As the age old saying goes, “With age comes wisdom.” The older we become, the more experience we gain. With experience comes vast knowledge from the lessons we’ve learned. While some lessons may come harder than others, often times it’s the difficulty and struggle that produces the greatest learning experiences.
While most of us can appreciate lessons learned as valuable, there are always those few scenarios where we wish we could go back in time to give advice to our former selves. Instead of looking to the past for answers for our future, perhaps there’s wisdom to be had right in front of us.
Professor Nyasha Junior sought advice from women over the age of 40 with the task of giving advice to their 20-something-year-old selves. Their advice is compelling, noteworthy, and young women everywhere should listen up!
Embracing a Powerful Age of Wisdom
There are immense amounts of wisdom to be learned from those who are older than us. It’s not only refreshing, but also humbling to hear the advice from a group of women who’ve victoriously made it through decades of their roller coaster lives.
While the sage advice is a culmination of four decades worth of experiences and wisdom sought in those times, the lessons are applicable to anyone regardless of gender, age, or sexuality. If you’ve ever wished you would have known then what you know now, then the glimpse of wisdom being passed along from this group of women could be a key component to improving your life.
Timeless Advice- Making the Most Out of Life
- “Your life won’t turn out as you envisioned in your 20s, but it will be extraordinary, amazing, and yours. Cultivate strong and diverse friendships. Focus on those, not the toxic people. And have a hobby you love just for you.” It’s true. While you may have grand plans and a vision for your life – like being married, having children, buying a home, or whatever it may be for you – life never turns out quite as we may have expected. This doesn’t mean that life will be boring, and it certainly doesn’t mean it won’t be fulfilling. It simply means that no matter what you create for yourself, you get to live and love life. You’ll still get your dreams to come true, just maybe not in the time frame you pinned for yourself. Maintain your friendships and be sure to always make time for those who are a part of your tribe. Toxic people will always try and find a way into your life, so allow your solid friendships to prevail.
- “Live alone for a while. There are plenty of years behind you and ahead of you where you’ll be sharing space with others. Take some time to enjoy having a space that’s all yours. And travel more!” There will come an exciting time where you’ll get to share your life alongside a loving partner. Until then, embrace time on your own, especially when it comes to living space. While there’s beauty in roommates and having friends and partners to share a home with, there’s nothing quite as valuable as time spent to create a home all by your design.
- “Leave after the first lie.” Many women would agree, this piece of advice is often accurate. There is nothing more toxic than someone who lies and manipulates. If someone lies to you, it wasn’t the first time, and it’s likely not the last. This shows up in friendships, romantic relationships, and just life in general. If someone is willing to spend their time creating a lie, their time is not worth yours.
- “Stop trying to make everyone else happy. Owning things is not happiness, watch your money. Just because they are family doesn’t mean they cannot be toxic.” The only person who can make someone sincerely happy is themselves. Instead of expelling your energy constantly bending over backward for other people, put yourself in the hot seat. Make yourself happy, and those who are worthy of your time. Remember that material things do not bring you long term happiness. Just because you were taught family comes first doesn’t mean you have to suffer through toxic relationships. The context of family tends to often get blurred when our beliefs sometimes get in the way. Be mindful if you find relationships even within a family are not healthy and are bringing you down physically or emotionally.
- “No matter what you were told about being the good girl, you cannot have everyone like you. So if and when it comes down to a choice between you (your success, your emotional health, your financial worth) and being liked: choose you.” It’s time to quit apologizing. You’re not responsible for everyone else’s happiness at the expense of your own! You get to be your top priority. Life can be crazy, and it will throw you curveballs. There will be times when success, emotional health, and financial worth may feel trying. You may begin to doubt your success, you may be stressed to the max, and you may not be holding yourself to your highest financial possibility. When this becomes a conversation, it’s time to choose YOU! Remember: you’re a complete goddess and what you feel and choose to do for yourself matters.
- “Take care of yourself at least as much as you take care of everyone else in your life.” You are not responsible for the happiness of anyone else but yourself. But when it comes to loving yourself and self-care, you may tend to put yourself on the back burner. Imagine how great life could be and feel if you took care of yourself the same way you stood out and took care of everyone else.
- “Just because he isn’t awful, doesn’t mean he’s right for you. Stick to your guns and intuition because you deserve the best.” One of the greatest lessons as we age is the power of our intuition. Intuition has the ability to tell us when something feels right and wrong. When women are in relationships, we tend to settle even though the person you’re with doesn’t check all the boxes.
- “Don’t hesitate to change jobs or move. Demand more money.” Know your worth. Believe your value. Own it. When these things aren’t being honored, there is always another job that can fill the space. There’s always another way to make money while honoring what you are worthy of. Never allow hesitation to hold you back from growth and rising higher in your value.
- “Don’t put off your travel dreams and connecting within your relationships until “someday”, because “someday” is not promised. And don’t wait for a bunch of friends deaths to remind you of that fact.” Life is NOW! There’s no such thing as saving the good stuff for the perfect occasion. Travel. No matter if you’re solo, with a group, or with a friend. See the world, explore everything that’s laid out for you. There’s an entire world out there, and it’s waiting for you to be a part of it! The perfect occasion is today, in this present moment. Spend time with your loved ones, as they won’t be around forever, and we never know when they’ll be gone.
- “Have fun. Just have freaking fun. That’s what your 20s are for.” So what are you waiting for? The time is now! Your 40-year-old self will thank you later.