Promises I Wish I'd Made
Sometimes I think about what I would change about my life if I could go back in time. If I could back to the person I was 10 years ago, there are a lot of things I would say. I would try to convince that younger version of myself to make the following 5 promises.
1. Promise that you won’t take yourself too seriously, especially when it comes to your looks. There is more to life than the attention you get (or don’t get) when you walk into a room. Beauty fades with every year. It is far better to be interesting in other ways. If you want to set yourself apart try to actually have a personality. It’s amazing how rare they are these days.
2. Promise that you won’t have time to constantly make fun of other people, or to criticize what they do, or where they live, or who they are. Promise that you won’t be so judgmental, that you won’t constantly be trying to categorize people, and that you allow yourself to consider that almost everyone is fighting a secret battle. So don’t judge because you never really know the whole story. Be so busy doing the things you love, cherishing the people you love, and finding new loves, that you don’t even have time to think about who you hate. It takes time to hate people and things. Hate wears off after awhile so you constantly have to be thinking of new ways to justify your feelings. It’s just not worth it. There are so many better things to fill your life with.
3. Promise that if you ever find yourself in a job where you aren’t having fun anymore that you’ll walk away from it if at possible. There is a quote that says something to the effect that failure hurts but success is far more dangerous. It is easier than you might think to get sucked into a career. And it’s so easy to justify it to yourself because you are making money, and value financial success, and the approval of others. To be honest, if I had found something I really wanted to buy with the money I was making I might not have been able to walk away. When I quit my job for the first time in my life I had no clue what I was going to do. And it felt good. I was finally free from a prison I hadn’t even known I was in.
4. Promise that you’ll never allow the fear of being alone or the fear of missing someone stop you from walking away from a relationship that has become toxic or isn’t right for you anymore. Part of growing up means learning that sometimes as people change they grow apart. There is a quote by Patrick McBride that says, “The end of relationship is not a failure any more than the end of a book is a failure.” It’s so true, you know. We have to learn to how to make peace with endings.
5. Promise to have the courage to take risks and live with uncertainty. Life changes, we change, and sometimes what we thought we wanted only turns out to be a disappointment. But as Conan Obrien said in his 2011 commencement speech, “The beauty is that through disappointment you can gain clarity, and with clarity comes conviction and true originality.” Don’t forget to see that.