My favorite version of this game is “What would you tell your younger self?” So, in the spirit of graduates everywhere, here is my list of five things I would tell 18-year old Allie if I had the chance:
Ignore the statistics
While it’s good to know the likelihood of something, stats aren’t certainties. I’ve spent a lifetime bucking the odds—for good or bad—and that’s been 90% of what made life interesting. Like The Magic School Bus’s Miss Frizzle always said, “Rarely is a long, long, way from never!”
Life doesn’t work like high school or college
Life doesn’t hand out A’s for effort. Output matters, so while you should embrace the process, get in the habit of focusing on the end game. Also, what was popular and powerful in high school almost never is in real life.
Marry the nerd
The dreamy guy you think you want now probably won’t turn out to be a decent life partner. The quiet, studious guy who takes some effort to get to know? That’s the dependable husband and father that will bloom into a man of amazing character down the road.
So much of success is digging your heels in and taking the first small step. Often the plan we lay out at the beginning gets changed. Almost everyone pays their dues and overnight successes never really are overnight. A long career in the right direction wins over the hot shot to stardom every time. Don't wait for the perfect dream job to land in your lap—get as close as you can and work really hard, and the rest will come.
You won’t always look this way
I was gawky in high school. While I consider myself a well-polished woman now, I sure didn’t start out that way. Style is something we grow into, confidence can only be earned (or occasionally borrowed). Conversely, that slim figure I boasted as a young woman is pretty much long gone and while I could wear anything I wanted in my 20’s, now I dress to hide my flaws. And buy a lot of concealer.
What about you? What advice would you give our high school or college self?