I left high school with a clear vision -- to get crazy drunk on a beach with my friends and let the stress of the last few intensive years of education wash over me.
Like many of us all I cared about were the short-term gains; the feeling I got wearing a dress I couldn't afford, the salty taste of a French fry on my lips and the freedom I felt when my fake ID got me into a bar my parents didn't know I was at.
It is a confusing time between school days and adulthood; bodies changing, responsibilities increasing and somehow trying to make sense of it all.
Most of us leave school not having a clue about hormones, basic nutrition, mental health or personal budgets. Instead, we are equipped with math equations, historical dates and grammar; all things that will lose their value with more and more advances in technology.
My lessons have resulted in heartache, self-loathing and set-backs that I know could have been avoided and I believe that we should all have been taught them in school.
1. You are what you think
That old saying 'you are what you eat' is pretty accurate but I also believe that we need to focus more on our thoughts. Your thoughts control every part of your being so if they are coming from a negative place it will only be reflected in the way that you are treated by people, the experiences that you have and the way your body feels. Stress, anger, fear all come from your thoughts; change your thoughts, change your life.
2. Fix the problem not the symptom
Like many teenagers I thought that having an energy drink or a coffee to wake me up was how I would survive the long days in the classroom. I thought that The Pill was an awesome way to stop those excruciating monthly pains (plus it meant not having to push the awkward condom question) and that drowning my sorrows on the weekends with friends was a great ways to feel good; to escape.
Those things might have given me temporary relief but by avoiding the real problems and instead deflecting them by ignoring the fatigue, depression and hormone imbalance I only prolonged the
dis-ease in my body. Thankfully self-education has fixed all of these issues for me but many are not so lucky and it is only when they experience major health issues that the real problems are dealt with.
3. "Let food be thy medicine... " -- Hippocrates
I fell into the trap of marketing campaigns that promoted "healthy" food by people that I looked up to; people that were getting paid big bucks to endorse messages that convinced impressionable teens like me that the quick fix was OK.
I had no idea what "fat-free," "low-fat" and "skim" (or any other term that is used in marketing) really meant; but if they said it was good for me I believed them. I should have been taught to eat whole foods that fueled my body. People are still surprised when I tell them that milk is not necessarily needed for strong bones.
4. Live within your means
It's not a hard logic but I think it's been completely missed by many people; particularly young women who want to keep up with fashion trends. If you spend more than you earn you will always fall behind.
It took me $18K to learn that lesson. I have been a home owner for two years now and I still refuse to buy high priced items that I can do without; the expensive dress is not worth the debt trust me.
5. Love you and the rest will flow
"Self-love" isn't about staring at the mirror in awe, it's about loving yourself enough to put your happiness ahead of anyone else's; not in a selfish way but in a loving way.
When you choose love over fear you're taking back the power that you deserve to have. When you no longer do things out of fear and you instead do them because they feel right the most amazing things will present themselves to you. When I discovered self-love was when I found my calling.
It's taken me seven years to figure out these basics; what some refer to as "life lessons." Why should anyone have to experience debt, health problems and disease? I'm on a mission to prevent young women from learning these lessons the hard way; let me help you, your daughter, your niece, your sister, your friend. Share this with them.
Whether all of this is news to you or you've only just started to realise some of these truths now is your chance to change for the better and start living a life full of love, wealth and happiness.