Last week, I gleefully skewered Arianna Huffington for telling us that we all have time for what’s important in our lives, when in fact, she totally misses the point that time is money. But the bigger context for her essay was that there are certain things she would go back and tell her 22 year-old self, and I think there's some real value in that exercise. Corny as it is, it stuck in my mind, and I decided that if I could talk to myself at 22, I’d probably tell myself these 10 things:
1. Nothing is more attractive than self-confidence. How you value yourself is exactly the same as your value to anyone else. Only you can decide what you're worth and what you will put up with.
2. It’s OK if someone just isn’t into you. Whether it's a prospective friend, lover, or employer, the fact that someone doesn’t want you around doesn’t make you a bad person.
3. There are only a few things in life that are really worth crying over.
4. You have the rest of your life sit in an office, and only so much time to travel the world or experience life unencumbered by responsibilities and obligations. Go more places, and do more fun things.
5. To a certain extent, everyone is secretly just faking it until they make it. You should too.
6. There’s a difference between giving up and just being done with something, saying no, or setting boundaries. You're too young to feel like a bird in the hand is worth two in the bush. Go for the two birds.
7. No one really respects your opinion right now, and probably for good reason. But that will change one day. Be ready for it, and be confident then that your opinion matters.
8. As Annie Dillard wrote, “how we spend our days is, of course, how we spend our lives.” Life gets complicated while your'e not paying attention and you won’t be young forever. Spend your days the way you want to spend your life.
9. If you have to chase a relationship or a friendship too hard or work too hard to maintain it, it's probably not worth your time. Always tell people how you feel about them and what they mean to you. Then make some decisions about what relationships are worth pursing or maintaining.
10. Young women will work with you (or maybe even for you) one day. Pay it forward by treating them better than you were treated. Nurture them, listen to them, give them the advice they need to navigate their careers, and believe them when they tell you that they value your input.