As an adult, I often reflect on the experiences that I have had whether good or bad and try to find the lesson in them. For me, that is important because I think the purpose of living is to continue to gain insight and grow from the things that you experience while creating new memories. Also, to look at things through different lenses and find new interpretations of what they mean. Today, the thought at the forefront of my mind is how much I wish I would have known as a young adult. I decided to write about this because it is sort of an oxymoron. While I wish I knew more, somehow I knew too much and encountered life experiences too soon that also prompted this desire.
With this thought in mind, I have so much advice to give young Latiera. So much that I am sure what I have to say right now could never completely encompass what she needs to know. As a young girl I experienced a lot of attention from the male sex at an early age. This included wanted and unwanted sexual advances, sugar daddy propositions, marriage proposals, and etcetera. I was smart enough to turn most of them down but that did not stop me from having relationships with older men at a young age. In my opinion I thought that boys my age were too immature, they were more focused on uncommitted relationships and spreading childish roomers. Therefore, from a young girl's perspective I thought it would be in my best interest to date older men. Ideally, this did work in my favor as I was able to keep my private business to myself, reap the benefits of an older relationship like a man with a job, car, someone who nobody knew, and someone who I could grow with and learn more from. On the flip side, it also came with dealing with someone that had kids while I was still in high school, sex too soon, baby mamas, and making difficult life decisions which is something that was probably so far removed from what other high school teenagers were dealing with.
If I could rewind the hands of time I would tell young Latiera at this point to focus only on getting your education, boys/men will come later. Opening yourself up to relationships and situations that can potentially alter your life's path are detrimental to your future. Do you know how much time I have wasted in life because it is not what he wanted?... It is not where we are going...If I do this how will he take it...I don't just have me to think about, I have to consider his feelings or my parents feelings. To be honest, none of those things matter unless you are married and even then I still say you get the right to think about what matters to you. Don't be in a rush to grow up too soon. Don't waste your life doing things for other people, pleasing other people, caring more for other people than you do yourself. Instead, put yourself first at all times and don't be too quick to commit to anything too soon.
Next, don't work for anyone but your parents. Granted I know that most people may not have parents that are business owners. If your parents don't own a business, or you are not in a position to remain unemployed, do what you have to do in order to get your own. That means, the whole time you are working, your purpose for working is to get your own. Save a certain amount from every pay check, research, study to become a subject matter expert, and when you are ready execute your plan move forward. If you are able to do this early then you will have plenty of time to get it right later. I had to realize that even while you're older its still okay to embrace this concept but you will have less time to get it right.
Another thing I would tell my younger self is that happiness can never be found within other people. Of course you get a certain feeling from being around the people you love, but internally if you are not happy with yourself there is nothing that they can do about it. The love that your parents have for you, your siblings, your boyfriend/girlfriend, friends is important, but none of it determines how you feel about yourself or your life when you wake up in the morning. I can remember thinking back so many times on when I relied on the outcome of a certain situation to determine whether my life was going right. I realized that it was the naivety in my thinking that caused this and is inevitable in early adulthood. You hear so many times about people taking their lives and battling depression when they "have so many positive things going for them". This is not because they don't appreciate what they have, it is because true happiness can only be created by you and your perception of what that means.
Lastly,always research and learn independently. As a young child I remember every time I would ask my mother to define or interpret something she would make me look it up. I appreciate that now and I understand why she did it. Regardless of what you have been taught all your life by your parents and the people around you, always find your own answers. No matter what your teachers have taught you always discover history on your own. Often we are taught with a combination of fact and opinion which will always alter the truth. If you study the facts you will always be in a better position to make decisions because you are relying on information that has been proven. Life will continue to show you half truths and blatant lies but as long as you have the desire to learn you will always have the truth.