Advice I Would Give to Myself from a Year Ago

Because let’s face it, we could all have done better with ‘A Guide to 2020’

Another year has come to an end and what a glorious year it was. Everything that could have gone wrong, did. I don’t know if COVID not being a thing could have changed how life turned out in the end (it probably could have), and I don’t know if life right now is for the better (it usually is). 2020 was what it was and there were many lessons to take from it- but I think I speak for a lot of people when I say that this was not fun learning. Calculus used to be fun learning, but this was not. The lessons did give me some wisdom and I am excited about becoming even wiser as we sail through 2021 (let’s sail through without turbulence this time, yeah?), but I do sometimes wonder if things could have been less extreme and if that would have given me the same lessons.

  1. Stop Stressing About The Tiny Things. Things will either f*ck up or go how you want them to no matter what you do. So you could either stress out about it and hate life all the time, or you could chill out, love life and then when things go tits up, be disappointed before starting to chill again. Life is hard enough without us stressing out, so why make it worse?
  2. Communicate and tap your full network. If you want something, just say it. No matter how ridiculous you think it is. You would be amazed at how much you can get just by asking for it and using your entire network of help at work and at home. It’s true that no man is an island, so to get through life you do need the support of as many people as you can get, even though it’s you that ultimately steers the wheel of your life.
  3. Socialise. It’s a no brainer, but even one evening a week spent with a group of people you genuinely like, laughing together, sharing food and drink (probably not in 2020 because salivary exchanges lead to disease), letting loose, and being a little bit silly will go a long way to keep your sanity in check.
  4. People are Disappointing, But All They Really Want is Love. I don’t want to hate on people, and I don’t mean the needy, codependent kind of love. Nobody should need that. I mean the love and respect of friends, family and significant others. Nobody is born to be a bitch or a douchebag. Life makes them that way. Insecurities turn people into bitches and douchebags. Experience turns them into what they are. No one can judge someone for their insecurities or bad experiences, because we all have them. What we can do is treat everyone with love and respect because at the end of the day that’s all anybody wants and needs. It may turn out that they were not worthy of our love and respect but at least we gave them what they deserve- a chance.
  5. Words Mean Nothing if the Actions Don’t Match. Sure, give people a chance, maybe even a second chance, but if their words continue to outshine their actions, it’s time to say goodbye and move on. It’s hard, for sure; it takes next level strength of the mind to be able to move on from something or someone you love who you know has the potential to be something or someone special in your life if they tried, but if their actions continue to disappoint you, additional chances are overrated. Let their actions demonstrate what their words mean.
  6. You Can’t Change People. It’s not your job, and frankly, none of your business. If someone is a certain way, let them be. You might think they have the potential to be better and as a friend you should provide them the push they need and all the support you possibly can to help them be the best version of themselves. But ultimately, the choice to change rests with them and it’s none of your business to want to change them or fix them if they don’t want it for themselves. They know themselves better.
  7. Nothing is stronger than your gut. Provided you eat your fibre. I’m kidding, I don’t mean your actual gut (although do eat your fibre for gut health). I mean the little voice in your head that tells you off when you’re being a dick, or laughing at you when you mess up, or cringing at you when you say something cheesy to a crush. That little voice in your head is your smarter self, the one that sees things as they are, black or white, no grey. It’s like your very own Spock, seeing only logic. Trust that voice. Do what it tells you. That voice knows best and subconsciously you know that but you want to believe that ‘maybe this time it’s wrong’. Trust me, it’s never wrong.
  8. At the end of it, it’s you for yourself. Don’t get me wrong, never underestimate the strength of a powerful support system that includes your friends and family. But friends and family are on the outside of your thoughts and ideas. They don’t know you like you know you. The only person that can take care of you, fix you, help you get through the mess in the world, is you. Trust your friends and family to be there for you but in the end, the person that can take the best care of you is you. So take good care of yourself. Do what’s best for you. Unless it involves crime.

Musings of a 20-something old in this big scary world. I use humour as a coping mechanism and it shows.