Carlos Santa Maria/Fotolia
Hindsight is always 20/20. I know so much now about life and love and business and friendships and everything else that I had no clue about when I was younger.
As a teenager 20 years ago, there were so many things I wish I could have known. There are so many things I understand now that I just couldn't fathom back then.
If I could talk to that 18-year-old self-assured, overly confident, college-bound Maria, I'd have a lot to say. Here are nine things I'd tell myself.
9 Things I Wish I Could Tell My Younger Self That I Know Now
1) Be gentle with yourself.
I was always trying so hard to be perfect and when I inevitably failed at that, I'd beat myself up. Now I know to still try my hardest, but sometimes I need to accept less that perfection.
2) Know that it won't always be this way.
I've learned that whether things are really good in my life or really bad, it won't always be that way. I wish I'd known how to simply enjoy the season of life I was in when I was younger.
3) Understand the fine print before signing anything.
Whether it was a college scholarship, a homework assignment, or later, a mortgage, I sometimes moved so fast I didn't pay attention to the details. That can create a very hard lesson to learn.
4) All that glitters ain't gold.
Just because the guy looks good does not mean he will be good for you. I wish I'd known to look beneath the surface when I was younger.
5) It's OK to walk away.
I am someone who finishes things. So I didn't give myself the opportunity to walk away from relationships, jobs, or even friendships if they weren't good for me. I l've learned that walking away is not admitting defeat.
6) Save as much money as you can.
I've always been a pretty frugal person and that has served me well. However, I probably could have done an even better job of cutting debt a lot earlier.
7) Love your body the way it is.
I complained about my body at 18. I just knew I was fat. Twenty years later I'd give anything to have that body again!