A | LOT | HAPPENS in ten years. An enormous lot. A person's mannerisms, ideals, characteristics; and you can go either way on everything - stronger/weaker, stubborn/patient, likeable/deplorable. One great positive is that in hindsight you know more about yourself. Way more.
I've asked a couple dozen people what they'd tell their 21 year old selves if they could talk to that person now. The answers are more or less the same across the board. Though I have no regrets about where I am at 31 or what hurdles I've set ahead of myself, I'd definitely have taken the option to be more prepared than not. And while these nuggets of wisdom are useless to me now, maybe otherwise for someone reading along.
1. PUT MONEY ASIDE REGULARLY and not just for the rainy days but for the torrential downpours. For monsoon season. I can't tell you how many times I've changed my career path. When I decided to open my own business I was working in a deli just to cover the construction. Once it was up, I did sales at a gym until business picked up, and yet I've never been without a job for more than three months since I was 14. You don't know where life will take you. Be prepared. It also makes those leaps of faith easier to make.
2. STAY IN TOUCH WITH YOUR FRIENDS. Over the next ten years you and everybody you know will only have time and space for 5 friends. You'll know who they're going to be by the time you hit 28. When you do, see them as often as you can.
3. DO SOMETHING CREATIVE and love it. Even if you suck at it. Have fun. Life is going to serve work and responsibility on a silver platter. Useless creativity, now that you have to do on your own, and it might turnout to be pretty useful down the line!
4. FUCK MONEY. HAVE FUN. I hold this logarithm to be true:
passion + effort = reward
(if you love what you do) + (keep doing it) = (the money will come)
5. LOOKING GOOD IS FEELING GOOD IS LOOKING GOOD. Take care of your health. Never stop working out and eating well. I don't care who you are or what you do for a living, nobody wants to be fat, smelly, dirty and undesirable. Which is perfectly OK! All creatures have a mating season, and what do they do during that time? Strut their stuff in order to pair up and procreate (get laid!). Ergo, it's perfectly OK to be vein! So groom, manscape, pluck, tweeze, shave, remove, run, lift, swim, stretch, dress well because when you look good, you feel good. When you feel good, you look even better.
6. EMBRACE CHANGE in everyday situations. Your wardrobe and hairstyle, job, home, girlfriend, role model; Change is the Only Constant. That means it's been happening since before you, and will continue right through you. Don't be stubborn. Something might spark if you go with the current.
7. FINISH WHAT YOU START. We're the over generation; over consumption, overweight, over caffeinated, over privileged, (and for the record, overworked and overlooked). It can be a result of too many options, which is why it's so easy to drop what we're doing and run to the next bump of fun. Don't get distracted. Whether it be a painting class, a puzzle, guitar lessons, a favor to a friend / project for a client, or P90 - see it to the end! Strength grows in the doing and peaks at the finish!
8. CUT TOXIC RELATIONSHIPS. No matter who the person might be - you're in a loveless partnership, your best friend is a lazy drug abuser, your mother treats you like you're 15, or worse, like her husband. Relationships are toxic because one person is entirely selfish and sponging the time, energy, and/or resources from the other. They exist because the other allows it to continue. It becomes an enormous weight that sits on your shoulders and tenses you up. That, without a doubt, will change your personality for the worse and your friends will notice before you do. Get rid of toxic relationships. It'll change your entire world. Afraid of what that might be like? See #6.
9. PARTY YOUR ASS OFF, THEN ACCEPT WHEN IT'S TIME TO GROW UP. I had a blast in my twenties. Drank like a fish, psychedelics, owned Vegas, did unspeakable things in Mexico, fell in love and had my heart broken, road trips all across the East coast. But I'm 31 now and if I sleep an hour later, I wake up an hour later. When I drink like a college kid, I puke like a contestant on Fear Factor. If I eat shit, I shit! It's good to find your adult rhythm before you hit your 30's because after 27 your body begins to work against you - and it will show you.
10. STOP AND SMELL THE ROSES at least once a week. There's a beauty in the calmness of the world around you. The air is clean and free. The sound of the earth, the sun. Look up and out and feel small. Learn that you are here for the same reason everybody else is, nothing more, nothing less. And that's OK. You might not even know what that is. That's OK too. Because life is long. Real long. You got plenty of time to figure that out! Breathe.
**. PICK A SIDE AND STAND TALL. I'm a Cowboys and Bulls fan. I hate politics but will be voting this year. Love beer, hate wine. Purchasing property is the best thing a person can do for himself, and marriage by "necessity" is probably the worst. I'm not racist but stereotypes do exist, and yes I'm a stereotype too. Know Thyself. Nothing is more of a turnoff than hearing someone say "I guess," "I don't know," "I don't really pay attention to it." Apathy makes you uninteresting and unappealing to both friends, partners, and potential employers.
**. SPEND TIME WITH YOUR PARENTS. They know more about life than you do, and they'll always several steps ahead. Life will take them away from you eventually. Pick their brain while you can.