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If I’d Known Then: Advice to My Younger Self

If I'd Known: Advice to My Younger Self

Living in the rice paddies of rural South Korea, where my only distractions are social media and Marvel movie marathons (on the weekends), I’ve had a lot of time for self-reflection and introspection, to say the least. Pondering the last decade, or so, of my life has been prevalent more than ever lately. Undoubtedly, because I am on the precipice of turning another year older in just a couple of days. Another year older, another year wiser, right? So, what advice would my wiser, more mature self, give to my younger, inept self? Here goes…

Carpe the freakin’ Diem!

Make the first move. Jump out of a plane 12,000 feet in the sky (parachute attached of course). Eat chocolate cake for breakfast. That trip you’ve been wanting to take forever, but can never seem to get anybody to go with you? Take it…solo! Go skinny-dipping. Seize the day!

“Live without inhibitions, love without conditions, and just simply be free.” –Me

Just Do It!

The world’s greatest slogan says it best. Just Do It. Stop thinking so much and start doing. Overthinking will make you none the wiser. You’re just wasting time. If you try and fail, so be it. Try again…fail some more until you try and get it right.

“Far better it is to dare mighty things, to win glorious triumphs, even though checkered by failure, than to take rank with those poor spirits who neither enjoy much nor suffer much, because they live in the gray twilight that knows neither victory nor defeat.” –Theodore Roosevelt

Trust the process

Painful things are gonna happen. I mean, heartbreaking, debilitating, curl up in the fetal position and lie in bed for days on end, kind of painful things. It’s ok. Accept it for what it is and don’t get so caught up in trying to figure out how to feel or when you will feel differently. Trust the process, but don’t become limited by it.

“…so don’t worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will bring its own worries. Today’s trouble is enough for today.” – Matthew 6:34

Let yourself be happy

Stop worrying about is it the right thing. The wrong thing. How this person feels or that person feels. It’s about YOU! Let go. Live free. Be. Whatever that is. Whoever that is. However that is. Just be. Let yourself be happy; even if it’s only for a moment. Let it be for that moment. Own THAT moment. Own your happiness.

“Happiness is not feeling like you should be elsewhere, doing something else, being someone else.” –Eric Weiner The Geography of Bliss: Search for Happiness

Stop letting your Plan B take precedence over your Plan A

You want to travel, and make money while doing so? That’s your plan A? Then focus your attention on making THAT happen. Nothing else should take precedence over Plan A. Stop wasting time and energy trying to find that cushy corporate job that provides “security”, when you know that’s not what you really want. Chasing the ever-elusive “American Dream” will only leave you with the regret of not having pursued your true passion sooner.

“I have not always chosen the safest path. I’ve made my mistakes, plenty of them. I sometimes jump too soon and fail to appreciate the consequences. But, I’ve learned something important along the way; I’ve learned to heed the call of my heart. I’ve learned that the safest path is not always the best path and I’ve learned that the voice of fear is not always to be trusted.” –Steve Goodier

Pride cannot coexist with vulnerability

You can’t be both prideful and vulnerable. Something has to give. I’d suggest the former. It’s ok to not cloak yourself in full armor at all times, or build up impenetrable walls equipped with moats and the whole nine. Let love in. Accept help when help is needed. Vulnerability does not equate to weakness.

“Compromise is a skill, and like all skills it atrophies from lack of use.” –Eric Weiner The Geography of Bliss: Search for Happiness

Comparison is the thief of joy

So stop it! Stop comparing where you are to where everyone else is. You are exactly where you are supposed to be, doing exactly what you are supposed to be doing, at this very moment.

Be proud of yourself

Often times we remiss in giving ourselves praise, because self-praise is no praise at all, right? Plus no one likes an egotistical bitch prick. But every now and then it’s ok to toot your own horn, pat yourself on the back, give yourself a gold star, whatever it takes to acknowledge your dopeness. Learn to give yourself credit when credit is due. Stop downplaying your accomplishments as if they are nothing.

“Define success on your own terms, achieve it by your own rules, and build a life you’re proud to live.” –Anne Sweeney

Start where you are

“Start where you are. Use what you have. Do what you can.” -Arthur Ashe. No matter what your circumstances are all you have to do is take the first step. You want to travel, but can’t jet set off to a foreign land? Fine. Have a staycation in your city. Take a road trip, or even a day trip. Hell, journey from your bedroom to your living room, build a fort out of pillow cushions and sheets and have the adventure of a lifetime. The journey is what you make it. This goes for anything you want to pursue. You don’t have to have the biggest/fattest bank account, the best equipment, or the most know-how. Take what you do have and make magic.

“If we wait for the moment when everything, absolutely everything is ready, we shall never begin.” –Ivan Turgenev


Ultimately, this single word is the summation of every single thing I should’ve could’ve would’ve told my younger self. The options of adjectives succeeding this simple two-letter word are boundless. Be happy. Be free. Be confident. Be present. Be magical. Be strong. Be tenacious. Be unapologetically you.


I’d love to hear what advice would you give your younger self, in the comments below.

  • LaQuinte'

    I fought back tears while reading this because I could feel every emotion and I deeply respect every word. It spoke directly to my soul, the deep parts that not many people can reach. I appreciate this blog and I appreciate your journey! Continue to “BE”!!!!!

    June 1, 2016 at 6:38 pm Reply
  • leonard mccrary

    Well said!

    June 2, 2016 at 1:29 am Reply
  • She Joh

    I love this post, and I completely agree with everything you said!

    June 2, 2016 at 2:43 am Reply
  • Katie

    Well happy almost birthday and what a great reflective post! I’d say I resonate most with quit comparing yourself to everyone. As I creep closer to 30 I’m starting to give a lot less shits than I used to about other people vs. myself, and it’s quite freeing. All of ,y friends married with babies and stable jobs? Good for them,, but not for me! I’m working harder on not comparing how I look to other people, hopefully this too soon will be squashed! Thanks for your honest post!

    June 2, 2016 at 4:33 am Reply
  • Jasmine Hewitt

    Yes! I love this post! You really gotta grab life by the horns and just do it.

    June 2, 2016 at 5:01 am Reply
  • Voyager

    A very candid piece of introspection. As we grow older and look back in time, we will always see in hindsight, many missed opportunities, wrong decisions, etc., but that is life, you have to take your decisions and bear the consequences. The best thing is to live the moment and enjoy it.

    June 2, 2016 at 5:30 am Reply
  • Megan Indoe

    Wow, this is really great advice and super inspiring. This was exactly what I have been needing to hear in my life lately! I agree, you should just freaking do things! If you wait too long or over think things you can make up a million reasons not to do something or procrastinate. Thanks again for sharing such awesome words!

    June 2, 2016 at 5:39 am Reply
  • shayan Naveed

    Those are some great advices to yourself and others. I need to take some, if not all, of these advices.
    I love the BE. Whatever you want to be, be. Exactly!

    Basically, let go of all worries and anxiety (easier said than done) be free. I’m 31 and still dealing with all these issues. Thanks for sharing.

    June 2, 2016 at 6:31 am Reply
  • Nina @ Safari Junkie

    Such a great post, i think many of us will relate to your thoughts! I used to be the one waiting for the right moment and perfect conditions. 🙂

    June 2, 2016 at 8:38 am Reply
  • The Toronto Seoulcialite

    Oh man…I think about this CONSTANTLY! Why didn’t I pack up and come here earlier? Why didn’t I explore my bliss earlier? Well, it’s all prepared me for this wonderful experience, hasn’t it? What really resonated with me was: “Start where you are. Use what you have. Do what you can.” -Arthur Ashe. Wow. Aren’t we doing just that? Thanks for reminding me of what a wonderful opportunity we’re exploring right this very moment 🙂

    June 2, 2016 at 8:58 am Reply
  • Travel Pockets

    All of these suggestions can still be a challenge for me sometimes. Just Do It…I love that one, but it’s so hard sometimes! Letting yourself be happy is so true. We get so caught up sometimes worrying about others and forget about ourselves.

    June 2, 2016 at 3:34 pm Reply
  • Paige Brown

    This post is truly so beautiful! I’ve just in the last couple of years really started to be at peace with myself, confident in decisions & being okay with not completely following the status quo. There are so many times I wouldn’t let myself be happy and I’m constantly working on not comparing myself – I tell myself that all the time! The other thing that I would add is to let friendships / relationships run their course – don’t let other people get you down, you have the control to stop being their friend and get rid of that negative energy! I truly loved this and thank you for sharing!

    June 2, 2016 at 10:38 pm Reply
  • Cynthia

    Wow this post is truly so inspiring! I’m still slowly working on most of these suggestions! The quote “Start where you are. Use what you have. Do what you can.” -Arthur Ashe really struck a chord with me. Love it!

    June 3, 2016 at 3:34 am Reply
  • Izzy

    All of this is everything I would say to anyone wanting to travel. My blog is all about promoting fearlessness in the world of traveling so I am definitely featuring this post on my faves list. Great, great advice, Carpe the freakin’ Diem indeed! Eat chocolate cake for breakfast. (I do that ALL. THE. TIME.) Finally someone who endorses it! And ‘Comparison is the thief of joy!’ How many props can I give you for that one! I think I need to tattoo that to my arm as a reminder.

    June 3, 2016 at 3:42 am Reply
  • Rob Taylor

    I love that you call out “start where you are.” That’s the best advice I should’ve listened to in my mid-20s to help me keep life in perspective and not get frustrated that things weren’t progressing as I wanted. Everybody is in such different places in life even if the same age. I think that’s why I travel so much: I started and now am playing catch up with some of my traveling friends, but it’s all good and I’m loving it.

    June 3, 2016 at 12:47 pm Reply
  • Marta

    Maybe because I have recently crossed the line of one more decade, but this definitely resonates with me! A hugely important point for me is about plan A: how many things I have never even tried doing thinking they were just too ambitious/too hard or even just ‘not realistic’? Now I know that the quickest way for something good to never happen is refusing to have a go at it 🙂

    June 3, 2016 at 2:47 pm Reply
  • Kevin Wagar

    Fantastic words and a great attitude for life. You write very eloquently about overcoming challenges that are not just in front of you, but also inside you. It’s so important to remember to just “Be”.

    June 3, 2016 at 7:30 pm Reply
  • Sandy KS

    The advice I would give to myself would be : To follow my instincts. To not doubt myself. When I have done that. I have made poor choices.

    June 3, 2016 at 11:11 pm Reply
  • Ami

    Well written. I particularly agree with the fact that no matter where you are, you should just give yourself a beginning. It really works for all of us.

    June 4, 2016 at 5:57 am Reply
  • Elizabeth @ Compass & Fork

    I saw a great quote today “I learned so much from my mistakes, I think I will make a few more.” If you don’t try new things you never learn anything new.

    June 4, 2016 at 8:28 am Reply
  • Mélina

    omg… EVERYTHING in this article is perfect! It brought tears to my eyes… You know what? “CARPE THE FREAKIN’ DIEM!” is now my new motto. Thank you for this 🙂

    June 7, 2016 at 7:37 am Reply
  • Sheena Yap

    Beautiful advice and such a timely reminder! Thank you for your affirmative words, and I hope you keep trusting in the process and carpe-dieming! 😀

    June 7, 2016 at 7:53 am Reply
  • Michele Peterson

    Great advice worth remembering throughout the various stages of life

    June 7, 2016 at 10:26 am Reply
  • Tenezee

    Great post Colby! I definitely would tell my younger self to ‘Just Do It’ I tell all of my young friends this now so they won’t have any regrets. Thanks for sharing.

    June 13, 2016 at 12:11 pm Reply
  • Aja

    This is exactly what I needed on this Sunday morning Colby!

    August 14, 2016 at 1:58 pm Reply

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