Everyone feels like they have the right to throw advice at you. Everyone feels like they are a fountain of wisdom. I feel like I have the right to ignore all advice given to me. Which, I mean, I guess I do…but maybe shouldn’t always.
Now, I want to preface this with saying I don’t wish I’ve taken all of the advice I’m about to list. This is more about being open to new ideas and actually allowing myself to consider them than it is about what I regret.
“Enjoy The Wedding Planning!”
Hmm. You may be like, “What? That’s advice?! Someone told you to enjoy planning your wedding…like you weren’t already doing that?!” Yes, it is true. I dreaded the wedding planning. I know some people who, before they were even in relationships, had entire Pinterest accounts dedicated to their future weddings. I was not that girl.
The thought of dress shopping nearly gave me a heart attack. The second I walked into my first wedding dress store, I looked at my mom and my aunt and said, “I can’t do this. Let’s go.” When it came to finding shoes, I said, “I’ll just wear all white converse. No one will see them anyway.” When it came to anything food related, decor related, and colour related, I always said, “I. Do. Not. Care.”
So, yeah. Suffice it to say that I hated every moment of it and was relieved my mom did so much of it for me. But now I do wish I had taken that advice. Not because I care what my “accent colour” was, or because I care what my shoes looked like or heck, even what my dress looked like. I wish I had enjoyed it more because it was a great opportunity to bond with my mom and even my bridesmaids, and I missed out on that. I mostly just complained my way through appointments and events. Even though I was not and will never be into that kind of thing, I could have had a super fun eight months planning with my mom instead of whining about how much weddings suck.
On a more serious note, I had an eating disorder as a kid. Not anorexia or bulimia or anything you’ve heard of (probably). I had (and have) emetophobia (a fear of vomiting) which has manifested itself into a fear of eating. This phobia surfaced at age eight, after a horrible bout of the stomach flu. I dealt with this by refusing to eat for the next five years of my life.
Now, I was only eight, so I didn’t understand the severity of my actions. But, unfortunately, I now have to live with them. I wish I could go back in time and talk to my eight-year-old self. “If you don’t eat,” I’d tell myself. “You’re going to have a lot of problems in the future. And on top of that, you’re gonna be like, really, super, short and people will make fun of you forever.”
But, honestly, I probably wouldn’t have listened even to myself. Because I refused to eat during those vital growing years, I stunted my own growth. I sit around 4’11 now. I have severe acid reflux, which we don’t know for sure is from this, but we assume (along with severe anxiety) caused it. I also have heart issues now that possibly stem from neglecting my body for so long. I know I was just a kid, but those were still my actions.
I’m so thankful that my parents were on top of this. I saw a zillion doctors, paediatricians, dieticians, and even a psychologist as child. My mom used to sneak fatty foods into the limited meals I would eat so I (hopefully) wouldn’t go into failure to thrive. Thankfully, I never did. The point is, my dad would always tell me, “Eat. Don’t give in to fear.” I wish I had listened to him.
“Pierce your ears. You’ll regret it when you’re older.”
So, I’m 23 and I don’t have my ears pierced. And occasionally I look at earrings and I’m like, “hey those are pretty. Wish I had my ears pierced.” And then I move on with my life. Sometimes I even consider getting them pierced now, but then I get all terrified of the needle and instantly change my mind.
Still, the big question here is, why did people think they knew for SURE I would regret not piercing my ears?
Which I never do, by the way. I was a huge rough-houser probably would have split both my ears in two. Plus, I typically didn’t like the stuff society labeled as “girl” things as a kid. I never regret it now. I’m glad I stuck to my guns as a kid. Go ten-year-old me!
“Try new things.”
Hmm, well, yes. Trying new things is good. I pretty much ignored this my whole life except when I was forced into new situations by no choice of my own. Trying new things is good. But pushing yourself too far all at once, or doing things you are morally opposed to is not.
Like, I’ve never been drunk. During high school I wasn’t sure of my own faith and beliefs and wasn’t personally opposed to it. I didn’t do it because I was afraid of vomiting (which now I’m thankful for!) But, now I’m actually opposed to it and wouldn’t do it just to be able to say I’ve been drunk before. That’s dumb.
But going to a restaurant with food I’ve never tried before, or taking a spontaneous trip away with my husband, or going rock climbing…I feel the same way about those things as I do about the whole getting drunk thing. But I’m not morally opposed to new good or trips or rock climbing. So, I should maybe consider trying those things. At least CONSIDER them. Because usually, I don’t.
So there you have it. I’ve learned that even if I don’t take someone’s advice, assuming it’s not completely out-there, I should at least think about it. Dwell on it for a bit. Because even if it sucks, you can learn things from crappy advice too.