“If youth knew, if old age could” is a good saying that it is impossible to change the past and that there is a time for everything. Yes, each of us is destined to go our own way and fill a certain number of “bumps” along this path, but if I read this article or heard something similar in my 20s, then most likely my forehead would be a couple of bumps more whole.

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1. Early smoking

I tried my first cigarette at the age of 14 in a pioneer camp, I didn’t like the process of smoking – I was suffocating from the smoke, my throat was scratchy from tobacco, but touching something forbidden was exciting. At the age of 15-16, I periodically smoked. The cigarette gave a sense of adulthood and coolness. Later, at the age of 19, I already smoked regularly. In addition to adulthood, smoking also provided the opportunity for socialization – a great way to get close to someone by talking in a smoking room or getting to know each other by asking, for example, for a lighter. I quit smoking at the age of 34 and it was self-observation that helped me to do this. I began to wonder why I smoke, what attracts me to this process? Taste of tobacco and smoke? Tobacco smell from hands, hair, clothes? The need to constantly chew mint gum during the day, otherwise it stank from the mouth too? No. I liked the opportunity to take a break from work that a cigarette gave, to chat with colleagues for a smoke break, or to fill a pause while waiting for someone at a meeting. When I understood what needs I was replacing with a cigarette and how to satisfy them in a different way, I quit smoking easily and simply, without any additional means in the form of an Alan Carr book or an anti-smoking patch. But was it necessary to poison your body with nicotine for 15 years?

Combination of bad habits speeds up brain agingCombination of bad habits speeds up brain aging

2. Random and unwanted sex

I had my first sexual experience at the age of 17. Not because I really wanted or loved without memory, but simply because all my friends had already done it and I felt like a “stranger” in their conversations. In addition, it seemed to me that sex was supposed to be one of the ways for me to get rid of complexes about appearance. Yes, after sex in conversations with my friends, I already had something to say, but the complexes not only did not disappear, but also increased. After all, I didn’t get pleasure, the decision to go to bed was not from the heart and feelings, but from the brain. Now, I think about having sex only when you want and only with who you want. And not when you think “we’ve been dating for 2 months, it’s probably time to surrender to him”, “damn, he has a small penis and a very weak erection, but I already invited him home and we undressed, now it’s inconvenient to kick him out, I’ll have to work” .

3. Abortion

Even experienced women can get pregnant by accident, simply because condoms break, pills sometimes fail, and sometimes we are careless. What can we say about girls who, at the age of 16-20, are just beginning to gain sexual experience. There were abortions in my life, there were also in the lives of my girlfriends, clients and just acquaintances of women. But I have not met a single woman, even happily married, even with several children, who would not regret her then seemingly right decision to terminate the pregnancy. You will regret it too, so look for a resource, look for a reserve, look for any help you can find to save the child.

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4. Follow parental settings

All children want to be good, to be loved by their parents. The less parents love, or the less adequate way they express this love, the more the desire to become good increases. What is the best way to become good and worthy of love? Do whatever mom and dad tell you to do. Of course, moms and dads don’t always say bad things. On the contrary, parents should be thanked for many advice and help. But how often, especially in our youth, did we do not what we wanted, but what my mother said? Mom wanted me to become an engineer – and I entered the Polytechnic Institute – a girl who completely lacked technical talents and mathematical thinking, but who had a clear talent for writing and storytelling. Mom wanted me to have an abortion, because an early pregnancy would ruin my life, and most importantly her life, and also “what will people say?” And I had an abortion. Because the truth did not know how I would live alone with a child, without maternal support. Mom wanted me to make a career – and I did a career until the age of 34, until I said to myself, “Lena, stop.” Stop and you. Your parents definitely had and have their own life for the realization of everything conceived and desired. Your job is to live yours.

5. Early marriage

This error did not affect me. And not always early marriages are unsuccessful. There are examples when people get married at 17 and live together until 84. But, in general, two unripe fruits do not make delicious jam. Because often the decision to get married is also not mature – people either run away from conflicts and a difficult situation in the parental family, or have many fantasies about marriage and a partner, and in the process of life these fantasies break into reality, or they want to get rid of complexes, feel like an adult, to prove something to someone. Having married at the age of 19, by the age of 30, the couple runs the risk of discovering that a completely alien, different, unfamiliar and not close person is nearby, and everything that you ran away from in marriage, not only remained with you, but was also aggravated by an unhappy family life. But there are already common children, mortgages, the habit of stability and the fear of changing something.

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6. Wasting energy on unnecessary people

How to understand that a person is not needed in your life? By the level of discomfort that a relationship with him creates. In a good, “healthy” relationship, whether with a man, a girlfriend or a work colleague, there is always an equal exchange. In general, the background of such relations is positive. You cried together and laughed together, offended and offended somewhere, and helped somewhere – relationships do not drag drama and hopelessness into a crow. If a friend calls you only to cry about her miserable life or just ask you to do something for her, but at the same time she is not ready to spend either strength or attention on your problems – why do you need such a girlfriend ?. If a man constantly brings problems into your life, if you cry with him, more than laugh – why such a man? Stephen King has such a novel “Langoliers” – they are nightmarish, toothy creatures that devour space. People who devour my time and energy, I call langoliers. And ruthlessly get rid of them.

7. Thinking “it’s too early for me” or “it’s too late for me”

There is no life schedule in which it would be written what actions or actions correspond to what age. If you feel that at the age of 16 you have the desire, strength and knowledge to travel around the world on a yacht – go for it. Laura Dekker from the Netherlands did just that – at the age of 16 she sailed around the world alone on a yacht, and then also wrote a book about it. If you are sure that you have not chosen “your” profession, look for “your” one – try, make mistakes, strive – then you will find it. Did you marry the wrong person? Divorce, look for someone, even if the thought of a mistake came to you after 25 years of marriage.

Woman on the beach photoWoman on the beach photo

8. Fear of public opinion

Of course, man is a social being. We all, one way or another, have a circle of social connections and periodically check our place in this circle. But in youth, it is especially important what other people think of you – girlfriends, men, work colleagues. Because there is no internal resource of confidence yet. We rely on someone else. And, as a rule, there is someone right there who happily criticizes. Fearing this criticism, we begin to slow ourselves down. “I will marry this guy, because everyone considers him good and promising, if I don’t marry, everyone will say that I am a fool and made my way through worthy suitors.” “I won’t go to dances, because everyone will say that I’m fat and not flexible, and in general, at the age of 25, you should already think not about dancing, but about a good promising job.” “I won’t go to these courses because it’s a whim, I already have a good job and it would be stupid to change it and try something new, my relatives won’t understand me.” “I won’t tell my friends that I slept with a man on the first date, they will say that decent girls don’t do that.” I will reveal a terrible secret, even if you do nothing, but just sit quietly at home, there are a couple of people who think badly of you. Because you are sitting, because you have a house, because you inhale oxygen, which is so scarce on the planet. The brighter you live and the more you do, the more envious and ill-wishers you have. Do you really let them stop themselves?

9. Neglect your health

In my youth, I was very careless about my health – a hole in my tooth, I won’t go to the doctor, it still doesn’t hurt. Rashes on the skin – I’ll cover it with foundation, maybe they won’t notice it. I got sick, I have a temperature – I’ll take a pill, I’ll go to study or to college, because today is such an important day, you can’t miss it. With such an attitude towards your body, by the age of 30-35, you can find that many things are already unrecoverable and irreplaceable. I’m not saying that you need to become a hypochondriac to lie in a dark room, surrounded by mothers and nannies, like the Princess from the movie “A Merry Adventure or Laughter Through Tears”, but it is necessary to treat yourself carefully and with care.

Physical activity, PhotoPhysical activity, Photo

10. Be a workaholic and work more than 40 hours a week

Once I sinned with this, it seemed to me that there was simply no other way out – without full dedication to work, you can’t build a career at all, and if you also roam, say that you won’t stay at work beyond the prescribed 8 hours or take sick leave – you’re just will be fired. It is not surprising that all my almost 12 years of career in the banking system have passed in a rush, strain, constant delays at work after 18 hours, no sick days, going to work on weekends, etc. Yes, and I want to fulfill myself through work, and ambitions require building a career, and money is needed in the end, but work and money are an important part of life, but not all of life. All the cemeteries of the world are filled with irreplaceable people. It’s funny that all three of my banks, in which I worked so selflessly, do not exist at the moment. They fell apart at different times and for different reasons. But I am and I live. Live and you. Enjoy your youth. And the diversity of life.

Elena Shpundra - photoElena Shpundra - photo

Author: Elena Shpundra, psychologist, journalist, traveler

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