Dear future kid,

I've got a lot to tell you. Life is pretty complicated, and I want to make sure yours is the best it can possibly be. 

See, the problem is... I can't. There's no rhyme or reason to why things happen or how you should deal with them. It's a severely overrated quote, but there's some truth to it: "Life isn't about waiting for the storm to pass. It's about learning to dance in the rain." This is the closest I've ever come to understanding that we have absolutely no control over what happens to us.

But it's more about learning to figure out what you're capable of handling. Comparing to others or striving to outdo your competitors is the last thing you'll want to do. Focus on your temperament, your goals, your attitudes and rock your own world. So to keep my advice (relatively) brief, these are some of the most valuable lessons I've learned—the hard way. 

1. Stop trying to control everything.

beer, water
Marina Wollmann

You can't and you won't, so why try? Control is an overbearing force that brings on anxiety and then perpetuates itself. You think that by exerting your control over something or someone, you're helping the problem. "What would have happened if I didn't take over this situation?" Fate. Karma. Destiny. Or whatever word you use for it. Life has a funny way of going in the direction that it wants to go. 

An insightful analogy for this is a rip current. The current will pull you in regardless of your strength or your attempt to survive. Fighting only makes it worse. If you let go and allow it to take you, you'll reach a point where you will be set free. Essentially, you'll have to deal with life's crap either way, and worrying or fighting will just make you suffer twice as much.

2. Your energy will impact everything you do.

tea, beer, tacos, lime
Photo courtesy of greenfestivals.org

Every morning, you make a choice to live. And then every moment, you make a choice to proceed with a certain action. This action could be physical (hitting a baseball or eating ice cream) or psychological (your mood or how you view others), and it could even be both at the same time. 

One of the hardest but most rewarding decisions we make is being positive or negative. The energy that we choose to surround ourselves with is a powerful force. You can choose to judge someone by their clothing, or you can rise above it and put on a smile. Whatever walk of life others come from, their experiences are different than yours. Be kind, and give off good vibes to all your Earth buddies. After all, we're all on the same planet, right? 

3. Don't let other's actions affect your life.

tea, grass, water
Wendy Sun

One of my wisest friends once told me that this was the hardest lesson she's ever learned. I can testify to that because I'm still trying to accept it every day. She said, "Not everyone's going to like you, and you're not going to like everyone. And that's perfectly fine."

It may be how ticked off you get every time your BFF talks about her new boyfriend. Or maybe you judge people a little more than you should. Perhaps you're just wearing yourself down by constantly comparing against others. Regardless of how it manifests itself, the bottom line is you're allowing others' actions to determine your mood. 

Try to step back and examine your life, your actions and your experiences against themselves. Not your friends' or your girlfriend's or even your brother's. Only you have had this walk of life, so allowing others to bring out negativity in you is an injustice to YOU.

sushi
Katherine O'Malley

No promises, kid. You'll probably struggle as much as I did. You may even find that these life tips don't apply to you. Either way, I guess that's something we have to accept—that we're all in the same boat here, trying to figure out what this crazy thing we call life is all about. 

I'd like to think that you'll be eternally grateful for my wisdom and that I can live through all the bad stuff so that I can give you just the good stuff. But then you wouldn't fully experience life, which would make me a pretty bad parent. So good luck on your endeavors, mini me. I hope life treats you well, but what I hope even more is that you can come back and teach me some things that I couldn't teach you. 

xoxo,

A broke, frazzled, confused college student who isn't ready for you yet.

P.S. Please come later in life... much later.