about what you want to achieve in your life and start putting them into goals. I always said by the time I was 35 I wanted to own my own restaurant. It was going to be called ‘Chubby’s’. I haven’t reached that goal. My career took at turn at the age of 21, from being trained in hospitality and running a 150-seater restaurant with a team of 35, to working in PR. I always wanted to be my own boss though, so I guess part of that has worked out.

# 4 You can do anything if you put your mind to it

I was always encouraged to be better and do well. My family and even my friends really believed in me. I did too, to an extent. I’ve always had a bit of an entrepreneurial way, I always wanted to be independent. I started working at the age of 13, washing dishes in a local coffee shop. I then said I didn’t want pocket money anymore as I was earning.

The only barrier to do doing and achieving something you want is yourself. If you don’t stop, think and come up with a plan for how to get there, you’re not going to get there. Nothing is impossible. The word impossible actually says ‘I’m possible’.

#5 Look after yourself – your health and wellbeing

I woke up when I was 25 and wondered how I could have put on two stone over night. How on earth did that happen? Life took over. I was working hard, still going out every night but I didn’t realise that my fitness had dropped and I wasn’t eating healthily. I was eating food that was quick to make because I was onto the next thing.

Your health and wellbeing is essential if you’re going to carry on living an active life and indeed fruitful life. The advise I’d have given myself is to pick one sport and stick with it, even if it was only once or twice a week. I was so active at school. I was in every sports team going – swimming, tennis, hockey and athletics. I left school at 16 and didn’t bother to carry on with any of my favourite activities. It hadn’t struck me, being only 16, that I could join a club and carry on.

Eating and indeed cooking great food is a passion. But remember – everything in moderation.

There has to be a balance…of everything.

#6 Figure out what you love

Cars, animal, design, food – what do you love to do? Now, think about what careers you can make out of the things you love?

Got it? Now, go and do it!

Don’t work if you’re not happy and you get the dread every morning. Working in an area you love will make life more fulfilling.

#7 Have a hobby

Don’t wait until you’re 70 and realise you’ve been so busy working, looking after family, being busy and then realise you have no hobbies. Hobbies keep you active, happy and when you retire you’ve got something to do.

#8 Don’t change

Not for anyone.

#9 Don’t burn out

Work is important and of course essential but if you burn out, you’ll be ineffective and no use to anyone.

It’s important to reflect on your current work situation and workload. It’s up to you to manage yourself. Holidays, although they seem like they cause more work on return, are essential. Change of scenery and recharge the batteries.

And finally

#10 Make the changes you need to make

Don’t feel pressurised to carry on as normal if you’re unhappy. I’ve seen many young couples split up because they aren’t happy in the early years of their marriage. I’ve seen people make complete u-turns in their career because they realised what they were doing didn’t make them happy.

It’s important to realise that you don’t need to put up with something. You can make the change and you can make your life more fulfilling. Don’t just go with the flow because ‘you’ve made your bed and now you can lie in it’.

If you’re inspired by someone and you want to achieve what they have done, don’t let circumstances or people hold you back. Saying that, don’t ignore those around you, family and loved ones. They are there to support you whatever happens. Talk to them. If you’re going through a rough time it helps to talk, no matter how hard it might seem. It may even be the relief you need.

No-one is going to do it for you. You’re in charge of your life.

If I could tell me younger self what I know now, I may have made different decisions. Reflective blog posts like this are great for putting life thoughts and experiences into advice for others.

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