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After you have kids, figuring out "who" you are is difficult. The natural inclination is to find the old you-the one from before kids. I find though, that the person I was before kids is irreplaceable. Who I am now can not be the same as who I was before. I am new and different as a mom than I was as a single girl or married woman without kids. Finding the new me has been a journey, but I wouldn't trade it for the world. On this last birthday, I reflected on the advice I would have given myself before kids. It's been almost ten years since that carefree girl was living her life only worried about one person. The following is what I wish she knew back then.

It's been ten years since I turned 27. (See what I did there? I'm making you do a little morning math to figure it out. Crafty huh?) So today, I'm reflecting on what I wish I knew when I was 27 that might have made some of the growing pains a little more mild.

Here are 10,15 things I would tell my 27 year old self if I had the chance:

1. Love your body. Contrary to what you think when you look in a mirror, your boobs are fabulous, your stomach is taut and your hips aren't huge. Love your body now because no matter how hard you work later, after babies and gravity hit, it's never going to look like this again.

2. Credit cards will kill you. No one cares if your clothes are from Bloomingdales or your furniture from Pottery Barn and if they do, you won't be friends for long. Get a hold of your spending. Discover Kohls. Some of those same designers are there and their clothes will make you just as happy and when someone snots on your shoulder, you won't care as much. Target will revolutionize your life and soon, even the cool kids will shop there.

3. Hug your mom. She's maddening at times but she knows a lot about a lot of things that will be very relevant to you (headstrong daughters and professionally ambitious husbands among them) and you have a short amount of time to get all that information out of her. She doesn't like to hug. Make her.

4. All those thousands of CDs you spend hours meticulously categorizing and alphabetizing? Soon they will be in boxes in a basement in New Jersey (we'll get to that later) never to be touched again except for the brief moments when you load them onto a device the size of a deck of cards that will hold all of them. Yes, all of them.(Oh, same with all those books.)

5. As hard as the next few years are, they make you strong and smarter and resilient enough to handle anything. They suck sometimes, but your life is richer for it in the end. So mess up. Make mistakes. Just forgive yourself and know that there is plenty of time to right the ship.

6. Post Partum Depression is real. There is no shame in it. Ask for help.

7. Living near the beach is as amazing as you think it is. Someday you will have a love affair with your town.
It's a glorious feeling.

8. Living near NYC is as amazing as you think it is. It's hard, but you actually can afford it and it's worth the sacrifice.

9. That said, there is time to get there. You are right to stay near your mom for now.

10. Your voice can help other people find theirs. Speak up.

11. Quit trying to convince everyone you know who you are and what you want even though you're young.   They are right. You have no idea.

12. You will one day spend hours writing and people will actually read it. You will have all these people you consider friends even though your conversations are 140 characters and most of their faces are unknown to you. You will count on them for advice no one else can give. You will care about them more than they know. 

13. You saw this past September that awful things can happen in the world. There is more to come, like earthquakes and shootings. It's horrible, but know this: there are more good people than bad and human beings have an amazing capacity to love and help and dream and share. People will constantly humble you with the power they use for good in spite of the awful things in the world.  THAT is the world you will raise your children in.
14. Those girls you loved in high school and college? They are still the best friends in the world and 
Your Kids love their kids

Happy Birthday Kid. The best is yet to come.
This post is adapted from one originally posted on Cristie's blogThe Traveling Circus, where you can find her, usually  writing less philosophical posts and more about reality shows and cake.

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Comment by Stacey Crew on March 16, 2011 at 1:51pm
Thanks for being so candid and sharing your realizations. I went through a similar period in my life where I began assessing just about everything. What was once important no longer mattered and I found joy in simplicity and just being with my family and friends. It's a relief, actually, to no longer have to "keep up" with things that, in the end, don't really matter, which allows us to make lots of space for what is truly important! Thanks again!!


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