Earlier this week I had a couple of moles biopsied at my yearly skin screening. This happens every year or two and it freaks me out every single time. As the doctor scrapes off the mole, I internally kick myself for not wearing sunscreen in my teens and early twenties. The amount of sun damage I have now is a literal health concern.
It got me thinking about how I wish I could go back and tell 20-something Julia to wear sunscreen and save more money and stop worrying so much about what other people think. During my morning walk with Boots yesterday, I jotted down a list of things all the things I would tell her.
1. Wear sunscreen. Every day. But especially when you’re “laying out” at the beach or by a pool. A tan might look cool now but wrinkles won’t look cool later. And you know what else isn’t cool? Skin Cancer. That is very uncool.
2. Moisturize your neck. It will be the first thing to go as you age. Prevent neck and decolletage wrinkles by continuing your face routine down to your chest. And do it daily.
3. Leave the guy who makes you feel bad about yourself. He’s not worth it. You deserve better.
4. Save more money. Max out your 401K and IRAs. Automatically put money from your paychecks into savings, even if it’s only $20.
5. But when you do spend money… Spend less on things and more on experiences. Enjoy what the world has to offer before you have kids.
6. Go to therapy. Girl, trust me.
7. Forgiveness feels better than holding a grudge. Let it go.
8. Let go of your childhood traditions. You’re growing up. Families change. It will never be the same as it was but that’s ok. The new traditions are going to be pretty great too.
9. Stop putting so much pressure on New Year’s Eve. It’s never going to be the best night of the year. I promise!
10. Enjoy being single for a while. Use that time to do the things you enjoy. He is coming. And when he does, you’ll know it.
11. Put effort into the friendships that bring you joy. The ones that are convenient aren’t necessarily the ones you should be spending your time on.
12. Stop buying uncomfortable shoes! Save up for one well-made, comfortable pair instead of 10 crappy ones.
13. Get more sleep. Despite what you may think in the moment, nothing good happens after 1am in New York City. Go to bed early on a Friday once in a while!
14. Be the first one in the office and the last one to leave. Work hard and remember that you are not above entry-level work. Everyone has to start somewhere. So crush it every step of the way. Whether that means getting coffee for your boss or answering phones.
15. Call your grandparents more often. They won’t be around forever. Write down their recipes. Listen to their stories. Cherish every moment.
16. You don’t need that last drink. Oh, and FYI hangovers get worse.
17. Speaking of that last drink, don’t drunk text your ex. Or drunk Facebook message or drunk dial. In fact, you should probably just delete his info.
18. Don’t worry so much about what other people think. You do you.
19. Stop sucking in your stomach. Your body is beautiful just the way it is.
20. Everything is going to work out the way it’s supposed to. The best is yet to come, my dear.
If you could go back in time, what would you tell your 20-something self?