Letter to My Younger Self – Nicole Cook

Hi. I write this letter to you after opening up the invite to your 10-year high school reunion. Ten years since high school, can you believe it? This gave me a chance to think about what advice I could give you if I could turn back the clock.  So, here it is.

Stop worrying about the future

There will be numerous times in life that you look around and think, “This isn’t where I thought I’d be.” You need to just live in the moment and not worry about what’s next. Life doesn’t always make sense, but that’s okay.

Friendships will change

As life happens and your friends enter different stages of life, some will stay, but some will leave. I won’t lie, it is tough when friendships end, but know that there are other friends that will never leave your side. You will grow friendships that will get you through some tough moments and those ones are irreplaceable.  Invest in your friends and take time to make memories with them.

Time is valuable

Life only seems to get busier as you get older. It is important to say no to things that don’t add value to your life and that are only time drainers. Life is too short to do things you don’t want to do.

Always make time to travel

Some of your best memories have been through traveling. As a 28-year-old professional, you have had the opportunity to visit several countries (Mexico, Germany, France, Jamaica, Bahamas, Haiti, Canada, Puerto Rico) and numerous states.  You love the adventure and experiences that traveling provides, so never pass up the opportunity to see the amazing world we live in.

Don’t compare your life to others

Social media has taken over the world. You will be bombarded by what everyone else is doing and how “great” their lives seem. You will waste precious time comparing your life to others. Just stop and realize that social media allows us all to put on a facade – letting people see only what we want them to see. Stop letting what society tells us is success define your happiness.

Stand Up For Yourself

You quickly learn that your work ethic and dedication will get you far in life. At the same time, you will learn that others will take advantage of this. Maintain a healthy work/life balance – don’t be afraid to stand up for yourself and speak up when you need someone to pitch in.

Know You Are Making a Difference

You will do things that will go unnoticed or seem too insignificant to really be seen, even though you put your blood, sweat and tears into them. Don’t give up in these moments – you are making a difference and you have no idea how many eyes are watching and what an impact you are making on them.

Change isn’t a bad thing

People will change, places change, jobs change and relationships change. Go with these changes. They will push you to do things you wouldn’t have done otherwise and they will help you reach your goals. Change can be terrifying and uncomfortable at times, but it can also bring some really amazing things.

Nicole, there will be many ups and downs in your journey. Use these experiences to learn more every day. Take risks. Celebrate. Laugh. Make memories. Have fun. The world is waiting for you to do big things – you’ve got this!

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