Oh, to be twenty-one again.
No thank you!
When I was 21-years-old, I’m not sure I listened to anyone. But maybe I would’ve listened to the older me. Who knows? Either way, I would’ve needed a good firm talking to for the message to get across.
So what might that little talk sound like? What would I tell me? Here you go:
1. You’re going to be fine.
Relationships end. Things fall through. Matters don’t work out. Hopes are dashed. Life is hard. Welcome to reality. Don’t stay stuck in the moment. You’re 21-years-old! Trust me, you have a lot of life ahead of you. In fact, these things must fall through for the best to come through.
Keep your head up. Press on. You’re going to be fine.
2. You’re not entitled.
A University degree doesn’t entitle you to a solid, financially rewarding career, or even a job at all! You’re going to learn this the hard way. Even with a degree, you’re going to work for minimum wage for a season to drive this point home. And that way you’ll never forget it. You’re entitled to nothing. Everything you get in life will be by way of gift and grit.
So get over it and get after it.
3. Be grateful.
Everything in life is a teacher. Good times can teach you a few things. But it’s the hard times, the trials, the disappointments, the heartbreaks, that teach the invaluable lessons.
Don’t get bitter. Get better. Be grateful.
4. Pray about everything.
Jarrod, you pray a lot when you’re in a crisis. Break out of that box. Pray about everything. Pray about opportunities, relationships, decisions, disappointments, and victories. Be a man of prayer. While you’re at it, stay in church. Read your Bible everyday. Doubt your doubts about God.
This will save you a lot of heartache down the road.
5. Know that today equals tomorrow.
Want to know what you’re going to be like a year, two years, ten years from now? Look at your life today. How you live today determines who you will be tomorrow. What kind of relationships will characterize you then? Look at your relationships today. Simply put, the patterns—habits, hangups, escapes—you set for yourself and turn to today will follow you, or haunt you, into the future.
Break them today before they break you tomorrow.
6. Get counseling.
Listen. You’re not a weak because you get counseling. In fact, you’re going to learn that everyone should budget for counseling like they budget for bread. At 21-years-old, you’re too naive and surfacy to dig into the enslaved places in your soul. You always will be to a degree. And right now, you’re mostly trying to self-medicate your issues not overcome them. Get some help now.
You’ll thank your future self for it.
7. The best is yet to come.
I’m 45-years-old now, Jarrod. Looking back I see that there are some rough times ahead of you yet. But more so, there are glorious times coming too. Tears and joy, that’s the part of the deal in this life. And life would be boring and bland without both. When the tears fall, remember that you’re going to be fine. Also, take to heart that there will be glorious times that will bring tears too—tears of laughter, joy, astonishment, and wonder. You just wait.
Trust me. The best is still ahead of you.
Which of these did your 21-year-old self need to hear? Which one will you apply, today?
BEFORE YOU GO:
Have you subscribed to my blog? Go to my homepage, subscribe, and receive my free e-book, “10 Ways To Support A Loved One With Mental Illness.”
“Dear Younger Me”. I listen to that song all the time. “If I knew then what I know now…” But then I step away from my fantasy, cease regretting, and accept that THAT IS LIFE! More importantly, it’s the only way we numb skulls have a chance to connect with our Creator and realize how desperately we need Him and His guidance. And in that mess of ours, He lovingly gives us the freedom to be who He created us to be. Wish, back then, we all could have heard those words you wrote. Would things have been different? It’s like a chicken and egg, if we didn’t mess up, we wouldn’t need Him, and vice versa. Go figure! PS.. each one of your words of wisdom fit, but the one that shouts to me is to GET COUNSELING. And make it Christian, please. AND never stop checking in with him/her. God bless.
Great word! Thanks for sharing.
My husband and I saw you at WOL last week (fantastic), so we decided to check out your website. I really liked this article and shared it w/my 22 y.o. son. He actually read it. Below are his thoughts that he e-mailed to me:
Very interesting. One thing he said that I’d comment on is that the word “entitled” has a slightly different meaning in modern language. While the word used to mean “A person who deserves certain things as if they had a right to those things” the word entitled now means “A person who thinks they deserve things even though they do not have any right to have those things”. So modern 20-odd people are very entitled.
Thanks for sharing!
Renée again – Had to read what he wrote a few times before I got it, but then I understood. Thought you’d appreciate this feedback from a 20-something. 🙂
THank you for your encouragement. Loved what Brian shared. Spot on! Thanks for commenting!