What advice would you give your 20 year old self? A Facebook friend recently posed the question, and rather glibly, I responded “Put the Oreos down. They are not your friends”. Most everyone else wrote more serious life lessons they’d learned about balance in life, career strategies, or personal relationships. One guy wrote “floss” – I think we’d hit it off.
But this question has stayed on my mind and I find myself contemplating, “what would I have been better off knowing then, had I been willing to listen”.
Like probably all other people my age, I have had to juggle serious family health issues, work challenges and finding the balance between a totally satisfying life and one that allowed me to make mortgage payments! They didn’t always go hand in hand for me.
I still work occasionally with college students or recent grads and they can drive me nuts with their ideologies and their exuberance at problem solving, teamwork, and other work place challenges. And this also holds true as they work out personal relationships, and make life decisions.
But then I quickly remember about my own opportunities to contribute along the way, or how I felt when that wasn’t part of a work environment. And if we didn’t have the 20 something’s energy and excitement about the future and eagerness to make contributions, we run the risk of complacency or worse yet, being stuck with a bunch of curmudgeons trying to one up each other on the curmudgeon-meter. I know this too well, trust me.
So my advice about the Oreos still holds, unless we put it in a broader context that says take care of your health – physically, mentally, emotionally. Since I have an ongoing love affair with the crème filled chocolate sandwich cookie, I’m using them to help me summarize the advice I could have benefited from (or listened to).
- Listen to older people when they give you advice. They’ve figured out what works. (sort of like the original Oreos.)
- When you are in a toxic relationship (like white chocolate covered, double stuffed Oreos), leave.
- When you are in a rut (like eating an entire package of Oreos), you might want to switch it up a bit (like trying Golden Oreos).
- When something is worth having and important to you (like Mint Oreos), be prepared to work harder, be persistent, and don’t quit.
- Find what you love, (like double stuffed Oreos) and devote yourself to it.
- Don’t settle for something that isn’t going to make you happy. (Like Reduced Fat Oreos)
And probably, the most important advice I’d give is don’t ever take the ones you love for granted. When you’re mad at your mom (or dad, or boyfriend) and you can’t find the words “I love you”, go for the hug. And then pour yourself a glass of milk and have one Oreo, because moderation is the key. Oops, another piece of advice I’d give.
So I pose the question to you. What advice would you give your 20-24 year old self?
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