by Jackie Silver
I was sitting in the sauna at the gym the other day, contemplating life as I tend to do, and started thinking about my 20s and 30s. That thought process led me to think about five things I would tell my younger self.
1. Be grateful. I’ve always been a pretty appreciative person, but when I was younger, I was so busy working hard, trying to get ahead, looking for the next big thing, that I probably could have been more grateful if I would have slowed down to notice how terrific my life already was. I would tell my younger self to stop and smell the roses.
2. Stop worrying. I’m a born worrier, but I took it to new heights. I worried about everything! What I wore, what I didn’t wear, what I ate, what I didn’t eat, what people thought about me, what people said to me, what I said to people…you get the idea. I would tell my younger self that it doesn’t matter what other people think or say about me – anyone can say anything about anyone, that doesn’t make it true. I would also tell my younger self, “90 percent of everything I worry about never happens.”
3. Youth and beauty are prized in our society. When I was a teenager, I just wanted to hurry up and become an adult. While in my 20s, I just wanted to hurry up and become successful. In my 30s I just wanted to hurry up and become a mom. I never truly appreciated my youthful, unlined face and young, toned body until my 50s when I look back at old photos. I would tell my younger self to enjoy the journey.
4. Sleep is super important. In my 20s I worked midnight to six on the air at an FM rock radio station, came home to sleep for two hours, then went to my college classes for the rest of the day. Seriously, I slept two hours a day for years. That took a toll on my health (I was constantly catching colds) and my looks. I ran into the radio station’s general manager 17 years later and he asked, “How come you look younger now than you did when you worked for us?” Me: “Well, I get to sleep more than two hours a day now, thanks.” I would tell my younger self not to burn the candle at both ends.
5. It’s okay to eat. Thin was in when I was younger and I took that very literally. All through my teens, 20s, 30s and even 40s, I constantly starved myself. I am a lifetime member of every weight loss program out there, possibly Weight Watchers’ most long-term lifetime member – 45 years! At several points in my life I have dieted down to size zero. Even then I thought I still needed to lose “that last five pounds.” I would tell my younger self that starving myself is unhealthy and unnecessary.