10 Things I Wish I knew when I was younger.

This International Youth Day, I’m thinking about some things I wish I knew when I was younger.

This International Youth Day, I’m thinking about some things I wish I knew when I was younger.

I’ve been doing quite a bit of reflection lately. Turning thirty does that to you, and I’ve ended up thinking about all the things I wish I knew when I was younger. But when we’re young, we tend not to think about the bigger picture. We’re too busy running around, getting good grades and just exploring who we are. That can mean that a lot of us spent our teenage years, or even childhood, in a constant state of worry and stress. And with that, we often miss the little joys that can only be experienced in these early stages of life.

Looking back, there is so much that mental illness and anorexia nervosa kept me from experiencing. So I took the time to create a small list of ten things that I wish I knew when I was younger. If not for my inner child, then for those coming up behind me who may be going through similar issues.

Image from THIS IS ZUN

10 Things I wish I knew when I was younger.

1. Life’s too short.

“We’re here for a good time, not a long time.”

I don’t know who first came up with the above quote, but it’s something I always remember my mother-in-law saying. She’s right, of course. Our lives are short, our time on this earth is fleeting and we should be doing everything we can to enjoy it while we still can.

I think about my grandmother and grandfather, and how time just stopped. For my grandmother, it was after eighty-seven long and happy years. However, for my grandfather, it was all too soon.

If I stood face to face with my younger self I would remind her of the fact that people aren’t going to be around forever, and nor am I. My life is my own, it’s what I want to make of it, and I should enjoy myself to the full while I still can.

2. Money is not the ultimate goal in life.

Money’s nice, but it’s not your only purpose in life. Let’s be honest, when I go it’ll still be here. All those hours you spent in a stressful job, ruining your own health with poor coping strategies and high cortisol levels aren’t worth it just for the six-figure sum.

“You were not born to pay bills and die.”

I’ve never heard a truer quote than this one! What’s the point in living if all you’re living for is to make money, pay a mortgage and save, save, save!?

Spend it on the things you want. Take a vacation without counting the pennies and buy that new car!

3. Yoga and mindfulness are important, keep them up.

I used to do yoga when I was a teenager and even into my early twenties, but I never stuck with it long. Each time I tried, I would get distracted by something or I couldn’t lend myself the time to actually complete a full workout. As for meditation, it was something I’d tried for five minutes before giving up because it wasn’t working.

What I didn’t realise was that both yoga and meditation take time. They require patience and consistency in order to feel the full, required effect.

4. What other people think is none of your business.

I grew up worried about what other people would think of me. Although I never tried to fit in, I was still very anxious about others looking at me, or talking about me. I needed everyone to like me; I was really nice, so why didn’t they like me?

The truth is that I can’t make everyone like me. No matter how hard I try! It’s just impossible. Therefore I dub twenty-twenty-three the year that I stop giving a f**k. I’ve lost too much in too many ways to care about the opinions of others.

Image from Helena Lopes

5. Believe in yourself.

This is certainly one of the biggest things I wish I knew when I was younger. We all have problems believing in ourselves at some point in our lives, but for me, that’s been my whole life. I’ve never had any self-confidence and struggle to make big decisions by myself for fear that I’ll mess up.

While adopting my new mindset and trying to rebuild my life, I’m quickly discovering that this is one of the most important points for me.

It’s a long hard road. Like everything, it doesn’t happen overnight and at my age, it’s daunting. If I’d started when I was younger then maybe it wouldn’t be this hard.

There’s no one way to start believing in yourself and your own ability in life. No one size fits all, and the road is often walked alone, with only friends and family offering help along the way.

6. Have compassion.

Although I may not always agree with everyone, I always have compassion. I don’t know if it’s always been there as a default but it’s certainly something I’ve been developing lately.

When I first stepped foot into my previous job I told myself “Don’t lose yourself, don’t become hard and sceptic.” But it was nearly impossible not to harden yourself or second guess people in a job that constantly demanded that you had to.

I walked into that job with purpose, excitement, a feminist agenda, and a positive mind. Not two years later I walked out feeling the opposite. Not only had I become a shell of myself, but I had fallen victim to the pessimistic, sceptical, very judgemental mindset that came along with the job.

It took me a while to start building the walls that had come crashing down, but with them, I started to build upon my compassion; Not just for others, but for myself too.

7. Stand up for yourself or risk losing yourself completely.

Be assertive in life but not aggressive. Strong women were not made by shying away from louder, more extroverted people. Don’t be afraid of your voice or of your ability to say NO.

I’ve had issues with standing up to myself for years, however, it was only as I became an adult that I realised it was an issue. It’s caused me to spend hours worrying about meetings, feel sick with panic when asked to challenge someone about their behaviour, and it’s even meant I’ve been the victim of many toxic friendships.

There is absolutely nothing wrong with standing up for yourself in a safe, assertive and non-violent manor.

8. Life isn’t a race.

Death is the only certain thing in life. Whether you have a mansion by age thirty or over a million in your bank account by sixty is irrelevant.

You can get married whenever you want, buy a house when you want and have kids when or if you want. There’s no set map or guidelines for how you should live your life.

Stop trying to follow the crowd. Who cares if so-and-so is married with two beautiful kids? You’re not, but you know what, you’re doing okay. You’ve got a house, you’ve got a cat and a wonderful partner. That’s enough for now and a lot more than some other people have.

9. Remember to step back every once in a while.

It’s very easy to get caught up in life. We can easily become stuck in our own minds, wearing the ‘blinkers’ of negative thinking and ignoring all the good in our lives. Giving our own problems power only serves in making them seem bigger than they actually are. As you get older this sort of thinking can shift, but as a teenager, it certainly feels like the end of the world!

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Take a step back. Stop and smell the coffee. Enjoy the scenic route; However, you want to say it. Just take some time out to re-evaluate your life and get things into perspective.

Your problems will begin to shrink, solutions will begin to crawl out of the cracks and suddenly, our problems might not seem so big anymore!

10. Learn from your suffering.

It’s okay to struggle. Don’t hide from it; Learn from it! Life is full of experiences and in order to lead a full life, you need to be able to brace yourself for everything that’s coming. Learning from our suffering can better prepare us for harder times to come.

Through suffering, we are given the opportunity to adopt new, healthy coping skills, help others by sharing our experiences and add to our personal development.


These are just a handful of things I’d wish I knew when I was younger. Have you any more to add?

What are your reflections on international youth day? Are there some things you want to tell your younger self about life, love and beyond? I would love to read your suggestions in the comments below or, alternatively, on my socials.

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94 comments

  1. These are some great points that I’m sure most us us can relate to.

    Our experiences are are what shape us into the people that we are today, as crappy as some of them may have been. But hey, we live and we learn right?

    Let’s hope the younger generation and those reading this can learn from us (and you).

    This was such a good read.

    xoxo

  2. I agree with this blog. But at least we can share these things with our children. Thanks for sharing these 10 things.

  3. When we were young we thought we were under the impression that we needed to fit a mold. It’s not true. We are meant to break out of the mold.

  4. I agree with you, money is not everything and we need to pay attention to a lot of things in life. Great advice!

  5. Good ones Nyxie! I wish I knew many of these when I was younger as well. I definitely agree that money should not at all be involved with the ultimate goal of life, but many people forget this.

  6. Learning to say NO is something I have learnt only recently.
    I have always tried saying YES all my life just to make people happy! Great article! I can relate to myself on many points mentioned here!

  7. I love the idea of learning from your suffering. That is something I know I need to work on. I am going to try to practice this daily!

  8. I love this list. You pointing it out makes me it realize it more, it’s like you’re putting my thoughts into words. Thank you so much for sharing this, and hopefully we can really all learn from all what we’ve gone through in life.

  9. WoW, those points really hit home! I can relate to so many of these, and it’s like we know somewhere in our mind what’s right but still we don’t act on it until much later.

  10. Aww I loved reading this post it’s so good to reflect on things you wished you’d known, there’s so much I’ve learnt just from 18 years of life. Great post btw happy birthday !!

  11. I silenced a lot of my ‘friend’s on Facebook because I couldn’t bear the comparison I had in my brain. It actually made me worse, but I didn’t want to totally leave social media. So I just unfollowed a lot of people. They’re still my friends, but I just can’t see what they’re posting.

  12. I think one thing I would have definitely liked to know when I was younger was that I was Autistic. I think knowing that may have helped me adjust my expectations of myself so I didn’t fall into the “life is a race” trap and keep looking at my peers and wondering why I wasn’t thriving as an adult, or achieving the same life goals as them.

  13. Number 10 hit really close to home! This entire post is well written and real. Thank you for sharing!

  14. Wow, what a nice way to reflect on what you’ve learned over the past few years and would tell yourself as a teenager. I like how you tell your younger self to essentially stop and smell the roses, which is something that all of us need to remember to do. Thank you for this reminder.

  15. Aww nice quote “We’re here for a good time, not a long time.” I agree.. and we shouldnt take life for granted too. That is why i make it a point to really enjoy the moment and be at the moment. Thanks for sharing all these great tips!

    – Hazel

  16. I’m still the process of learning to let go of that ideal. I have to admit it’s proving harder than first intended, but I suspect that’s all down to my upbringing.

    Thank you for popping in and reading. As always, I appreciate it.

  17. Hindsight is so useful. Being money oriented is something I’m trying to work through at the moment.

  18. This such a great reminder and resonates so hard with me! I grew up focused on ‘success’ and what it would take to achieve it, not even realizing that I was working on becoming someone that wasn’t true to myself at all. Letting go of that ‘ideal’ has been so freeing

  19. This is an awesome post, and it has inspired me to someday write a letter to my younger self! Thank you for sharing????

  20. I have a similar home life. I’m now realising it’s a toxic environment and all their attempts at caring are overshadowed by how patronizing they are.

  21. I’ve spent the majority of my life rushing forward only to end up where I am now; Flat on my face. So I am all for taking your time and smelling the coffee along the way.

    Thank you so much for popping in and reading πŸ˜€

  22. Those are lovely things, and I’m sure your younger self would really appreciate it. I know my younger self wouldn’t believe the stuff that comes out of my mouth now, at this age! Thank you for reading Spence!

  23. I think it’s especially relevant today as it’s the A Level results here in Ireland. Thank you so much for stopping by and reading.

  24. Aww, such beautiful things. I love that you have shared the things you wish you knew when you were younger so those who are that age now can see them and learn.

  25. These are great. I really wish I had found yoga and mindfulness earlier. I think it would have saved me a lot of trouble.

  26. I certainly wish I didn’t spend my childhood and teenage years worrying and overthinking. It created so many more problems that I honestly didn’t need.

    Thank you for stopping in and sharing your thoughts! I really appreciate it πŸ˜€

  27. Thank you so much for popping in and reading. I really appreciate your ongoing support, and I’m glad you find my posts helpful πŸ˜€

  28. This was such a wonderful post! These are all things I really wish my younger self had known. And not just my kid self, but also my teen, and early 20’s self too. I still struggle with #4. I still feel judged or like I have to act a certain way, or keep my mouth shut about things, but slowly I’m starting to open up more and just be myself. It’s hard, but I know it’ll be worth it. πŸ™‚

    Thank you for another great and moving post. You have such wonderful advice and thank you so much for sharing your experiences with us.

    Emily | https://www.thatweirdgirllife.com

  29. Hey Girl this is really nice.
    But I would definately focus on number one and two.
    These are the ones that would make a huge difference for me.

  30. Enjoyed reading this Nyxie πŸ™‚

    100% agree with learning from your suffering. I feel like your best life lessons are learnt from the struggles you go through rather than your success. With constant success and affirmation, as good and as satisfying as it is, it’s easy to be content and not try and learn new things because you know the recipe for success you have is working. If that makes sense?

    As for what I wish I knew I was younger – like you I wish I didn’t overthink as much as I did and worry about others as much. I also wish I relished my childhood more as I felt those were the best years of my life to date. Not saying great years aren’t ahead of me but would love to enjoy the freedom I had then more.

    Johnny | Johnny’s Traventures

  31. The fact that what other people think is none of your business is probably the one I need to work on a lot. I’ve never been very much of a people pleaser but I do think about this more than I should.

  32. Great list filled with helpful points I can apply to my life. Thanks for the reminder! πŸ™‚

  33. This is a really lovely and thoughtful post. You make so many points we can all relate and there are some I feel I can still work on. One for me would be letting go of a mistake. What’s done is done, we just need to move on and deal with it after. I’m so good at dwelling on the past.

  34. Well written! Agreed that we could be so much happier with learning these small things. But learning through mistakes is the only rightful passage of life…????❀

  35. Another great post packed with wisdom. I wish i could say any one of these to my younger self! Alongside “believe in yourself”, i would also say “trust in yourself” both for the long term and the shorter term.
    Peace & love,
    Spence ????

  36. So brilliantly put as always. I really relate to all of these, especially when it comes to realising that life’s too short and that money isn’t everything. Your point about learning from your suffering is so important too, it’s okay not to be okay and it’s okay to ask for help. I think my favourite one though has a to be the one about how life isn’t a race – it’s so true and I think it’s such an easy thing to forget! I’ve rushed into so many things because I’ve been wanting to be like my friends or people I know and while I don’t have any regrets as such I think had I gone at my own pace they probably would have had a much easier outcome! Thank you for sharing πŸ™‚

  37. Great post and can definitely resonate with a lot of these. I’d tell my younger self to remember that life changes, friends leave and things don’t stay the way you want them to forever x

  38. Some useful advice for your younger self. I don’t think any of it would have helped me during my youth unfortunately. My youth was wrecked from never ending racial abuse and a mother that wished I was never born.

    I don’t think I could give myself any advice that would have helped with that situation, it was everyone else around me that would need the advice

  39. I often beat myself for how long it took me to start seeing my worth as a person, but I’m glad I’ve learned it now and I’m able to grow from it.

    Thank you for stopping by and reading πŸ™‚

  40. My stories not unsimilar to yours in regards to not standing up for myself and therefore falling victim to certain toxic people in various workplaces. I tend to be the doormat and the ‘yes’ man just to avoid conflict.

  41. I am still learning who needs to be cut out and who needs to be simply stood up to. I tend to isolate myself to prevent having to deal with it in the first place though.

  42. That’s what my partner always tells me; Everyone is more interested in themselves. I have to keep reminding myself of that when I get overly anxious.

    Thank you for popping in and reading πŸ™‚

  43. I’ve neglected things that do in favor of things that don’t for far too long. It took me to 26, almost 27, to realise just how much I needed to re-evaluate my thinking. Thank you for popping in and reading πŸ™‚

  44. I agree with you sayings life is too short to take care about what other think about you. One thin that I’ve learned is that if you do good or bad things you are not going to satisfy no one. The only person you have to satisfy is yourself.

  45. I agree with you on all of these sayings! YESS on what other people think is none of your business. Everyone has opinions, which is fine. We have them too and at the end of the day, as long as it doesn’t directly affect us, that is fine. Life is definitely not a race either. All of us have different paths to take. Thanks for sharing these powerful thoughts!

    Nancy β™₯ exquisitely.me

  46. Hi Nyxie, as a 22 year old myself, I completely relate to all your points. I need to follow them more, I guess as humans we are all prone to focusing on things that don’t matter much and neglecting things that do. You have the skills to introspectively reflect and learn from your experiences, which is absolutely brilliant.

  47. Great post! I can relate to a lot of them on this lift but my favourites have to be 4,5 and , I really could have done with knowing these much sooner!

  48. Great post! I wrote a similar post on this topic and one of the most profound things for me has been time. Understanding how it works and learning to live in the moment.

  49. I especially resonated with #4, 8, and 9!

    I’d definitely tell younger Anna that most people are more focused on themselves and worrying about what others think of THEM rather than focusing on me. I’d also show myself that a lot of the things I worried about weren’t even that big of a deal.

  50. I agree with with everything you said. But what resonated with me was about standing up for myself. I allowed people to use me as a kid. But when I become an adult I realized how toxic they were. I cut them out of my life and I really don’t care if they are upset because I know they haven’t change.

  51. Number 4 is the one I struggle with the most! I want to get back to a place of not caring about others’ interpretations and thoughts about me. I think this is a reflection of what my fears are about myself and what I fear I’m coming across as (stupid, ugly, immature, whatever). Love your blog!!

  52. This is a really nice list. Super thought out and very true. I think that we get so caught up in trying to keep up with everyone around us that we lose sight of the more important things. Being in the moment and present. Taking care of ourselves and having compassion for ourselves will help us to have compassion and help us give more to those we love and who we are on a mission to help! πŸ™‚

  53. I absolutely love this post! I, too, have learned a lot of these over the years. I need to spend more time on doing yoga and being more mindful for sure. Thank you for the reminder.

    Mariam
    bossbabechroniclesblog.com

  54. This is such an amazing list of lessons learned. As we grow older, as we go through trials, triumphs and all the experiences in between – this is where wisdom is born.

  55. I do wish i learned to stand up for myself a lot earlier. Then I wouldn’t have suffered so much in a toxic work environment. I also wish I had had some self-compassion.. that one took a lot of time as well.

  56. Hi Nykie,
    I love your list of reflections especially What other people think is none of your business, this is truly something that can save us so much heartache and problems. They are excellent learning life tips. I wish I would have known about alternative medicine and mindfulness long before I did it could have save me many problems. Thanks for sharing!

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