Wednesday, September 25, 2013

For My Birthday: What Advice Would I Have Given Myself 10 Years Ago?

I came across a question on the internet recently:

Knowing what I know now, what advice would I have given myself ten years ago?

It's an interesting question to answer for my birthday.

Aside from realizing that I'm getting older and there's nothing I can do about it, I thought it was interesting to think about since my life was so different ten years ago. I stopped to think about where I was and what I was doing. It was a turning point in my life.

Posing with family members about 10 years ago

Where was I ten years ago?

Let me see. I was just starting out my senior year in high school. I went to a medium-sized public school in the home state, where I spent my time with a close-knit group of friends and otherwise kept to myself in most aspects. At the same time, I was gaining a new confidence in myself I hadn't had before. I tried my best to stay away from the drama in my high school and was more focused on my future.

I was spending a lot of time preparing for the whole college thing. I had done a ton a research by that point and it was time for me to start applying for schools.  I visited a few schools with my mom and decided to apply to American University for early decision. I got in.
Me 10 years ago with a cousin

Being the angsty teenager that I was, I clashed with my parents often. At home, I also kept to myself. It was a time where I went home, locked myself in my room and didn't come out unless I had to. Needless to say, I looked forward to life away and on my own.

I wasn't sure what I was going to be when I "grew up," but if anyone asked me if I would consider becoming a teacher, I certainly would have said no! I just vaguely saw myself ending up as some corporate drone somewhere.

I had never traveled overseas at that point, and while it would have been appealing to me, it wasn't on my radar quite yet. Working as a teacher in another country is something that would have been unreal to me.

No way would I have imagined doing what I'm doing today.

What Would the Advice Be?

There has been a mixture of both triumphs and defeats, but I recognize that it was the decisions I made in conjunction with one another that led me to where I am today.

In other words, if I could speak to my younger self, I will tell myself to just keep doing what I'm doing.

With my step-brother, after starting uni
And what did I do after that point? To make a long story short, I went to university, became an exchange student in Argentina, had a retail management job in hand when I graduated, quit that job after it became stressful, moved back in with my dad and ended up in Korea.

I began to enjoy my job and the concept of working abroad. I liked the challenge of learning new languages. I liked the adventure that comes with traveling. I like the kind of people I meet on the road. The truth is that all of that probably wouldn't have happened if I hadn't made a couple of bad decisions. I'm currently satisfied with life, and I'm happy and thankful that I can say that.

There are a couple of things that could have happened. For example, if I had become more concerned with being popular in high school, I almost certainly would have ended up as a teenage mother, like a large amount of other girls my age. That was a normal predicament at my high school.

Or, if I had kept that retail management job, I probably would have a lot more money, but I would have been stressed out and miserable. Days would have likely blended together and I would have had little vacation time. I would have been hanging around the same type of people, not learning anything new. I shudder thinking about it.

The fact of the matter is that I got here by chance, and I wouldn't have it any other way.

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