FIVE things I wish I could tell myself when I was 21

I was 23 - getting married, worrying about the pot belly. (And yes, picture is cheesy!)
I was 23 – getting married, worrying about the pot belly. (And yes, the picture is cheesy but we like to think it’s cute)

The difference between growing up and growing old is probably in the books with vast data on what each one means. And as I grow up and grow old – here are some of the things I wish I’d known in no particular order.

1. That’s not a pot belly

For crying out loud, my pot belly and I have been battling for years. And seriously, when I was 21, there was no pot belly. The girls stood up and said hello; and the belly was flat with maybe a small bulge. I, of course, made a federal case out of it and worried about that non-existent belly that I would love to have today, nearly a decade and a half later. If I had my 21-year old body today, I’d walk around in a bikini all day, even in the Danish winter.

2. Start working out and drinking wine now

Starting to work out at the age of 33 is a tough process. The body goes, “What the fuck are you doing, woman?” If I had started to work out when I was 21, the body would have been so much more malleable today. I didn’t start drinking wine until I was…hey, there might be a link, 33 or so…and I so wish I had. I have missed the pleasures of wine for so many, many years and it’s just such a waste.

3. It’s not a race – there are no points for getting “there” first

I still don’t know where “there” is – I didn’t when I was 21 either but I thought I will figure it out when I get “there.” Now that I’m 39, I know there is no “there” and there is also no race. Stroll, smell the roses, there’s no rush and being healthy is just the longest way to die.

4. Happiness is an attitude

This has taken me years and years and years to understand, accept and do. I always thought that if A, B and C happened I’d be happy. If only I got published. If only I got pregnant. If only I got that promotion at work. If only…and then I realized (thanks to therapy) that if A, B and C didn’t happen, I would be bummed but my happiness was my business. So, I decided to become happy. I love being happy – it’s so much better than not being happy. Now when things don’t go the way I want, I’m disappointed but not unhappy. Life is just so much better when you’re happy!

5. Don’t judge – you’ll get to the wrong side soon enough
Oh the things I judged people about. Almost everything. They didn’t work hard enough. They were not good enough. They were not smart enough. But as you grow older, you realize, you don’t work hard enough, you are not good enough and you’re definitely not smart enough and you know what? That’s just A-Okay. Because at the end of the day it’s got nothing to do with what anyone else thinks of you, so stop wasting your time thinking about others.



  1. Farah says:

    This is a smashing list to give your younger self. 🙂 I remember telling my teenage niece that once she was 30, she would laugh to think of how much of a ‘crisis’ she now considered a pimple! Not that it did any good, of course… It reminds me of the comment from some wise person who said “youth is wasted on the young”! I especially liked the one about happiness being an attitude. Most of the time, there is much to be thankful for. 🙂

  2. latha says:

    I think I want to be there,one day. to reach the state of being happy. Ahhh!!! When would I? And judging, I think I should stop doing that….pot belly…I didn’t have either….lol…I could connect on many things.

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