This past week I traveled to Florida for a wedding and took some extra time to spend with my grandpa and his girlfriend since he’s now 89 years old and the time we have left is precious. We spent a lot of time chatting and catching up on living in Chicago, my career, and plans for the future. I told him about how exciting everything is right now being in a new city and seeing old friends from college, but even though I’m having a blast, I’m still trying to figure my shit out (sorry to my Mother).
With that, I asked him and his girlfriend if they have any advice for me and got a response I didn’t think would be so direct and logical. It was a plain, old truth bomb. Nothing fluffy or overly encouraging, like “you’re amazing, you can go to the moon if you want to!” because we all know that’s a lie, but it was important, so I want to share it with you.
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First piece of advice: Take some time to think before you do, even if that requires you to go away for a weekend to sort it out.
Hm. Well that makes sense. Honestly, I thought I would get something along the lines of “follow your heart”, but I think this is better. At my age I feel compelled to constantly switch it up and like I’m all over the place, which I’m sure I’m not alone in this.
I recently talked about taking the time to appreciate what you have going in a post I wrote right after moving from Dallas. See here. But, do I always follow my own advice? No. So to hear someone who has seen it all in 89 years tell me to slow down and take the time to think through my decisions was really eye opening for me.
The way I interpreted this was that you should definitely follow you heart and ambitions, but don’t do something stupid on a whim because you feel like you need more. Stop, think, and look around at what you have, then make a plan to improve in different areas. Most rash decisions don’t pay off in the long-term when they’re not backed by careful thought.
Second piece of advice: If you don’t like the situation you are in, get out.
And another truth bomb! You would think that he would follow up with “try to make it work”, but no. If you hate the situation you’re in and it isn’t in your best interest, you need to get out of it. Your happiness is the most important thing and if you aren’t happy, you won’t be your best self and able make the people around you happy.
But definitely keep the first piece of advice in mind before you jump ship. Maybe it’s your perception you need to change, or maybe you just need to move on.
Final piece of advice: It’s always a good idea to have something of your own.
This came from my grandpa’s girlfriend who has also been fortunate enough to experience a lot of life, 81 years to be exact. She was talking about the first place she bought for herself and describing the first time she stood in the hallway, looking around. She said that feeling of accomplishment was one of the greatest because the house was something she worked for and could call her own.
So go work for something you can call your own. It might not be a house, it could just be a small blog on the Internet, but at least it’s yours.