I’m 28 today, y’all. Holy crap. When and how did this happen? In my mind, I’m still a confused 22-year-old trying to figure out her life. I guess all of that is still true minus the whole age thing. It’s crazy to think that when my mom was my age, she was happily living life in her second marriage with two kids and another on the way. Compared to me who is still getting paid by the hour, marriage-less, childless and still feeling lost AF.
When I was younger, I thought that by the time I was 28-years-old, I would be married with a kid on the way, living with my successful husband and our two dogs in a house that we bought with money we earned from our stable jobs. Not so much. And you know what? It’s okay because I know that where I’m at in life right now is where I’m meant to be, and more importantly, I’m really, really happy. It took me a lot to get to that perspective though, and there are so many things I wish I could have avoided, but life is all about lessons learned, and I’m grateful for all of my experiences, both good and bad.
If I could give advice to my younger self, I would tell her…
DON’T PLAY THE COMPARISON GAME
I spent a good bit of my life feeling like the ugly friend in the group. So much of my time was spent wondering why I couldn’t be as pretty as this friend, why didn’t this guy like me back, why can’t I be just a little bit taller, when am I going to get boobs… I looked at my friends and got jealous because I didn’t feel beautiful. I got caught up in the comparison game at an early age, and looking back, I realize how unhealthy that was, but it was also not uncommon. It’s so important to feel beautiful in your own skin. It’s so important to appreciate the things you already have instead of desiring the things you don’t. Don’t get caught up in comparing yourself and your life to others.
YOU ARE BEAUTIFUL
Beauty is relative, and just because someone says you’re not beautiful, it doesn’t make it so. If anything it makes that person ugly. Yes, it’s nice to feel pretty on the outside, but the real beauty lies within. You’ll realize that it’s more important to have a beautiful heart than it is to have a beautiful face, and the more beautiful you feel on the inside, the more that beauty will resonate on the outside.
STOP CARING SO MUCH ABOUT THE OPINIONS OF OTHERS
Everything in life is temporary, and sadly that means most of your relationships, and even friendships will come to an end. The people you see everyday in a class one semester, you may never see again until graduation. It’s so exhausting to keep up and care about the opinions of the thousands of people you’ll meet in your life. Save yourself some energy and focus on what makes you truly happy.
NEVER STOP GIVING
Even when you feel like you’ve fallen on rough times and you can’t crawl out, there’s always someone who has it worse than you. Do everything with a giving heart. Never lose sight of what’s really important.
Your heart is going to get mangled and bruised A LOT, but that doesn’t mean you should go into new relationships completely guarded. You will find true love, and all the struggles that led you to him will 100% be worth it. Never do anything halfway, especially when it comes to your heart.
GIVE YOURSELF TIME TO HEAL
Step away and spend time with yourself. The time after a heartbreak or going through a struggle are some of the most crucial. Yes, you’ve been hurt. Yes, it sucks, so don’t jump back up so quickly and pretend everything is okay. Allow yourself to feel it and process it so you can properly heal. Don’t rush into anything new.
ALWAYS BE HONEST
Even the pointless, little white lies. Don’t do it. It’s so much effort to keep up with. As you grow older, you will become a person that people come to when they want an honest opinion, and that’s something you should embrace. There’s no need to be abrasive with your honesty. You should always be kind, but don’t waste your time getting caught up in lies. It takes too much energy.
LEARN FROM YOUR MISTAKES
Girl, you are going to make so many mistakes, but that’s okay because every mistake will also be a lesson learned. Life gets hard sometimes, but once you get through those times, you’re going to be stronger than you could have ever imagined.
ADMIT WHEN YOU’RE WRONG
I know that you’re prideful, but you have to know when to admit defeat. You’re going to be wrong. A lot. And that’s fine because you’re also going to be right a lot. Don’t let your pride get in the way of you being honest about when you’re wrong.
Even after 28 years, you’re going to have this struggle, so do whatever you can to stop making it happen. Work on things bit by bit each day. Don’t wait until the last minute. Your blood pressure can’t handle it.
NEVER APOLOGIZE FOR HOW YOU FEEL
You’re going to realize that you feel things a lot deeper than most people do. That doesn’t make you weak. If anything it makes you strong because you’re able to hold it together even when you don’t want to. When you do share your feelings, people may not react in the way you want them to. That doesn’t mean you’re wrong, which means you don’t need to apologize. You’re allowed to feel, and you’re allowed to share those feelings. Don’t let anyone tell you differently.
READ READ READ
Your love for the written word will stick with you into adulthood. Never stop reading. Allow yourself to get lost in a good book as often as possible.
BE INTENTIONAL ABOUT YOUR RELATIONSHIPS
Don’t just date someone because they asked you, and don’t waste your time being with people who are clearly just using you. This is going to be hard because “we accept the love we think we deserve,” and for a long time, you’re going to think you deserve really sh*tty people. Instead of spending time with people who are only going to use you and bring out the worst in you, only date people who make you feel good about yourself. Who don’t leave you lying awake at night crying and questioning whether you’re good enough. Be with people who build you up.
LET GO OF TOXIC PEOPLE
You are a people pleaser. There’s no getting around that, but you need to man up, sister. There are a lot of people who are going to come into your life and bring you nothing but stress and worry. Don’t be friends with those people. It’s okay to outgrow a friendship. You don’t have to be friends with everyone, especially not someone who doesn’t have your best intentions in mind.
ALWAYS FOLLOW THROUGH
Always be someone that others can rely on.
BE A LEADER
Some days, you’re not going to have the confidence to think you’re good enough to lead. You’re going to want to fall into the comfort zone of being a follower. Don’t. Be your own person. Form your own opinions. No one wants a copycat. You’re different, and that’s something you should embrace. You have so much to bring to the table, and when you realize that, other people will want to follow you.
BUILD PEOPLE UP
It’s way too easy to get caught up in judging other people or teasing others. Stop it. You hate when people laugh at your expense, so don’t do it to others in a way that makes them uncomfortable. Instead, remind people of how amazing they are. Tell them the things you admire about them. Let them know when they’ve done something awesome. Be honest about how they make you feel. People don’t do that enough.
It’s 100% okay to put yourself and your feelings first. In fact, future Tiffany encourages it. As the saying goes, if you don’t respect yourself, no one else will either.
ALLOW YOURSELF TO FEEL
You have so many feelings. Never let anyone make you feel like that’s not okay. It’s really, really hard to hold back your feelings all the time, and luckily, you don’t have to. If someone does something that makes you uncomfortable, tell them. If something happens that makes you want to cry, let the tears flow. If you get frustrated by something at work, vent. Trust me when I say if you try to hold it all in, it’ll physically and emotionally exhaust you.
DON’T MAKE ASSUMPTIONS
Don’t stress yourself out about made up scenarios. They say that worrying is like a rocking chair because it gives you something to do, but you’re not going anywhere. Instead of worrying, stressing and making assumptions in your head, ask questions and get the real stories. Don’t cause yourself undue stress.
DON’T WASTE MONEY ON THINGS
Money has always been and will continue to be a struggle in your life, so instead of always going out to eat and buying unnecessary things, save your money. People are still going to like you even if you don’t buy them gifts all the time. Remember that.
YOU CAN DISAGREE WITH PEOPLE AND STILL RESPECT THEIR OPINION
You’re going to spend a lot of your time pretending you don’t know about certain things just so you can avoid confrontation and debates. Instead of avoiding these conversations, have productive conversations. You’re going to be friends with people who don’t share the same views as you on a lot of subjects. That doesn’t mean you can’t be friends with them. You don’t want people in your life who are carbon copies of yourself. Yes, you may not agree on certain subjects, but you should still respect them for standing up for their opinion even if it differs from yours.
There’s that issue with pride again. Apologizing and admitting you’re wrong are hard, girl. Trust me, I know. Unfortunately, you’re not perfect, so when the need comes for you to say “I’m sorry,” don’t let your pride get the best of you. Just apologize.
DON’T BOTTLE THINGS UP
You will burst, and it will be ugly. Like I said before, allow yourself to feel. Let your feelings out as they come.
You know how you like to make people feel good about their outfit choices or their makeup looks or how they wore their hair that day? Yeah, people want to do that to you too. People aren’t just going around willy nilly and complimenting everyone. When someone compliments you, take it. Even if you don’t agree say “thank you.” Don’t argue with them about how you think it’s not true.
You hate feeling dumb, and you think asking questions will make you feel that way when the truth of the matter is, you’ll look even more dumb if you do things wrong. Stop with the whole pride thing, girl. Ask questions. Get clarity. There’s nothing stupid about wanting get more information.
You know how you have breakdowns and you think life is over because of a breakup with a guy you didn’t really like in the first place or someone making fun of a part of your appearance that you can’t change or someone making you feel dumb for no reason? Unfortunately for all of this, things can always be worse. Remember that there always people who have it worse than you do. In the long-run, those trivial things that I mentioned are just that, trivial. Yes, you should allow yourself to feel and react to the hiccups in your life, but remember, it’s all part of the journey. It all happens for a reason and things could always be worse and for some people, they are.
JUST BE HAPPY
If you find happiness in running five miles down the block, run. If you find happiness in getting lost in a book, read. If you find happiness in eating chocolate cake, indulge. Whatever makes you happy, do it. Surround yourself with people who build you up and bring out the best in you. The ones who remind you of your worth and fill you with glee. Find joy within yourself and in spending time alone. Figure out what makes you happy, and embrace that. Live your happy.
Thank you for celebrating another birthday with me 🙂
What are some lessons you’d tell your younger self?