What I Wish I Could Tell My Twenty-Year-Old Self

What I Wish I Could Tell My Twenty Year Old Self
Photo: iStock Photo

As far back as I recall age was just a number. I never feared growing up or getting older. Although I didn’t know exactly what I wanted to be when I grew up, I always knew I would be a fashion editor or creative director in some capacity. My career was constantly on my mind. When people asked what I wanted to be I always had the same answer: I want Anna Wintour’s job! I owned every WWD, W and Vogue magazine. At that age I played out every scenario of how to make my dreams a reality. I still do. Which is why when I look back now it feels weird to say there is one thing I wish I could tell my twenty-year-old self and go back in time and do again.

I’ve battled with what is normal? forever! I hate that word btw. NORMAL! Who wants to be normal? As you get older things don’t always fall into place as scheduled. Not that I had a plan per se, but thirty-nine looked a lot different in my twenties. Of course back then it seemed old and now that it’s here I feel young and full of life. But somewhere along my path I put myself and my dreams on the back burner in pursuit of love. Which also surprises me because I’m not any closer today than I was at twenty. If I could sit with my twenty-year-old self or a group of twenty-year-olds today I would tell them not to rush the future and live out their dreams by making them reality.  

I’m a firm believer that the future is now and we are investing into our futures by every choice we make. Thanks to the internet and Generation Z anything is possible. This is why I think focusing on your career is far more valuable than prioritizing love. Besides the obvious that we change over the course of a decade. The only way to be successful in young love is to-be established because a relationship requires a strong foundation to build and maintain a home. You should never give up your autonomy and dreams for someone else’s which is why you should establish them first. 

It’s easier said than done, I know. I also know firsthand what it feels like to give up everything for someone else. I am not encouraging you to give up love, however, I would advise you to invest time into self-love. Start young. Start now. Just get started! The irony in self-love is that the more you respect yourself the more you will receive the same respect from others including lovers. The more respect you have for yourself you will also standout at work which will propel your career. The law of attraction is a winning formula.

Putting your career first will provide you with things you want earlier in your life. It’s a domino effect for all the other pieces. The twenty-first century has proven how capable and influential young entrepreneurs are. Evan Sharp, Brian Armstrong, Tom Persson, Evan Spiegel, Mark Zuckerberg and Drew Houston are examples of billionaires who prove you can have it all. I had many aspirations I put on hold for love. All of which I eventually saw other people capitalize on. Not to diminish love and building a family, however, you have your whole life to have fun, find love and see the world. The time for turning your dreams into reality is now. 

Through all of my experiences putting my dreams on hold for love, travel, lack of experience and fear only prolonged the inevitable. My future. If you have a burning desire inside you to do something bigger than you can imagine do it! The world is full of resources and ways to succeed. For everything else there’s Google and YouTube to answer all of your questions.  

For those of you reading this who are not twenty-something or a spring chicken it is never too late!  Don’t give up hope. I quit my stable job at 38 to pursue my passion projects because I couldn’t stop dreaming about them. I am not a success story yet, but my efforts are being rewarded and I see the potential and ROI. Make a goal. Strategize. Set a date and work toward your dreams. You might have to work multiple jobs to save with an honest income and allocate time, but others just like you are doing the same. Don’t waste another minute making excuses or telling yourself you can’t do it, because you can!  Don’t live with regrets. 

Wherever you are in your life now take time for yourself. Make yourself and your dreams a priority. Remember relationships come and go. Travel and hobbies will always be there. So build your perfect life by starting with what’s most important to you. Don’t look back in 5, 10, 15 more years from now and wish what might have been.  




is the CEO of www.monikafreeman.com. She also works as a Creative Director, Writer, Brand Strategist and Fashion Editor.

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