Today I sit in my sleepless state having had only a few hours of sleep last night, thinking about what I wish I had of known when I was 20 years old. I would say 18, but who I was at 18 was a stubborn, selfish, person that believed that I could do what I wanted to because I was 18 and no longer living under momma’s roof and momma’s rules. Funny how your perception changes as you age. Yet, here I am, 33, strong willed, yet more compassionate than I was at the age of 20. At 20, I still thought I knew more than anyone else, but my world was crumbling around me and I did not have the vision to see that what was going on may have been the best thing to happen to me in a long time. It is one of those moments when you don’t see God opening the window when he has shut the door. See that is what happens when you marry at 18, have a baby at 19, and don’t set goals for yourself. 20 was rough, 20 was everything that I had not wished for it to be so if I could sit down with my younger self, this is what I would tell her, yell at her.
- Take a deep breath. Life is too short and you are whizzing by at warp speed missing the roses and wild flowers.
- It wasn’t meant to be. If what you are fighting so fiercely for were meant to be, it would be happening, you wouldn’t be on the outside looking in. You would not be fighting to keep it intact and things would be wonderful.
- Be a wonderful parent, not an indulgent parent, a supportive parent. Teach your daughter boundaries and help her reach for the sky. You have two more that will join you eventually.
- Speak up for yourself. Open your mouth and speak up for yourself. Do not be afraid to tell people what you think, feel, want, or don’t want. If you are silent, you are telling someone that you agree with their position and that is just not always true. Speak up for yourself.
- Go to school. Be serious about your education. Don’t look at it as something to do while you wait for something else to come along.
- Have patience….know that with God, anything is possible, but sometimes, you have to be silent and wait. Waiting is good. It’s when you have time to center yourself and work on you.
- There is more in the world than what you see on T.V. Don’t wait so late in life to enjoy the world around you. You know the beauty of nature, but you need to get to know the beauty of the world. Travel….
- BUDGET!!! I know it’s a dirty word. But if you budget and save, your worries will be few when times get hard.
- You are stronger than you think. You are a strong person, there will be test and trials that will come your way and you will handle them like a champ.
- Hold tight to your faith. Know what you believe, believe what you believe, and don’t let anyone tell you that what you believe is wrong.
Had I known these lessons at 20, I might have done a few things differently, I’m not going to say everything differently. At 20, I had no clue of what my life could be. I had no clue that I would in my 30’s be invited to Washington, DC to talk about Education, Poverty, Vaccinations, or anything of the like. I had not clue that I would meet wonderful men and women that would help me see what my mission in life is. I may not be wealthy monetarily, but I am wealthy with the friends from around the world that I have made over the past three years alone. Life is so short, living it to the fullest is what I aim to do. People change, directions change, and I know that the direction that my life has begun to take me on is priceless and is where I want to be because in those moments, I feel quite fulfilled. Many opportunities come my way and this is one thing that I do know, as long as I take them, as long as I do social good, as long as I look out for my fellow man, my needs and the needs of my children will be met. Our needs will be taken care of. This is something I did not know at 20 and probably could have saved myself a few gray hair.
So at 33 years old, I feel like the world is wide open and it’s mine for the taking. I feel like I can do anything and that God has my back. I have supportive friends and family that believe in me enough to support my endeavors and to believe that I can achieve greatness. I’m more mature, stronger, and more honest with myself than I was at 20. That voice inside my head that I could not is saying I can. So if I were talking to my 20 year old self today, I would say, “You idiot…you don’t realize how truly great you really are!”