When I was 10 years old, I sat criss-cross applesauce in front of my bedroom mirror and wondered what my future would hold. Often at that age I would sport a backwards baseball cap letting the blunt tips of my blonde bob stick out the sides. Life as a grown up seemed like such a fantasy; all I could do was wonder. I wondered if I would be beautiful. I wondered what great things I would be doing in the world. I wondered if I would be madly in love. I wondered and wondered and wondered.
Flash forward sixteen years. I’m a full fledged “grown up” with a husband, a child, a meaningful job–and yet I still feel like I’m that same 10 year-old girl, wondering what my future will hold. Only one thing has changed since then. Everyday, I wake up enveloped in warm wholeness. It’s an unexplainable confidence that is earned through hard work, some failure and complete dedication to the life I’ve always dreamed of living.
I’ve learned so much, and I am so proud of who I am. I think 10 year-old Lindsay would be proud too, but in honor of my birthday, I have a few things to say to her–things I’ve learned along the way.
1. It’s Okay To Be The Loudest Person In The Room
Keep laughing, talking, sharing, loving, being–at whatever volume suits you. Don’t let people hush you. Also, don’t go into quiet fancy restaurants because they will hush you. These aren’t your people. Be brave and find people that love you at every volume.
2. Speak Up
If you want something from life, speak up. If you don’t like something in life, speak up. If you love someone, speak up. If you don’t like how you’re being treated, speak up. Speak first with love, always, and you will thrive.
3. Pay Attention To The Energy You Let Into Your Life
If something feels bad, it’s probably bad. Plain and simple. Keep using your gifts to discern the kind of energy you allow into your life. If you want your life to be good, surround yourself with goodness.
4. Ask For Help
Remember how you’re loud? Yea, that can come in handy when you really need help. You are one woman. You can’t do everything, even though you think you can. Also, don’t apologize for asking for help. It’s ridiculous.
You don’t eat enough, and you probably should eat more vegetables. Pizza doesn’t count.
6. Wear The Damn Tutu
Buy the tutu, wear the tutu, be confident in the tutu, love your tutu-wearing self.
7. You Can’t Control How You Make Other People Feel All The Time
The best you can do is to live a kind and compassionate life and admit when you’ve screwed up. Everything else is out of your control, which is really, really hard. But if you live your life for everyone except yourself all the time, you will not find happiness. Truth is, it’s not your job to make sure everyone is happy all the time. You are not in control of anyone else’s life except your own.
8. Laugh At Your Own Jokes Even When Other People Don’t
‘Cuz you’re hilarious. And also, you make yourself happy which is a badass trait.
9. Give Yourself Permission To Take Your Own Advice
You will get a lot of advice in life. Some of it is amazing, and some of it is well-intended hog wash, bull crap. Don’t mess with the bull crap. It’s icky. Trust yourself and your intuition first. Not everything is black and white–gray areas exist and can be really, really good. Sometimes you just need to allow yourself to explore that gray area. It’s also completely okay to not know the answer, you’ll find it eventually.
10. Find Your Strengths & Use Them
You have a great sense of empathy that can be a treasure in your personal and professional life. It can also be an angry bear looking at you like you’re Leonardo DiCaprio. Don’t be Leonardo DiCaprio. Know when to walk away, and know when to use your power.
11. You Will Fail And It Will Suck
This is one that you will struggle with above all else in life. You may never conquer this one, but you will sure as hell try. You are going to fail yourself, your people, your colleagues, your bosses, random people you don’t know, pretty much anyone. And it will be terrible for you. But like I said before, you will need to ask for help, admit when you’re wrong and share your big, wonderful heart with people around you. You will need to sit with your failure for awhile, but you will be okay. You’ve got strong legs to stand back up on.
12. Work Hard
Congratulations! You are entitled to nothing! You will need to work hard at everything to get what you want from life. Nothing will be handed to you. If you want something, you will have to work and work and work until you feel like you might die (insert bottle of wine & sob-fest here), but then you will keep going and be super proud of yourself. Yay, you!
13. Love Harder
The opportunities to show love and compassion will be limitless. You will constantly feel compelled and challenged to love someone when it’s the hardest thing to do in the moment. You will be surrounded with so much love that it will overwhelm you at times. The love that surrounds you will be limitless, infinite, palpable, even. It’s a privilege to live with. Living compassionately will bring you joy and greatly influence the people in your life. Never be afraid to give more love. It’s the best gift you can ever give anyone.
I’ve taken 27 trips around the sun, yet now, when I look into the mirror, covered in tiny handprint love notes, (thanks, B) I still see that 10 year-old girl looking back at me. She’s innocent, but wise, like she’s done this before. She’s confident, but sensitive, because empathy is her strength and her enemy. She loves hard and gives everyone a piece of her without losing herself. Her life is wonderful because she made it so.