culture

Advice to My Younger Self: 5 Women Share Their Thoughts On Career, Life, and Love

Glenda Decasa

Life is a journey of events and experiences. Some of them are good and others aren’t, but all of them have the same purpose: to make you the woman you’re supposed to be.

With age and experience, you learn how to act in different situations and get a sense of what’s best for your mind and personal development, but that’s something you only understand once you get older.

We asked five interesting women what advice would they give to their younger selves and here’s what they had to say:

Glenda Decasa (pictured above), Travel and Lifestyle Blogger, Keynote Speaker

What advice would you give to your younger self when it comes to your career?
There’s no set blueprint in life that you “need” to follow. You go through different experiences to help shape and understand the difference between what your skills are, what you love to do and what drives you. It’s okay to start over and you don’t need to know what you’re doing in order to be successful.

Name something you wish you knew when you were in your early 20s about relationships and sex.
Each relationship experienced are different chapters in your life that help molds you to understand what you want and deserve in a significant other. No relationship is easy and your past burdens are not for your significant other to carry. Once you find a bond that’s unbreakable, you’ll understand why a mental connection is far more important than the physical.

What’s a mistake you wish you didn’t make in your early 20s but it shaped you to become the woman you are now? What did you learn from it?
I wish I learned how to control my finances better. Even though the money comes and goes, putting yourself in a situation that can affect you, in the long run, can be tough to catch up on later in life.

What advice would you give to 20-something women when it comes to growing up?
Your past and your mental health don’t define you. Take each struggle as a lesson for strength, push yourself outside of your comfort zone and cherish the moments as they come, because you’ll never know when life decides that your time is up.

Nathaly Juarez

Nathaly Juarez, Social Media Manager, Founder of the Fresno Women’s Summit

What advice would you give to your younger self when it comes to your career?
Choose a career that you are passionate about because you will have to be in that environment for many years. If you end up not loving what you originally set out to do, don’t fret. Our passions change over the years and it’s perfectly fine to make a career change in your 30s or later. What you’ll have then is the experience to make decisions that are right for your situation.

Name something you wish you knew when you were in your early 20s about relationships and sex.
Choose to be around people that make you feel like your best self. If you find that you can’t truly be yourself around those people it’s time to make changes to your relationships. The right people will become your hype squad.

What’s a mistake you wish you didn’t make in your early 20s but it shaped you to become the woman you are now? What did you learn from it?
I wish I didn’t stay in jobs/situations that weren’t allowing me room for growth. In my early 20s, I stunted my growth by not voicing my interests enough to my managers. I just figured they would know what I wanted through my work ethic but managers aren’t mindreaders. Be vocal about your goals and if they don’t support it, find mentors who will guide you to your goals. Also, connect with people who are willing to lend a hand.

What advice would you give to 20-something women when it comes to growing up?
Don’t be afraid to spread your wings and leave your family to pursue your dreams. Go to your dream college or take that job out of state — things will work out! Growth comes through that.

Donyell Johnson, Writer

What advice would you give to your younger self when it comes to your career?
It’s okay not to know what you want to do. A lot of people don’t find their calling until their 30s or 40s and sometimes older than that. Also, it’s okay if opportunities don’t come your way. Whenever a door never opens, remind yourself that there’s something better waiting! Don’t stress yourself out; you have enough time to figure out what you want to do with your life.

Name something you wish you knew when you were in your early 20s about relationships and sex.
As far as relationships, don’t bother, a lot of guys will say they’re not ready for a relationship even after you’ve been pursuing them for months. Focus on yourself, and the right one will come. One thing I wish I knew before I started having sex is to make sure you pee after sex. It helps flush out bacteria from entering your urethra, which means it helps you from getting a UTI (urinary tract infection). Peeing after sex is a huge tip that every woman should know before having intercourse.

What’s a mistake you wish you didn’t make in your early 20s but it shaped you to become the woman you are now? What did you learn from it?
I don’t have any mistakes I wish I didn’t make in my early 20s. Simply because they have shaped me into becoming the woman I am today, which is why I am grateful for all of my mistakes. However, I will say a lot of people around me thought me getting pregnant when I was 20 was a mistake. In general, a lot of people see women who get pregnant at a young age as a mistake. If I didn’t become pregnant, I would’ve never started blogging and creating content for brands. I would’ve never believed in my own craft. I wouldn’t have discovered a lot of things about myself. The most important thing I’ve learned is that I’m a great mother, which I never thought I would be.

What advice would you give to 20-something women when it comes to growing up?
I want to remind women in their early 20s, that failure is the mother of success. It’s okay not to know everything, it’s okay to make mistakes. You don’t need to have everything figured out at a certain age. Making mistakes and learning from them is what life is all about. That’s what structures your life, along with events and people you encounter. Also, remember that you are on your path. Don’t worry about what everyone else is doing in their life because their path is different from yours. Growing up is a life long lesson that can be a beautiful experience when you embrace everything you face, good or bad. Don’t grow up too fast, and don’t rush it.

Eripitan Osagie-Sule, Blogger

What advice would you give to your younger self when it comes to your career?
You don’t need to have it all figured out! As you grow, you’ll learn what you like, dislike, love, and hate. Life throws you curve balls and sometimes what you have planned isn’t what you need, it’s just what you’d want. You never know what people or jobs will impact your future career choices!

Name something you wish you knew when you were in your early 20s about relationships and sex.
Focus on you, value yourself and know your worth. If you meet someone that wants to be serious, then that’s awesome, but if not, don’t waste your time looking for a guy/girl that only wants you sometimes. You deserve to be seen as a priority, not an option. Also, if a man wants you, he’ll make it known to you.

What’s a mistake you wish you didn’t make in your early 20s but it shaped you to become the woman you are now? What did you learn from it? 
Choosing friends based on convenience and not true, genuine friendship. Friends will make and break your 20s, so choose wisely. Find the friends that love you enough to support you, but also enough to say “hey! You have a problem, let’s fix that.”

What advice would you give to 20-something women when it comes to growing up? 
If she’s still around, lean on your mom. Growing up I truly never valued how intelligent and supportive my mom really wise. It’s not until I got older that I realized everything she ever wanted for me was because she saw something in me that others didn’t. So, trust her and value her opinion above anyone else’s, she only wants the best for you.

Jewel Hazelton

Jewel Hazelton, Strategic communications professional

What advice would you give to your younger self when it comes to your career?
Don’t listen to the naysayers who say you can’t do something or tell you that you aren’t good enough. I didn’t have the best grades in undergrad. I remember professors telling me that I would never get into grad school. My career experience ended up getting me into grad school and I graduated from my grad school program in 18 months with honors.

Name something you wish you knew when you were in your early 20s about relationships and sex.
Up until last year, I hadn’t been single in 15 years. I’ve learned quickly that every person you date isn’t meant to be your spouse. I believe each relationship, regardless of rather it was a success or failure, is supposed to teach you something about yourself. I learned so much about my finances, my faith, my career journey, and my passions from relationships with ex-boyfriends.

What is a mistake you wish you didn’t make in your early 20s but it shaped you to become the woman you are now? What did you learn from it?
I wish I would have been better with my finances in my early 20s. I worked all through college and instead of contributing to my tuition, I spent the money from my paycheck on material things like shopping, fast food, and partying. I learned that what financial decisions you make in your 20s will catch up with you in your 30s.

What advice would you give to 20-something women when it comes to growing up?
Don’t take life so seriously and breathe. You will survive each obstacle live throws at you. I used to stress so much and internalize every situation. I learned the hard way that stress can kill you and there will be moments in growing up that aren’t a smooth slope.

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