Trust your instincts. And 9 Other Lessons That Will Help You Excel In Your 20's

Whenever someone asks me what advice I would give to new authors, it's always the same, be true to you.  And that is something that I encounter with so many people, they don't trust their instincts.  They have a life plan and if anything deviates from that, they panic, freak out and think that they have failed.
Life isn't really about anything else to me except trying new things, challenging myself and learning.  Aren't failures just a way of learning?  I've failed a lot in my life and it all taught me to be more open because if you make a mistake there is always another opportunity.  There is always time to figure things out.

I truly agree with John Lennon when he said, 'Life is what happens while you are busy making other plans.'  Life is a marathon not a sprint and it's meant to be enjoyed not feared or agonized over.  
I recently read an article by Mark Manson titled 10 Lessons That Will Help You Excel In Your 30s where he asked his readers age 37 and older what advice they would give their 30-year-old selves.  The article was great and it inspired me to write something similar -10 Lesson That Will Help You Excel In Your 20's basically what would I tell a nineteen year old me? #TBT

1.  Be prepared to let things go.  Chances are things aren't going to turn out the way you planned 90% of the time, unforeseen circumstances-good or bad are going to occur and you can't prepare for them you can only handle them with grace, and accept them as a part of life.  Things always get better.  Which leads me to number 2 on this list.

2.  Say yes.  When I was younger if things didn't fit into my idea of what my life should/would be, I wouldn't do it.  I would pass up opportunities that weren't going to look good on my resume.  Now I say yes to everything, and if it doesn’t work out then it wasn't meant to be but at least it wasn't because I turned it down.  You never know who you may meet or what you may stumble upon when you try something new and out of your comfort zone.

3. Be open.  This goes along with number 2.  Change is the one constant thing in life, so let go of the past, and quit trying to anticipate the future and just live in the present and be open to whatever may happen.

4.  Think about financial investments.  When you're young you are less likely to have huge financial obligations so start planning for the day when you will.  You probably will want to buy a car or house someday-so research now what you need to do to be able to do that.  I think buying a house when you’re young is smart because by the time your kids enter college and you're thinking of retiring, your house will be paid off.  As long as you can make a monthly payment and don't have any crazy credit issues why not take the plunge in your twenties instead of waiting until your late 30's?

5.  Embrace who you are.  A big theme of my first book, Harlow Whittaker & The Soothsayers is about discovering who you are and loving it.  You're now in your twenties, probably have some schooling under your belt, why are you still trying to 'fit in?' Be who you are, let your freak flag fly and don't apologize for it.  

6.  Trust your instincts.  You have intuition, or gut instincts and they are always right.  If something feels 
off or creepy then probably is.  Why not believe your body's physical reaction?  Who is more credible to tell you what is right for yourself, then you?

7.  Stop making excuses.  In the words of Maya Angelou, ‘If someone shows you who they are, believe them.’  If you're in a relationship, romantic or otherwise and someone is repeatedly horrible to you, trust that is how they will always be and this is toxic and you should break free, no more making excuses for their behavior.  I held onto too many unhealthy relationship for so many reasons, and I found myself making a lot of excuses for why people treated me poorly, well news flash to past me, they were just horrendous people. Period.  Now my life is filled with positive kind people and it makes my life 100% less stressful.

8. Take care of yourself.  Sure it's fun to party but basic things should be a priority like eating regularly and sleeping enough.  Believe me if you don't have these things mastered by the time you have kids you are in for a world of hurt.  Be sure to always take time for yourself because no one else is going to do it.

9.  Be a good friend.  Treat your friends like you wish your were treated.  Be supportive, listen, and make time for them.  Be sure that you aren't taking them for granted.  One day these friends will be more like your family so be nice to them.

10.  Grow up but remember to embrace your inner kid.  Grow up as in, this is no longer high school, don't gossip, don't tell people what another friend has confided in you, basically be trustworthy.  But most of all growing up doesn’t mean you become boring or what you think an 'adult' should be.  If you love to play video games play on, if you love to fly kites, fly on, if you love to watch Disney movies, watch on, because those things are how you relieve stress they aren't just childish games.  Plus if you ever have kids how fun will it be to share those activities with them?

Hope this wasn't pompous or arrogant, it's just what I wish I could have told myself in the past, could have saved quite a bit on therapy lol  Happy Thursday!