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With my 29th birthday coming up this Sunday, November 20th, it’s hard to believe that it’s been nearly 10 years since I was 20. So much has happened in my life over the past nine years that in many ways it’s rather incredible that it has all happened in under a decade. To give you an idea, I lived in two different countries after university, moved back to Toronto, started my blog, bought a home and started an e-shop all by the time I was 26.

I always think it’s really important to reflect on your life, and recognize your own achievements and the lessons you’ve learned. Since my friends at Fido are celebrating their 20th anniversary this month, I was inspired to share 20 things I wish I could tell my 20 year old self, in hopes that some of the lessons I’ve learned might help or resonate with you too.

Keep reading to find out what I would share, and see below for how you can enter to WIN an exclusive party experience on November 25th for you and 10 of your friends in the #Fido20 Airstream that’s coming to Toronto!

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20 Things I Wish I Could Tell My 20-Year-Old Self

1. You don’t need to have it all figured out by 25

  • Turning 25 was the hardest birthday for me to get through (so far), because I had put so much pressure on myself about where I thought I should be by the age of 25. It was a tough year trying to work through feelings of failure, and redefining what success is to me. If I could, I would tell my younger self that despite what you think, you’re still a baby at 20, and at 25 you’re still just a kid. So, girl, CHILL.

2. Pay Attention In School

  • Despite how hard I had worked to get into the Ryerson School of Fashion (the only school I wanted to go to in Canada), I didn’t take it seriously throughout my four years of school. My typical Scorpio self thought everyone was wrong, and I was right; that learning graphic design, video editing, and web development was stupid because I’d never use them in my actual career. Fast forward nearly 10 years and these are all of the skills I need  on a daily basis to be a professional Blogger, and I’ve had to teach myself all over again. Thank God YouTube tutorials exist now! But seriously, just pay attention in school while you’re there.

3. Appreciate What You Have

  • When I was younger, Toronto (and Canada) seemed like the lamest place on Earth to me. I couldn’t wait to finish school and move to a glamorous, fashion capital where I could really spread my wings and get involved in the fashion industry where I felt it truly mattered. In some ways, being that naive was a good thing, because I packed my bags and moved to New York and later to London, U.K., without thinking twice. It was living abroad that opened my eyes and made me realize just how good we have it here in Toronto and in Canada. Younger self, love where you’re from! You’ve got it good.

4. Don’t Spend All Your Money at H&M

  • A student grant? A credit card!? I was in money heaven at 20-years-old! The only problem was, I had no control over my spending habits and pretty much spent every last cent of my grant, and quickly maxed out my credit card, on things like fashion magazines, new outfits “for class” from H&M, and a coveted Marc Jacobs bag I found on eBay. To be honest, I think I would actually go back in time and ask my parents what the heck they were thinking in trusting their shopaholic daughter with a full bank account. My future kids will be taking a financial planning course as soon as they can count.

5. Dress For Your Body, Wear What Feels Good

  • Thanks to ‘Facebook Memories’ I’m now regularly reminded of the fashion choices of my past, for both good and bad. If I could, I would tell my younger self to spend more time defining your personal style, rather than keep up with every hot fashion trend. Always, always dress for your body, and wear what makes you feel your best, and most confident.

6. Don’t Destroy Your Hair

  • I don’t know what came over me in university, but I did everything in my power to change my hair colour as often as possible. When I discovered that you could opt in to be a hair model and have your hair coloured for free, I thought I’d won the lottery. Little did I know, I was causing years of damage and would more often emerge looking like hair colour victim rather than vixen. To my young self: Girl, you got that good hair. Just leave it alone!

7. Worship The Sun, Safely 

  • I never worried about getting wrinkles until I turned 25 and they started showing up all over the place. Now nearly 30, wrinkles are my biggest worry, and I use SPF like it’s going out of style. Although the sun damage I have isn’t terrible, I would school my younger self on how to sun tan, safely. Seriously, the only thing you’ll care about when you’re nearly 30 is having amazing skin.

8. Get Rid of Toxic Friends

  • That gut feeling about a friend’s odd behaviour? That friend who does things that hurt you and make you cry? Yeah, get rid of that friend, or friends. Know that your friends shouldn’t have to come with lies, drama and backstabbing. A true friend will have your back, always. They’ll borrow your clothes and return them in perfect condition. They’ll always be there for you. And they won’t go after the boy you like.

9. Don’t Be A Moron On Social Media

  • Sure, Instagram and Snapchat may not have existed when I was 20 (we were all still on that MySpace and Facebook tip), but, once again, thanks to Facebook Memories, I am now regularly reminded of the ridiculous party photos I used to proudly show off on social media. It may not seem like it matters at the time, but it’s true what they about things never being removed from the internet. And they will come back to haunt you, trust me. As a general rule, don’t post images of yourself wasted, or naked, or both.

10. Buy Your Own Drinks, Go Dutch

  • When I was 20, and broke as a joke, I regular went out with literally ONE quarter and a lipgloss in my clutch bag. I went out knowing (and expecting) guys would buy me drinks, and even pay for my cabs. On dates, I always expected the guy to pay and was horrified anytime someone suggested we split the bill. Thinking back to that type of attitude, all I can think is: GROSS. I now see the power in paying for your own drinks and your own meals. I prefer to go Dutch, or even take care of the entire bill. Not only does it make you look like a total badass, but you’ll never be left in a situation where you feel – or someone makes you feel – like you ‘owe’ them something.

11. Bad Boys Are A Waste Of Time

  • Bad boys (are often) very hot. Bad boys (are often) a lot of fun. Bad boys are also a total waste of time. I wish I could go back in time and shake my younger self to stop me from wasting so much of my time and energy on boys that didn’t care about me. Good guys are a good thing, trust. Haven’t you seen Bridget Jones?

12. Stop Screaming At Your Mom

  • From the age of 14 to 21, I don’t think my mom and I ever managed to communicate without screaming at each other. Considering that this woman is my biggest champion in life, and my biggest role model, I always feel like the biggest jerk for being a difficult and rebellious daughter for so long. All I can remember is that one day I woke up and the screaming stopped. Maybe it was the day I grew up. Maybe it was the day she told me she had breast cancer. All I know is I wish I knew to treat her better from the start.

13. Love Your Pets More

  • One thing I regret is not loving my family pets enough. I mean, I loved them, but I feel as though I took them for granted. I didn’t pet them enough, or walk them enough, or care for them enough. I always assumed my parents would take care of them, and that our furry friends would be around. So many of our pets lived into their teen years and once they had passed, I realized just how much a part of our family they really were. So give your pets more time, and more love. Besides, animal therapy is literally the best thing ever and I am now a crazy cat lady.

14. Appreciate Every Single Job

  • Like many other millennials out there, I must admit that there have been many times in my life where I’ve thought that I was too good to do a certain job. Or that I wasn’t doing the job I wanted to be doing, and so I didn’t care about it.  Looking back, even the internships where they worked me the hardest, and the longest, or the jobs that I hated, helped me learn truly invaluable lessons for my business. I don’t regret setting my sights on what was ahead for me, but I do regret my attitude in many of those situations. Any and every employer deserves your full attention and dedication, and I realize that more than ever now that I employ people too.

15. Look For Mentors

  • I truly believe that interning helped provide me with the best education, skills and connections for what I do. When I get asked about work experience and how to get into the fashion industry, I always emphasize the importance of interning. But, it’s also important that you make sure you are always learning, and not being treated like a slave. I would remind my younger self to always look for a mentor in the work place, and not to waste time in a situation where you’re being taken advantage of or mistreated.

16. Be Confident In Who You Are

  • Right before I moved home from London, I went to visit a girlfriend in Paris for a weekend. I was heading back home to Toronto, and had let my British and UK-based boyfriend know I had no plans of  returning, and that I was going alone. I felt lost, confused and scared. While in Paris, we stumbled into a wine bar where we happened to sit next to a tarot card reader. Desperate for some sense of direction, or confirmation that I was doing the right thing, I had my cards read. Out of everything the reader said to me, I remember how much he emphasized that I would be happy, and successful, back home, but it would only happen if I truly believed in myself. I still work on this every day, but, younger self, just believe in yourself more.

17. Go Out And Get What You Want

  • Don’t sit still and hope that what you want will come to you. If I’ve learned anything over the past 9 years, it’s that you’ve got to go out and get what you want. Don’t be afraid to be aggressive, because you need to be to survive.

18. Read More Books

  • In my mid twenties, I discovered my love for memoirs and biographies. Not only are they entertaining, but I learn so much and always get truly inspired reading about the lives (and hustle) of successful people I admire. I would also tell my younger self to start reading entrepreneurial and business-focused books sooner rather than later.

19. Know When To Tune In and Tune Out

  • I believe that really listening to feedback and comments can be invaluable for any business or project you’re working on, especially as an entrepreneur. At the same time, you need to be able to pick up on what’s constructive, and what’s just plain trolling. Younger self, know when to tune in and when to tune people out.

20. Get Involved and Volunteer

  • At this year’s Breakfast of Champions in support of SickKids, keynote speaker, Jordan Banks, the Managing Director of Facebook and Instagram Canada shared a key piece of advice for everyone in the room. He said that his best career advice is to get involved in the community by finding a cause that you’re passionate about. Not only will you be helping others, but it’s also a great opportunity for personal and professional growth. I couldn’t agree more, and only wish that my younger self had known to do that sooner rather than later. So, get out there and help!

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Now that that’s out of the way, it’s on to the details for the Fido20 Mobile Tour that’s on it’s way to Toronto! I love that Fido likes to celebrate the same way I do – by giving away freebies and prizes to their customers, and, in my case, readers!

I’ve been a happy Fido customer for gong on 5 years now, and I’m so happy to get to work with them in this capacity at this point in my career. So, not only will you be able to visit the Fido20 MobileTour in Toronto on the weekends of November 18th and 25th (See all dates and locations HERE) for the chance to receive prizes and giveaways for Fido and non-Fido customers, but right now you have the opportunity to enter to WIN a “birthday party” celebration for you and 10 of your friends INSIDE the Fido20 Airstream on Friday November 25th from 8-10pm!

Whether it’s your birthday or not, you DO NOT want to miss this super fun opportunity to kick off your Friday night in style! Trust me, we are going to pimp out the Fido20 Airstream, provide a dope playlist, full bar and food too! Plus, you’ll get a visit from me on the big night!

All you have to do to enter to WIN is:

LIKE my Instagram post HERE.

COMMENT on the Instagram post, sharing your favourite birthday memory.

TAG a friend in your post, and be sure to include HASHTAG #Fido20

Contest closes on Monday November 21st at 11:59pm EST and the WINNER will be announced on Tuesday November 22nd.

Winner and guests must be 19+ and residing in Ontario, for full Rules & Regulations please visit: http://fido.ly/2fxQofh

For more information and updates, follow the action online at Fido.ca/20years and on the @FidoMobile social channels using #Fido20.

Good Luck!!

xo

@GracieCarroll

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