This is the first of many articles I am writing that are advice I wish I could have given my younger self. It’s amazing how much you can learn over 50+ years of living that gives you insights you wish you had when you were 20. This article is meant to be targeted at advice that may have swayed my decisions when I was in college.
· You are a unique individual who is loved for what you are – not what someone tries to make you to be. Follow your heart. Do what you have passion in. This is especially essential when you choose your major in college. Some people choose majors based on how much money they could make. In the end, you spend so much of your life at work that it doesn’t matter how much money you make if you are miserable making it!
· Travel and learn about other cultures as much as you can. It is very easy when you are young without a house or big bills to backpack around Europe for example. You can get a train pass that lasts for months and stay and inexpensive youth hostels. Hanging out with the locals teaches you much more than going to the tourist traps. Joining the Peace Corp is another option.
· Stay away from negative situations or people. They can easily bring your mood down the tubes.
· Make goals in college and stay focused on them. If you want to learn music or the arts – do it! Even if you don’t major in the fine arts, they broaden your minds.
· Make an effort to stay positive. That can be hard when you focus on others or the news, but the more positive energy we all pass along, the better off we all will be.
· Allow yourself to have time off to play. Never lose the child within.
· Stay close to your family. They are the ones who will love you forever no matter what (except if you are in the unfortunate position of having an abusive family). Listen to the older ones. Believe it or not, they do know more than you do!
· Surround yourself with reminders of your unique greatness. This can be pictures, quotes, letters anything that reminds you why people love you and why you mean more than anything to God.
· Start your day with prayer, meditation, readings or whatever is your spiritual guidance. This will make the rest of the day start off on the right foot.
· Take care of yourself in the way you eat, exercise and what you read and put in your mind. This is your time to soak up everything you can and decide what the most important things are that you want to keep active in the rest of your life.
· Don’t sweat the small stuff as they say. In life there are always ups and downs. Ride them out. Each challenge makes you stronger.
· Keep a smile on yourself. It has been proven to be good for you and others around you.
· Forgive everyone – including you! We all make mistakes. Take risks. Failure is a way to learn and you can’t get there without taking risks.
· Give thanks every day. Journal as much as you can. It will not only record your thoughts but also improve your writing skills.
· Have fun! These are some of the best times of your life! Learn and experience as much as you can!