There’s Courtney at 21, in the club on a Friday night enjoying a glass of Rosé for my sisters birthday and I’m proud to say I can still fit that jumpsuit five years later. I was born with an old soul so naturally, I’ve always felt pretty mature for my age. I had my head on straight early on and knew what I stood for as a woman.. Well, young lady. Before I knew any better, I would’ve spent my last breath in an arguement with you insisting that I had everything all figured out. Here are a list of things that would’ve given my 21 year old self much more peace of mind –
You don’t know it all.
Stop talking so much and listen. You don’t have to defend everything you believe to be true. Even if you have a lot of good, intelligent, inspiring things to say, there is still much for you to absorb in this world. Spend time with your grandparents picking their brains, have conversations with strangers. These type of conversations will grant you enlightenment that can’t be bought.
I’m going to continue to get better.
So much better. As time goes on you truly get wiser, more selective, more comfortable saying what you want and more confident in going after it. Quit being so hard on yourself, you are not the best version of you yet.
We unlock levels to ourselves.
You’re not meant to know what you know at 30, at 21. There are seasons for everything and everything happens in the order that it’s meant to. You may not be able to make sense of situations when they happen, but looking back you will always be able to connect the dots. Everything you go through teaches you something that allows you to be a better you when moving onto the next level of your life.
You’re not ready to settle down, live your life.
I fell in love shortly after I turned 22 and sheesh, I was ready to commit to a lifetime with that man. Unfortunately, it didn’t work out and now I realize it never would have at that time. I still had so much more growing to do as an individual and would blossom exponentially over the next few years. That break-up forced me to do things outside of my comfort zone and spend time discovering my true self. I experienced things and made memories that I never would have, had I settled down when I thought I was ready to. Keyword: thought.
You won’t meet all of the age accomplishments you set for yourself, and it’s OK.
Graduate at 22, get engaged at 25, buy a house at 26, have a baby at 27, own a business by 28. There are only so many things that we have control over in this life. It’s great to aspire to attain certain things, but take away the pressure of the timeline. Women are automatically convinced they’re born with a ticking clock and while biologically it’s true, you will take away the enjoyment of your journey by constantly measuring where you should be at this point in your life.
Save your money, now.
I figured I’d have forever to “save money” so it was SO easy to blow my money every time I had a little extra [AKA my school refund]. While I wasn’t making very much money to even put away, I made it a point to have a savings account. I set up an account separate from my checking with a local credit union and would drive over to it every payday to deposit $150. It wasn’t much, but making sure I set aside a specific amount of money instead of spending every penny not only made me feel like more of an adult; it also taught me a good lesson in financial responsibility. That savings came in handy when I got laid off, needed my car repaired and had to pay for my last semester of college out-of-pocket.
You will lose friends and in the end, you’ll have the right friends.
I’ve had one friend since 4th grade. Everyone else has come into my life recently and I’ve shed friends over time like snakes shed skin. In my opinion, it’s a necessary task that happens very naturally. These friendships didn’t end over petty fall-outs. They gradually ended due to different life directions, interests and goals. As you grow throughout life, you will gain friends that “fit” you better – just as it’s necessary for crabs to find new shells once they outgrow the old ones. Outside of my family, I have three friends that “fit” me. We think alike, we care alike, we aim alike. As I continue to succeed in my desired endeavours, I look forward to gaining new friends. Everyone can not come where you’re meant to go and that’s perfectly OK.
You can enjoy your own company.
The world won’t end if you can’t find something to do on any particular night. There’s no reason for you to be out Thursday through Sunday, it’s OK to spend a night at home alone. Order take-out, put on a movie. Dive into a good book with a glass of wine and a bubble bath. Go to bed earlier than normal and get eight hours of sleep. That’s some serious magic to me, y’all.
I Come First
We will encounter people who will continue to put us last time and time again, although we’re willing to drop everything that we’re doing in order to be available for them. Treat people the way that they treat you, unless they treat you terribly then don’t treat them any way – don’t deal with them at all. You’ll never have to bend over backwards for people who truly value you. Don’t rack your brain trying to find ways to help someone who wouldn’t do the same for you.
Only buy expensive things you’ll be able to wear for years to come.
I could’ve have enough money to buy an S class cash by now had I practiced this rule more when I was younger. All the money I wasted buying cheap and trendy clothes and shoes that wouldn’t last me was such a terrible investment. Buy the best you can, of what you can afford. As enticing as having an overwhelming wardrobe is, I’d take a handful of quality basics that I can mix and match while wearing repetitively.
What lessons would’ve been valuable to your 21 year-old self?