- Your parents may have done the best they could do, but that doesn’t mean they did a good job.
As a general rule, everyone will always tell you to forgive the mistakes that your parents made raising you, because they did the best they could. Unfortunately, that doesn’t mean that they should be off the hook. Growing up, my parents would bribe me with food to stay in my bedroom and stay quiet while they had company over, because they didn’t want me to get in the way. Did they necessarily mean any harm by it? Probably not. But did it make me grow up to be a person who fears being around people because I feel like I’m unwanted in the situation? Absolutely. My parents have also told me that I’m fat and a burden to have around. Sure, maybe it was said in moments of weakness. Maybe they were dealing with things that I was unaware of and they were just frustrated. But that doesn’t make them innocent. Don’t let people tell you to forgive them because they’re your parents and you have to. Forgive them because you’re a good person and you want to, and you love them. Do not forgive for stupid reasons like, “they gave you life.” Sure, they did, but they also made it hell sometimes.
- It’s okay to not know what you’re doing.
We grow up being told that at around 18 years old, you should already know what want to do with your life and how to achieve it. This is bullshit. We’re put under so much pressure that we end up making decisions we regret in the long run. People get degrees in things they don’t care about about, which turns into a career they don’t care about, resulting in a really unhappy life. There is no shame in working in retail or at a restaurant to fill in the gaps between school and a happy career. It takes time to figure these things out, and that is okay.
- You don’t have to go to college.
Sometimes you do. But sometimes you don’t. My boyfriend wants to be some kind of scientist. He needs to go to college for that. There are things he’ll learn in college that he couldn’t learn anywhere else. And he loves science, so he is truly going to be happy with the years he spent in school. I am planning to be a makeup artist and graphic designer. Yes, these require cosmetology school, and in some cases, you could go to college for graphic design. But you can also buy some editing software and figure it out yourself. There are true, fulfilling careers that don’t require you to spend $40,000 and 4 years in classrooms. And general education classes? A complete waste if you truly know what you want to do, and it has nothing to do with statistics, or some other required class.
- You actually probably should keep your bedroom clean.
BAM didn’t see that coming, did you? But in my opinion, it’s true. Maybe your room is “an organized mess.” Yeah, it’s easy to look down at the floor and find what you’re looking for. But you will feel so calm walking into a neat, organized room that smells like lavender instead of old pizza at the end of the day. You don’t need to make your bed every morning or compulsively scrub the walls, but put your clothes away. Put dirty dishes in the sink. Put your makeup in bins instead of on the floor. You’ll thank me.
- Take care of yourself mentally.
Everyone knows to take care of themselves physically. Go to the doctor if you have sharp pains in your stomach. Take ibuprofen if you have a headache. Go to the dentist if your teeth hurt. So why does no one see a therapist when their heart (metaphorically) hurts? Why don’t we take antidepressants if we are clearly depressed? Why do we push all these things to the side and let them slowly build up into a panic attack? DON’T. There is absolutely no shame in having a mental disorder. They’re way more common than you think. And you could be in the best physical shape of your life, but it doesn’t matter if you’re mentally sick. You also don’t need to have a diagnosed mental disorder to talk to a therapist. Everyone should see a therapist once a month or so, just to keep yourself in balance. Love yourself, take care of yourself, and get help.
- Send handwritten cards to your friends for their birthday (or other special occasions).
Go to Target, buy a small box of standard cards. Mine have 16 different colored owls on them. They’re blank on the inside, so I can use them for any occasion. Everyone is so hellbent on texting or facebooking their happy birthday’s to each other. Writing out a card takes all of five minutes, and stamps really are not that expensive. Stop at the post office and send it. Your friend will seriously appreciate it. It’s about a thousand times more thoughtful than saying “happy birthday girlie!” in a facebook wall post.
- DO NOT take a job you don’t like.
Some may see this as bad advice, because let’s face it, we all need to make money one way or another. But so many people take crappy jobs just for the sake of getting a paycheck. DON’T. Your mental health will suffer. You’ll wake up every day thinking “shit, I have to go back to that place I hate again.” Work somewhere you like! It may take a little longer to find the right job for you, but you’ll find it, I promise. I work full time at a bookstore. Could I find a job making more money? Probably. But I likely won’t find one that I enjoy more, until I finish getting my cosmetology license. My dad always says “any job that pays you is a good job” and that’s just plain wrong. You’re setting yourself up to have a bad day if you don’t like your job, or your boss, or your coworkers.
- Don’t listen to what others say about you.
People will be mean to you. People will say bad things about you. They will try to tear you down just to make themselves feel better. And you know what you should do? Absolutely nothing. Don’t dwell on it. Decide if it’s a valid point or not, and if it’s not, move the hell on. Maybe the girl who sits next to you says you’re ugly. FUCK HER. Tell her to spread her negativity elsewhere, and smile. You’re beautiful, and one day she’ll realize that. But then, what about the people who are nice? This will sound crazy, but their opinions shouldn’t really affect yours, either. My boyfriend tells me I’m pretty every day. But I would never rely on his opinion to form my own opinion of myself. Appreciate the compliment, thank them for it, and continue to think for yourself.