Wish-I-Knews: Advice to the Single 20-somethings Out There

Boring. I’m pretty boring. I like to read, and play with my three doggies, and watch Netflix an unhealthy amount of time. But, if you’d met me 10 or 15 years ago, man, I would have been anything but boring!

You might have described me as fun, or crazy, or any number of words for someone who was a blast to hang out with for a night or two, a real party girl. You and I would have hung out until the bar closed, we would have sung the loudest with the band (I actually would have found a way up on stage), we would have found the cutest guys in the club to dance with all night, and we would have made some questionable choices, but we would have had FUN!

The weird thing is, the thing people don’t really tell us when we’re young, is that we change. I don’t mean we get older, or that we go from liking Hip Hop to Classical piano ballads; I mean we change. Full on caterpillar-into-chrysalis-and-out-as-butterfly change. Let me reword – we metamorphasize, and sometimes, most times I bet, we spend years of our lives mourning who we used to be. I know I did, and do sometimes.  But this isn’t a blog about that part of the Big Morph – it’s about loving yourselves — each and every reincarnation of you – along the way.

You see, young chicas, I was never satisfied with where I was in life. I was single and poor for many years leading up to my marriage and financial security. And I would hope and hope and hope for some wonderful – scratch that – hot guy to come into my life and make the singleness disappear, make me fully happy. I would hope and hope for a pretty house, like the ones my friends had who were married. I would hope and hope for the boat or the car or the purse or the life of those lady friends who seemed to have it all together. The point is, I didn’t just appreciate the glorious life I had right then. I always lived in the future, never in the present.  And that, irony of ironies, will cause you to look to the past and sigh, which is what I do now.

So, to save you gals some heartache, I thought I’d make up a handy-dandy list of some of the “wish-I-knews” I have acquired, and maybe by passing them on, you’ll never have to one day look back and say those words to yourself.

#1. Enjoy today! Yes you’re broke and wish you could go shopping, but hey, you are not dependent on anyone and YOU are the captain of your own ship. Damn it, they are named after women for a reason, and no man needs to navigate this life for you.

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#2. You’re young. Youth is on your side right now. You are pretty, or at least you can be with a little work. Your skin is elastic, your metabolism is quick, and you can have fun without the responsibly of children, or a husband, or three dogs and a turtle dove. In other words, you are only really responsible for yourself, and that is awesome. Take up those reins and ride that pony fast and feel the wind in your hair (before it gets so gray that you have to color it!).

#3. You don’t have a mortgage. Or a huge car payment. Or student loans. Or credit card bills. Or if you do have a combination of those, you don’t have them all strapped to your back like you’re working in the diamond mines of Africa. You live in an apartment, so if something breaks, dammit, someone else is responsible for fixing it. You are basically FREE. Maybe for only a few short years, but enjoy it!

#4. No one can tell you what to do. Your parents no longer can make demands. No husband is lining out a list of dos and don’ts. No kids are screaming your name and taking up all of your time. You call the shots, and you can call for shots too, any night of the week! Just make sure to take two Advil before you go to bed. You still have work in the morning, Sunshine!

#5. Enjoy girl time. Have slumber parties. Go on trips, just the girls. Make plans that don’t revolve around guys. Enjoy the magic of singledom and femaledom. Share dreams and hopes, don’t compete and have petty jealousies. Be thankful for the good friends you have. If you don’t have many good friends, take the time to find some and then invest in those friendships. Have lots of different friends: some who hike, some who read, some who party, and enjoy them all. Good girlfriend time is unbeatable!

#6. This you, the one you are right now, this may be the cutest, or funniest, or sweetest, or hottest, or best in shape, or happiest, or  . . . you that ever lives. Enjoy her, be good to her. One day you will miss her, and want to hang out with her again. But you won’t be able to do so. Let me explain it this way: I loved playing with Barbie dolls when I was 10. So, once when I was about 16, I found my boxed up Barbies and decided to take them out and recreate the fun. Guess what? No go. Playing Barbies when you’re 16 is not fun. Guess what? Acting 25 when you are 42 is not fun, no matter how much you want it to be.

So, stop looking upon the horizon for your perfect life, and start snuggling up to the great single gal you are now. Man, I’d change places with you if I could!*

* Note: There is a caveat to this advice I’m giving out to the 20-somethings out there. This advice goes for all ages, including somewhat reminiscent 42 year-olds. They, like their younger counterparts, can enjoy exactly WHERE/WHEN they are, too. I can take my own advice and start looking at all of the great stuff I can do at 42 that I probably couldn’t have done at 22. I can appreciate exactly what is going on in my life, now. I can stop looking back and stop looking forward, and appreciate the now. I think that is the biggest piece of advice anyone, no matter what gender or age, should take up and implement into her own life right now. This woman I am today, March of 2016, she is not going to be around in 10 years, and I bet I’ll miss her, too.

In the immortal words – pun intended, I’m middle-aged, let me have fun where I can get it – of The Doctor: “We all change when you think about it. We’re all different people, all through our lives. And that’s ok; that’s good. You gotta keep moving so long as you remember all the people that you used to be.”

Featured photo by Mark Cariaga via Flickr

Amy Little
Amy Little has taught high school for 17 years, from Arkansas to Japan to Oklahoma to Alaska. She graduated with her M.F.A. in 2014 from the University of Central Oklahoma. Amy loves her three doggies, reading, and Netflix. She has one published short story and advises the Eagle River Writing Club, helping young writers work on their craft. She is 42 years old and in her middle age is ready to impart what little wisdom she has to the masses.
Amy Little

Amy Little

Amy Little has taught high school for 17 years, from Arkansas to Japan to Oklahoma to Alaska. She graduated with her M.F.A. in 2014 from the University of Central Oklahoma. Amy loves her three doggies, reading, and Netflix. She has one published short story and advises the Eagle River Writing Club, helping young writers work on their craft. She is 42 years old and in her middle age is ready to impart what little wisdom she has to the masses.

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