Suburbs to City: Week 9 Life Lessons from the Older and Wiser

There have been many things that I have learned this summer. For example, I've learned how to burn chicken and that you can only use dishwasher soap in a dishwasher. I explored the world of healthcare and faced my fear of blood and needles for a day (barely). I learned how to city drive and that subway tokens can only be bought with exact change. And the one message that I have noticed being called out to me over and over again: enjoy my time being young because it goes by fast.

The women in my hospital bootcamp class repeatedly tell me this and yell at my intern friend and I for our youth. My department tells me this. Caregivers of the patients in our hospital tell me this.

I have spent a lot of time with people who are older than me, people who have worked many careers, people who are post menopausal (learned too much on this), people who have seen their glory days and apparently things go down hill pretty fast. One day you wake up and your body is bringing you down the hill, not up anymore.

So in addition to taking all of their career advice, I have begun to take their life advice as well. I am not going to be too cliché, because how can a twenty year old advise other twenty year olds on how to live, but here is what I have gathered and how I have tested it out.

My past weekend I would like to say I took advantage of the fact that I have a 20-year-old body who can do a lot. I was awake for 22 hours straight. Did I lose some brain cells? Yes. Did I want to die a few days later? Yes, but it was oh so worth it.

You see it wasn’t just for no reason. I got up like a normal work day at 6:30 AM and went to work. I worked a half day then proceeded to get in my car and drive home to make it to the Taylor Swift concert by 7. Unfortunately the traffic was awful and I was in my car two hours longer than needed and I told my sisters to leave from home without me. After a brief phone call where my friend basically said I would be dumb not to go to see T-Swift, I made the decision to drive two more hours, and go to the concert (yes, it was incredible) which ended at midnight. Throw in some killing time to let traffic go, getting stuck in traffic, and making some wrong turns and I ended up in bed at 4:30 am.

Total: 22 hours. 

And sadly I was up early the next day because the sunshine is a beautiful thing and I only had 48 hours in my hometown to see all the wonderful people I knew. So my 20-year-old self and I kept right on going (with some coffee). It was an awesome weekend.

Also what woke me up the next morning.

From what I have gathered, I would not be able to do this same thing in twenty years because I will get tired sooner, I won’t be able to eat a whole bag of chocolate covered blueberries to stay awake, and my eye sight driving at night will have gone to hell – however maybe I will try for the Taylor Swift turned 50 concert.

Do it while you can.

One of my friend’s brings up the saying “you never remember the night’s you had a good night sleep." (Granted currently, I do since they are very rare). But it is true.

I am not saying go out and make stupid crazy decisions, but every once in awhile, go for it. Give it the "what the hey" and drive 5 hours to see a friend. Put yourself out there and say what’s on your mind. Find an adventure. I usually have found I am not disappointed. There’s living life and then there’s living life.

Here's some of the great knowledge I have acquired this summer from all those who are older and wiser than me:

  • eat from the candy jar while you’re young and can
  • do not let working out go away, keep it up and it will always be easier
  • don’t force things
  • don’t waste time on people who don’t care about you
  • accept invitations that will throw off your schedule, it’s just one day
  • rest, rest, rest, when you need
  • ask questions and admit to your mistakes
  • the connections you make will get you the farthest

I am getting older and one day I will be the one with multiple careers and an extra pouch under my belt. So for now, here’s to being 20.


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