Things I wish I could tell my 20-year-old self:
1. You are not fat. Wear the bikini, wear the cute dress. You can pull it off. One day you will be the proud owner of the dreaded "mom bod," and you will find yourself at the beach in a coverup trying to pinpoint the exact moment your metabolism failed you.
2. Wear sunscreen! Sure that tan looks good now, but in 10 years when you're sitting in an exam room having suspicious moles cut off of your body, leaving deep scars that will never fade away, anxiously awaiting results that could change your life forever, you'll wish you had just embraced your fair skin. Get a spray tan, use sunless tanner, amp up the bronzer – whatever it takes. Just don't fry your your beautiful skin in order to look better in white shorts.
3. Spend more time with your friends. Cultivating your friendships now will ensure that you have people to turn to in your 30's when life becomes real. Right now you need them for shopping, clubbing and flirting with cute guys. Later on, you'll need them for marriage advice, parenting advice and the occasional clubbing experience where you'll realize that you just can't hang past 10:30 p.m. and you're officially the "old ladies" getting hyped when a Nelly song comes on.
4. College is not as difficult as you're making it out to be. You'll miss the days of higher learning when you're watching Paw Patrol on a loop, wondering if you're still capable of holding an adult conversation with vocabulary words that weren't on your first graders weekly list to study.
5. You don't know the meaning of tired. That 8 a.m. class is nothing compared to the late nights you will one day keep with your babies, only to be awaken before the sun to get your day started. You're getting 8 hours of uninterrupted sleep a night. Cherish it!
6. Don't give your life up for that boy. He is telling you everything he thinks you want to hear. I know you think this is love, and in some ways it is, but it's not the fulfilling type of love you are longing for. Your self worth is more important than your relationship status. Love yourself enough to know you don't need anyone to make you feel complete.
7. Be nicer to your mother. She only wants what is best for you. Believe it or not, she actually does have all the answers. Listen to her. Learn from her. Spend more time with her. In a few years she will become an even bigger safety net for you. When you're up all night with a sick baby, it is she who will show up to help so you can rest. She will do your laundry, tidy up your house and cook up your favorite meal in order to take away from your stress. You are blessed to have her. Make sure you let her know how much she means to you every chance you get.
8. Spend your money on experiences not clothes. No one needs that many halter tops and sun dresses. I get it, you want to be stylish and cute, you want to fit the norm, but there is so much more to life than trying to impress through your outwardly appearance. Travel as much as your tiny budget will allow. Being well rounded is far more attractive than what's hot on the racks at Express.
9. Don't be in such a hurry to grow up. These are some of the best days of your life. Being an adult is overrated. You have it made right now. No real bills and a car that is paid off. You might as well be living in the lap of luxury! You'll long for the days when your biggest responsibility was making it to your part time job on time.
10. You don't know anything about hardships and struggles. The real world is just beginning to slap you in the face. The knockout punch is still coming and it will keep you face down longer than you can even imagine. Stop sweating these small "world-ending" problems you think you have.
11. Your future is beautiful. You will fall in love, get married, have babies, travel the world and all the things you dream of now will someday be yours. Life is not a fairy tale, but it can have a happy ending. Just be patient. Have faith. Your job for now is to live for the moment. Thoroughly enjoy this stage of life before it's time for the next one to begin.