Dear 26 Year Old Me: The 5 Things Someone Should Have Told Me

Dear 26 Year Old Me: The 5 Things Someone Should Have Told Me
Words by Laura Quick

1. Show up less.

I know, you already think that’s crazy—But the truth is, in my 20s I really thought my value was derived by how many times I could show my face at events. And not just events—I said yes to what felt like every luncheon and every networking thingy, just all of it. With some perspective and good counsel in my life, now I realize when I’m everywhere, I’m kind of nowhere. If I show up to everything, it could seem like everything is important to me. But it wasn’t then. So, what I’m telling you that took me until my 30s to figure out—if it isn’t a HELL YES, it’s a no. Your value will actually increase if you choose things that are really meaningful to you. Show up when it REALLY MATTERS TO YOU.


2. Go to sleep.

Seems simple right? But it’s not, because there is always a late night something you can get into. Do your body, skin, heart, and soul a favor and have an actual bedtime. Maybe that seems lame, but a bedtime is a great way to start a routine for yourself.—and no, it doesn’t need to be 9pm like when you were 11. But Monday-Thursday try to put some guard rails around when you will shut down your favorite European find on Netflix, or leave dinner with your friends in enough time to be in bed with your face clean, teeth flossed and brushed, and screens down in enough time to actually get a solid 8. If this seems impossible to you, it’s not. DO IT. Try it for 2 weeks and evaluate how you feel. I know you’ll feel better.


3. Take inventory of the loudest voices in your life.

So what do the loudest people in your life sound like? Are they cheering voices? Or do they seem really good at poking you in wounds? Are they good at lifting you up? Or really good at keeping you down? Do the people talking to you most have a tendency to make you feel as though you need to stay small to keep them comfortable? There is a BIG difference between accountability and toxicity. I think in my 20s, those lines were blurry. If the loudest voices in your life aren’t CELEBRATING with you and cheering for you, offering you a HAND UP if and when you fall, those voices may need to be muted. Accountability happens with the people that CHEER the loudest with you—those same people I like to give permission to call me out. Muting loud, mean voices doesn’t need to be dramatic—just significantly limit your intake! Your bedtime and showing up less will help you. :) See, you’re welcome! 💁🏻‍♀️


4. Get/keep your hobbies.

Somewhere in my 20s I forgot what I loved outside of winning at my career. I forgot to read. I forgot to kayak enough. I forgot to do lame scavenger hunts, or join the kickball league, or travel with girlfriends. I forgot to suck at golf(well, I did suck at golf but it was always with clients!), and I forgot to PLAY. Now, well into my 30s, I’m seeking them again—forgotten passions that make me feel like a wild child!!! So don’t forget to keep doing things outside of your career that you LOVE. Keep hobbies that are personal and yours. Don’t be afraid to take your inner 12 year old down the Lisa Frank aisle of Target and go wild. Whatever it is, do something for you that is just FUN.


5. Volunteer and don’t tell anyone.

Find an organization you LOVE and commit to showing up once a week or once a month, and let it be your secret. Don’t post it. Don’t take selfies. Just be there and be all in while you are there. Volunteering is an incredible way to develop character—but in my opinion it will happen so much faster if it is personal. I’m not saying don’t tell your family and friends! Because DEFINITELY DO! But don’t make it social media official. The investments you make into organizations you love should be about matters of the heart, not likes.