People tell me I am very wise for my age.  I remind them that wisdom comes at a price; I’ve made a lot of mistakes that have served as a backdrop to who I am today.

There are seven things I know for certain today that I wish I would have known when I was 20.

1)      Enjoy every day.  If you spend all of your time thinking about /living where you “want to be” you will miss everything you have right now – the moments, the people, the relationships, the youth, the energy.  You may or may not achieve your goals or dreams – but if you live today thinking exclusively about them, planning for them, and living in your dream for tomorrow, you will lose today in the process.

2)      Your success is not based on what other people think of you.  Your success is based on who you know in your own skin and your own soul that you are.  If others think you’re smart, it doesn’t make you any more or less intelligent – and the same goes for every other characteristic.  If you like yourself, and you know yourself better than anyone, then let them think what they will.

3)      Just because other people look happy – just because they look like they’ve got it all together – or they tell you they’ve got it all together, doesn’t mean they do.  It just means they’re good at painting a picture.  It’s up to you to decide if it’s more important to you to be happy or to paint a picture of happiness for others to see.  Everybody laughs sometimes.  Everybody cries.

4)      Don’t try to be older.  Don’t try to look older or to get into bars before you’re 21.  You will age soon enough, and when you do, you will look back at the figure you have today, the skin you have today, the health and the energy you have today, and you will miss the woman you are right this very minute. 

5)      Try to treat yourself as kindly as you will wish you treated yourself 20 years from now.  You are your own best friend, and you are your own worst enemy – and only you, only you, can decide which role you want to invest more time in developing.

6)      Love your mother.  She has probably done something to mess you up – something you will inevitably need therapy for someday.  But she loves you the best she can.  For some moms, that love comes with really steep limitations.  But all moms love their kids the very best they know how.

7)      And one more thing.  Listen more. When you are alone, listen to yourself.  When you are in nature, listen to the wind and the sounds that surround you.  It is only natural for our bodies to yearn to be in concert with nature.  And when you are with others, even if you are not interested in what they have to say, listen.  If you really want to be a hero, if you really want to be appreciated and loved and invited out, listen.  Really listen.  The No. 1 thing most people crave in this world, regardless of what they tell you, is to be heard.

And that’s it.  That’s all I’ve got.  But it’s a primer that would have served me well if I wouldn’t have had to spend 15 years learning these key lessons the hard way.  Hope this adds hope and inspiration to your blog.

Kind regards,

Debra Yergen

Author, Creating Job Security 

Note from Our Hope Place:  Given the economic environment we are all facing, Creating Job Security (blog and book) might be a helpful thing for us all…  Also check out the Graduate Group (publisher of Creating Job Security); their business sounds very cool and supportive of women authors, any asiring authors out there, should check them out…