Advice at 21

by allisoncoyle

We’ve all felt lost and alone. We’ve all felt unheard and unappreciated. As I write this note at 1 a.m., I feel at one with humanity. I feel at one with every person who has a story to tell but hasn’t yet found the strength within themselves to tell it.

To those of you who have experienced unrequited love, I feel for you. To those of you who have taken that terrifying leap of expressing your love to someone who wasn’t quite “The One,” wow, do I ever feel for you. It is truly their loss, not yours. It has taken me a year and a half to realize this truth, but it is the ultimate truth. You love deeply, and you love hard..and that is a GOOD thing. Your love and compassion are not weaknesses. They are gifts that will one day be treasured.

You are more than the sum of your mistakes. There is so much life ahead, God willing, and you will be in awe of something one day…whether that be another person, a mountain, a book, a poem, a painting, or even your own potential. Don’t let your failures outweigh your achievements.

If you’re single, don’t dote on what you don’t have but rather relish what you do have…time to learn a new language or read a new book, space to meet new people, freedom to take a solo cross-country trip and be amazed by your self-sufficiency.

Do not stay in a relationship if you doubt more often than you trust.

If you enjoy smoking, smoke! This may not be great advice, but it’s self-gratifying advice. The end is (hopefully) nigh, so let’s enjoy it while we can!

There’s no shame in trying new things, whether that be a new diet, a new religion, or simply a new style. Perspective comes from new experiences, so try out something new and run with it. It doesn’t have to fit for it to be a success.

If you gain ten pounds, be thankful you’re not starving. Also, upgrade to a fierce new wardrobe.

Your weight does not define you any more than you IQ defines you. If you own a scale, write the following words on it – 
“The number on this scale will not tell you:
– What a great person you are
– How much your friends and family love you
– That you are kind, smart, funny, and amazing in ways numbers cannot define
– That you have the power to choose happiness
– Your own self-worth

(Yes, I stole this idea ^)

Feed yourself kind words, and learn the power of complimenting others.

If you are fortunate enough to have a singular passion in life, spend your life mastering it. If you find yourself pulled in several directions, explore every option. There is NOTHING wrong with uncertainty. We are all works in progress.

If you don’t already, start keeping a diary and track your progress. When you look back at who you were, you may have the urge to burn your diary in shame, lest you die and anyone discover what you used to write about, but keep it as a reminder that you HAVE grown.

Don’t be too hard on yourself if you’re not where you thought you’d be thus far in life. You have grown in immeasurable ways, whether you realize it or not.

This is tough for me, but ladies, try to go a week or so without wearing any type of concealer or foundation. Your skin will feel so good.

To everyone, take up cooking! You will feel fantastic knowing that you have mastered a dish and have it in your arsenal at any given time.

Check your car’s oil frequently. Your car may die. R.I.P. Phoebe (my first car).

Finding faults in others may feel good in the moment, but it can quickly become a habit. Realize that others make unfair judgments of you as well. Try not to make assumptions about strangers.

People only post the highlights of their lives on social media. Don’t envy them or assume their life is better than yours. You don’t know the full picture.

Watch the sunrise from the Lincoln Memorial. You’ll feel like the tallest person on Earth.

Lincoln Memorial