Hindsight Advice: What I Would Say To My Younger Self

Each one of us experiences the world in a way that is wholly unique. Most of our behaviors, beliefs, and identities are heavily influenced by highly specific aspects such as ethnicity, nationality, sexual orientation, religion, and so on. Therefore, the human experience is as varied as the number of people on the planet. However, there are some genuinely universal experiences shared by all of us regardless of our background.

We all love, we all desire, we all worry, we all fear.

We all ask many of the same questions in hundreds of different languages.

Who am I? Who am I supposed to be? Why is this happening to me? What do I do?

Besides death, the one experience that truly unites us across all boundaries is the desire to alter the past, to have done things differently. And, just as universal is that often despairing realization that there is no such thing as changing what has already happened.

I’ve been thinking about this subject a lot lately. I’ve been thinking about the cumulative weight of all of my life’s choices. What if I had spoken up instead of remaining quiet? What if I had moved instead of staying still? What if I had said hello to this person, or said good riddance to this other?

I know I can’t change the past any more than I can prevent the sun from rising tomorrow, but what if I could? What if I were given a chance, knowing what I know now, to give myself advice? How would that conversation go?

So, I’ve compiled a list of what I think I could say to my younger self if I had the opportunity to give him some advice.

  • “Time lost even the Angels mourn,” is what my grandmother used to tell me when I was a kid. It is only now that I realize the power behind those words. When we are young, we think we have all the time in the world. I now see how foolish it is to believe that, so I would tell myself that time enough is never enough. I would tell myself to make every second of every minute count and to fill the empty spaces of my life with people and experiences that are conducive to growth.

  • Stop being so scared and learn to let go. When I was younger, I would ferociously hang on to that which brought me comfort, even at the expense of my well-being. I once stayed in a relationship far longer than I should have because I was afraid to be alone. I was miserable for about 4 years in a job I utterly detested because I was fearful of failure. Sometimes all there is to do is to let go of a situation and embrace whatever may come. If you never let go, you stagnate.

  • Pride is more harmful than helpful. There are moments in life when being proud is right; however, these situations are fewer than you think. Pride gets in the way of so many opportunities. In fact, pride will often be the number one impediment of your happiness. Put your pride aside and listen to advice more often. Learn to apologize and do so with sincerity.

  • Life doesn’t owe you anything. Stop being so entitled and you’ll be far less disappointed, far less often, when things don’t go your way.

  • Take better care of yourself. Sleep more, eat healthier food and get in shape today, not tomorrow. It becomes exponentially harder to do this with each year that passes, so do it now when you have more than enough energy for it.

  • If you appreciate someone, let them know.
  • Don’t be afraid to say I love you.
  • Don’t be afraid to say I miss you.
  • Don’t be afraid to ask for help.
  • And most importantly of all, enjoy every single minute of your precious life. You are far more fortunate than you realize!

Here is the thing, if you have made it this far then I am going to give you a piece of advice: The past cannot be altered and time travel isn’t possible. However, it is never too late to change, to grow, and to better yourself. So think long and hard about what advice you’d give yourself, and make sure that you are heeding that advice today.

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