Good Advice

6 Feb

When I turned 24, I was going through a period of transition. I was graduating from college, moving from Boston to New York City, and entering the world of full-time work. I’ve always had a difficult time dealing with change, even when I’m excited about it, and that discomfort usually results in an awful lot of introspection. I’ve filled thousands of journal pages during those times of flux (I have big handwriting).

During this particular time, I had an idea that I believed would help me deal with the transition, without being quite so “in my head.” In fact, it would give me an excuse to connect with others. I decided to ask certain people in my life, mostly older family members and friends of family, to send me their best piece of advice. I asked them, “What is the most valuable piece of advice you ever received, or what do you wish you had known when you were 24?”

Soon after, I received an influx of good advice. Emails and letters, quotes and poems, anecdotes and jokes, I got it all! It’s amazing what wisdom you can find within the life experience of the people around you. I liked being in the position of collecting and curating this wisdom, deciding which pieces were going to be most relevant to me, which pieces resonated the most.

I’m not going to share the advice I received here (because it was meant specifically for me!), but I do want to recommend this as a useful practice if you’re feeling contemplative, indecisive, or overwhelmed. When you ask people a question like this, it affords them an opportunity to reflect on their own lives, so, in a way, you’re giving them a small gift as well.

As a wise friend reminded me recently, we are social beings, dependent on one another in so many ways. We might as well get out of our own heads every once in awhile, and take some good advice from others.

What do you think? Would you try something like this? Is there anything holding you back?

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2 Responses to “Good Advice”

  1. juliacsmith February 6, 2012 at 5:37 pm #

    I’m so glad you wrote this. For lots of reasons. I’ve been bouncing a kinda-related project around in my head since my last birthday and I need to get out of my head and just DO it.

  2. Amber Hubert February 6, 2012 at 8:55 pm #

    I interviewed my family once in college about their worst fears, greatest accomplishments, regrets, dreams, etc. I was looking for inspiration and guidance. Afterwards, I felt like Eddie Murphy’s song “Wookin’ pu nub.” But that’s just my family. Now, I look for inspiration and wisdom from my friends, books, movies, the internet and even strangers. It’s everywhere if you’re looking for it!

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