Dear Twentysomething-year-old Me,
1. When that man you have a crush on asks, "Are you a good girl or a bad girl?" laugh in his face, spin on your heel and ignore his calls.
2. Wear sunscreen. At least around your eyes and above your currently pert upper lip's cupid's bow.
3. Just because you share blood with people doesn't mean you have to give them the time of day if they are hell-bent on making you feel small, misunderstood and wrong. You've given them enough chances. Cut the cord.
4. Sign up for small automatic savings deposits that kick in every time you get paid. You'll be making down payments on your own future freedom.
5. Rejection is not a sign that you should stop doing what you love. It is married to doing what you love. It should not be kneecapping you. Embrace it.
6. If you have a problem with a valued friend, bite the bullet and talk about it. Don't just disappear on her or him.
7. Tell the truth. People really do sense it when you lie to them, and it makes them distrust you or themselves. It's the darndest thing.
8. You were raised to think that you should be married well before 30 -- and that everything else you fill your life with adds up to failure if you remain single. That's a giant bucket of steaming dookie. Be choosy. The happiness you're chasing is actually suffusing your life right now. You will look back on this time very wistfully when you've got spit-up in your hair and a husband who expects hot meals, a sparkling-clean house and you to resemble the cutie he married.
9. Reconnect with your gut. I know you were raised to ignore it, and to first please others. Without a connection to your gut, you have no compass. Listen to it. If it squawks, pay attention. The more you listen to it, the more you'll avoid messy/self-destructive detours and align with your own satisfying path.
10. You are so beautiful right now. Your skin is amazing. Your metabolism is forgiving. You have epic amounts of energy and curiosity. Do not look to others to fuel up your self-esteem. You're made of awesome. Own it and others will see it.
11. Go easier on your mother. Every single thing (except for maybe three) that annoys and disappoints you about her will be something you recognize in yourself as you get older. That's one big bakery full of humble pie you're cooking up right now.
12. Don't be competitive. Be collaborative. There's plenty of room at the table.
13. Your dream life is not something that will appear to you, or not, like an elusive, mythical unicorn. You build your own specifically perfect life every time you listen to your gut, shake off rejection, honor friends, embrace choosiness, feed your savings account, recognize your own arrogance and ignore dudes who speak bimbo.
40-Year-Old Me, who appreciates the interesting life you gave me and all (it was great material for my book!), but...yeah.
Follow Candace Walsh on Twitter: www.twitter.com/candacewalsh