The Thinker Rodin China Photos/Getty Images News/Getty Images
By Stef Skinner

The young never appreciate the carefree days of summer. In fact, the last summer I really enjoyed was right before my freshman year of college.

Once I got to college, I spent so much time stressing about what was ahead of me, and then, spent all of my twenties in an office working day and night, so I never really took any time for myself.

This time of year, with all the ‘Back-To-School’, I can’t help thinking about all the things I would go back and tell myself.

For the first time, at 31, I don’t work for anyone. I have ventured out on my own and started a company with two incredible partners. They have helped me grow, both personally and professionally, and while all that hard work has put me in a position to start a business, there are many things I would have changed along the way.

If you are currently stressing about what your future holds, or just need a little direction, I hope what I know now can help you in someway:

1. Be Present — Do not let the past hold you back — LET IT GO. Set goals for your future and work towards them everyday, but enjoy the people, places, and moments of the present, because as cliché as it may sound, those moments happen fast and will pass you by.

2. Travel — Go on road trips and plan impromptu getaways — maybe even overseas — because it will ultimately inspire you and aid you in your mental and spiritual growth.

3. Laugh — There are times to be serious; but never take yourself too seriously. Laughing at yourself can be the best medicine.

4. Reconnect — With all of the advances in technology, it’s increasingly easy for us to hide behind our computers, phones, texts, Instagrams, etc., and lose touch with people. Pick up the phone, meet a friend for a coffee, or ‘snail mail’ a handwritten letter.

5. Disconnect —  Take an hour a day for yourself…time that is truly yours. Read an article, take a walk, go to yoga — whatever you need to do to escape the stress of the day. Work, problems… those situations will come and go. The one thing you can never escape is yourself, so it’s best to get comfortable with who you are and who you aspire to become.

6. Smile — No matter what you are going through, there is always someone fighting a different battle. Smiling at a stranger may just change their day, and if someone smiles at you, it can also change yours.

Just remember: It is always going to be okay, and sometimes, you just need to check in with yourself along the way. 

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