5 Lessons from 22 year old self

Tonight I made the mistake of ordering a latte around 10 pm. The results? Nearly 2 am and no rest for my wandering mind. Perhaps getting a few of my thoughts out there will help bring sleep sooner rather than later, after all- it is a school night.

I don’t think it was anything I did on purpose, packing a journal from two years ago to bring with me to South Korea. But, somehow this journal has made it from Omaha to Denver and now to Korea and fallen open on my bed tonight, with opening entries exactly two years ago to the date. Funny how that happens.

At that point in my life I had recently graduated from college and made the defying decision of moving my life to Denver, Colorado to accept a position as an AmeriCorps member. In retrospect this was an ideal decision for me, but at the time my heart was caught up in dreams of distant lands, never ending wanderlust and hopeful visions of a bright, colorful and a meaningful life.

Little did I know what Denver had in store for me. More adventure than I could have dreamed, more meaning in more places than I ever knew existed as well as the confidence and boost I needed to- let’s be honest- to grow up a bit. Bringing me to my first point:

1. I was young. I don’t say this in a way that I lacked knowledge or resources- but there was a certain discipline and self understanding that was in the works two years ago when I began that journey. The growth and change throughout the past two years will be saved for future posts.

2. The people. Both in family and friends, the relationships that have grown and blossomed- both old and new- over the past two years is immeasurable and I couldn’t bare to imagine my life without those experiences riddled in the pages. The growth and the changes, as pointed out in number one, are a reflection of the people and the light they brought to my life during that time period. My life was soon to be enhanced in ways 22 year old Stephanie didn’t realize I needed, or should I say how much I needed.

3. To put it simply: budgeting, management (of finances and relationships) and prioritizing. Before there was (and often times still is) a sense of “I need to do everything!” mentality vs. a sense of “I know what I need” understanding that time and experience has helped me acquire. Not to mention my uncanny attention to detail and deadlines that has developed over the past two years. Still a procrastinator by nature, but not nearly as bad!

4. I learned how to be alone. With that I also learned to listen to myself and what I want. There are many different paths I could take in talking about this, but today I will focus on my decision to teach in Asia, specifically Korea. Instead of just accepting a 21 year old pipe dream to live and teach in Asia- I contemplated it, challenged it, even rebelled against it and completely changed my mind. I researched it for myself and came up with a firm (or at least not as soft) understanding of what I desired to do, what I wanted to learn and how I wanted to grow the most to adequately prepare me for my own future.

5. Slow down. To the ever loving busy-body, someone who lived for ‘burning the candle at both ends’ (a quote I loved), and someone who found satisfaction in filling every moment of every day, now I feel like I can slow down. I crave the moment. I want to appreciate the agima’s (old woman in Korean) chatter, the distant sunset from an oversized city, the street food and even the charm I find in queuing for the subway.

And now tonight I think I’ll take a break from this glowing computer screen, from this pen and paper and listen to the fading simplicity of the night. Turn off the fan, open the window, take a deep breath of my own life. Tomorrow will come soon enough.

15 musts? From my 22 year old perspective
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  1. good luck! You`ll see that some of your “MUSTS” are just natural way of living and it shouldn`t be otherwise. If you love life, you love, if you forgive you change and grow, if you smile and relax you can enjoy, when you listen you learn. Money you can save always 🙂

  2. Thank you for your insight, Sakee! Those are wise words which I hope I am always able to live out =)

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