I was recently contacted by the author of a blog called At Twenty One. It collects advice from people about what they would tell their 21 year old self. There are some great nuggets on there from people of all walks of life. I was honoured to be asked. Pondering what I would tell myself at 21 definitely got my brain whirring, so I present to you my advice for 21 year olds who are in need of a little guidance.
Find a mentor and be open to learning and guidance
This is the piece of advice I shared with At Twenty One blog. I wish I’d have thought to do this when I was younger. Actually, I wish I’d even known about the concept of mentoring. I would’ve definitely sought out someone I could learn from, who could give me the kind of real world guidance that doesn’t come from your university course. I make a point of mentoring young women now as I think it’s so beneficial to have someone who’s been there and done it, to be able to talk and relate to and hash out any problems with.
You don’t know it all
I look back now and cringe at how I was in my early 20s. I really thought I had it all figured out. To say I was cocky would be a massive understatement. I thought all those two week long ‘internships’ I’d done actually amounted to me being entitled to some respect and a decent job. Boy, was I wrong! At that point, you could probably have written what I actually knew about the industry I wanted to work in on the back of a stamp. The learning starts when university finishes. Forget the education side of it – what you know about LIFE at this point is pretty much nil. You’re still developing emotionally – shit, we’re ALL still developing emotionally er’ry damn day. It’s worth remembering that when you make the mistake of thinking you have it all figured out.
Find your identity outside of a relationship
It’s real nice to be coupled up with someone. And sure, some of those relationships that you have when you’re 19/20 actually last the distance – most though, don’t. It’s rare to meet high school sweethearts who are still rockin’ together in their 40s and beyond. Many may disagree with me, but personally I’d say don’t get too serious with anyone in your late teens/early twenties. These are massively important formative years. I think it’s especially true of young girls that they can get entirely too caught up in their relationships and forget to focus on their own path.
Discovering who you are, independent of your significant other, is vital. If your relationship provides the support system in which you’re able to do that, more power to you and rock on, but in my experience, that’s something that comes with maturity. I’m not saying don’t have the relationship – just make sure you know who you are outside of it. Don’t let it define you.
Be open to life’s curve balls
You might have a life plan and when you least expect it, life will be all like ‘NOPE! That ain’t happening!’ and will throw you something you never expected. It might be a tough experience or an amazing opportunity, but you’ve gotta be open to rolling with those punches. If you try to stick rigidly to an idea of how you think your life should go, you will undoubtedly completely miss out on some other shiz the universe had in store for you. I think one of the things I’m most proud of in my life is my ability and openness to going where my life’s course takes me, however unexpected that might be.
There’s plenty of other advice I could add to this, but heck, I’m not trying to be up in here making out like I have it all figured out. I am most definitely still learning.
What would you tell your 21 year old self?