Dear little Christina (with your head in the sky and your heart full of dreams),
You have a million questions right now, and that’s okay. Even at such a young age, you’re already concerned with whether or not you’re on the right path in life, but you have so many dreams that you’re not really sure which to pursue, and that’s okay too.
I’m here to tell you that every path you take is the right path.
Second guessing your decisions will only bring anxiety and frustration. Every decision you make will change you, help you to grow, and make you wiser. That’s the beauty of life, so you should heed my advice, but you should also keep moving forward with the confidence that whatever choices you make will be good ones, as long as you learn from each and never give up.
1. Stay optimistic
I say this first because it is essential to your future success, overall wellbeing and every relationship you ever develop in your life. Keeping your chin up and trying to see the best in every situation will be extremely challenging at times, but always worth it, I promise.
Learning to not only ‘roll’ with the punches, but also to LAUGH with them, will be what keeps you sane and makes you a positive person that people enjoy being around.
2. Don’t worry what others might think
You will eventually decide that a conventional lifestyle doesn’t work for you, and you’ll make the plunge into self-employment and digital nomadism.
70% of people will think that what you’re doing is wonderful, brave and fascinating, but 30% will criticize you for it, telling you that your choices are immature, dangerous, short-sighted and stupid. Don’t listen to them! If you feel happy, fulfilled and challenged by your life decisions, why does it matter what anyone else thinks? It doesn’t. They are judging or criticizing you simply because they are envious, or because your life doesn’t fit into their shallow worldview.
You do you, and don’t apologize for following your dreams.
3. Accept that pain isn’t always bad
Sure, whether it’s physical or emotional, pain hurts and when it’s happening to us, we wish that it wasn’t. Trust that it will get better, and each struggle you face in your life will turn you into a more resilient and understanding person.
There will be injuries that change your life, and the emotional struggle will be just as intense as the physical one. Give yourself time to heal and never lose the courage to persevere. You will end up with permanent screws and plates in your body, and the pain might force you to break down and cry three times while climbing a volcano in Sicily, but it won’t stop you from reaching the top.
There will be deaths that shake you to your core. You will feel regret and profound pain for a long time, but because you pride yourself on “being strong” you will try to bottle it up and move on. There is no right or wrong way to grieve, however, in order to truly move on you will need to address the grief and understand that it is now a part of who you are, and that’s not such a bad thing.
You are not broken, you are just different. This devastating period in your life will change you for the better, and will fuel some of the most amazing accomplishments of your life.
Forgive yourself for your flaws, insecurities, and failures. Understand that you are always harshest on yourself, and learning to silence your inner critic is crucial to your happiness.
Forgive your family, your friends, your bosses and even acquaintances for any shortcomings they have. No one is perfect and you must trust that everyone has their own struggles and histories that have influenced who they are today.
5. Health is within your reach
You will fight for most of your life to be in good health, and it will seem so elusive at times that you consider giving up. Don’t! You will be healthy and you will find a helpful doctor one day, but until then keep fighting for health.
The best thing you can do is keep eating healthy, exercising regularly, researching your condition, and meditating to relieve stress. Don’t despair – all will be well if you just keep pushing forward.
6. Accept yourself as you are, but never give up on personal growth
It will take you years to understand your own personality, quirks and desires. In fact, you’ll always be changing so this will be a life-long task. Someday you will finally come to the conclusion that you are an outgoing introvert, and eventually you’ll learn to embrace it. Don’t feel bad if you don’t feel like making plans with your friends one weekend because you need “you time.” If they’re true friends, they’ll still love you next weekend.
Just because you get more comfortable in your skin and develop a better understanding of your true nature, doesn’t mean you should ever stop pushing yourself to grow. Gentle encouragement and self-love are the best catalysts for self-improvement.
7. Rumors and hearsay are meaningless
If you read or hear something whether it’s on the news, on the internet or something your best friend tells you, make sure you do your own research before making up your mind.
Prejudice and narrow-mindedness are rooted in uneducated beliefs. Never stop educating yourself and keeping your mind open to the world.
8. Don’t be afraid to change your mind
It’s unreasonable to assume that you know your life path at age 12. It’s even unreasonable to expect to know exactly what you’ll do or who you’ll be at 18, or even 25. Open yourself up to new experiences, and with those, your personality and desires will change. That’s okay!
You will have a plethora of jobs, some you’ll love and others you’ll loath, but not only will you gain important skills from each, they will teach you things about yourself that you never knew.
Also, don’t be afraid to leave a job or a relationship once you have realized that it is truly time to move on.
9. Be open to unlikely friendships
You will meet people that you aren’t particularly fond of because your personalities don’t quite mesh at first. Don’t write them off! They might become your best friends one day, and even if they don’t, there is always something valuable to learn from everyone you meet.
Everyone has a story and a past. No single person is better than anyone else, so always be open, friendly and kind.
10. Commitment can set you free
Sounds like a bit of an oxymoron, doesn’t it? You don’t realize this now, but difficult circumstances in your life will cause you pain and, as a coping mechanism, you will develop a fear of commitment. Don’t let this define you.
Don’t let your past define you, don’t let your pain define you, and certainly don’t let your failures define you.
Allowing yourself room to understand your heart and true passions is important, but when the time comes, do not fear committing to the right career, the right guy, the right path. There is so much to learn from each of these experiences, and although pain and failure are an inevitable part of life, they do not detract from the personal growth you’ll achieve.
Stay strong and trust your instincts, and your future will be even more incredible than you imagine.
11. Suck the marrow out of life and do so unapologetically
This last bit of advice is self-explanatory and will become something of a life motto for you. Latch on to it and never forget.
Christina Gmyr’s love of travel was ignited after the tragic death of her lifelong best friend, but it wasn’t until after being hit by a car and leaving behind her job in the NYC finance industry that she discovered her passion for site design, writing and inspiring people.
She is now the founder of the inspirational e-magazine & blog, Fleeting Life, which aims to empower you to create the amazing life you deserve. It is an eclectic amalgamation of content focused on travel, wellness, entrepreneurship, and personal growth. She loves connecting with readers, so feel free to reach out to her via Facebook, Twitter or Instagram!