A post about advice and having the grace to accept it.
I’m at this point in my life where people are constantly giving me advice. Which I understand is just a part of being 22 years old. I have almost no life experience. Yes, I have had some cool experiences in my life, I’ve traveled to some cool places, I’ve met some cool people, I went to college, but I’m now making decisions and embarking on adventures for which I have no concept. I’ve reached the end of the road map. All of my work in high school was to get to college and all of my work in college was to get to the “real world”—whatever that means.
Apparently, I’ve decided that the “real world” means moving to Ukraine for 27 months. I am perfectly alright with that being the next step in my life. I made this decision about a month ago and it comes up in almost every conversation I have these days. Let me walk you through an example conversation; let’s say this one is with a stranger…
Stranger: What grade are you in?
Me: I actually just graduated from college haha
Stranger: What? (Attempts to recover from low-key telling me I look like I’m 17…) what did you study?
Stranger: Some kind of question related to having a “grown up” job or something…
Me: I’m actually leaving in September for the Peace Corps, I’ll be teaching English in Ukraine for 27 months (this usually comes out over a few more questions, but I’m saving us all some time)
Stranger: What do your parents think about that?
Me: I think they’re excited…? (Eddie, Kari, feel free to chime in here…)
Stranger: Well, you know…*INSERT ADVICE HERE*
Now, we are getting to the interesting part! The whole point of this was to get to the advice and whatnot and we’re finally here!
I get advice from absolutely everyone, about language, culture and safety in particular when it comes to the Peace Corps, but I’m sure every college student or recent college grad can relate to getting advice about the future from everyone you happen to mention school to.
Before we get too far, as if we’re not far enough already, I would like to mention that I do not mean to sound ungrateful. I’m sure my parents would be the first to tell you that I am not great at receiving advice. I’ve always been a bit headstrong and certain in my own abilities, which have led to my own struggles and failures all over the place. My way always seemed like the best way.
The idea of advice is interesting. A dictionary definition gives us this: “guidance or recommendations concerning prudent future action, typically given by someone regarded as knowledgeable or authoritative.”
Advice is something that is so important. Having the opportunity to hear from someone with more experience or knowledge than you is imperative to success. In preparation for this blog post, I reached out on my social media accounts to see what people thought the best piece of advice that they had received was. I got a variety of responses, each was interesting and insightful.
I’ve included some of those responses illustrated throughout the text. Reading those got me thinking about all of the advice I have received, over the years and over the last few months as I’ve made decisions about my future. It got me thinking about what the best piece of advice I have ever received was.
When I was in kindergarten and learning to write it was “Practice makes perfect and perfect practice makes perfect.” Playing soccer gave me platitudes like “Offense wins games, defense wins championships.” I got plenty of advice over the years from my parents, there are so many things I can’t remember, things I know I’ll wish I could remember.
I used to resent advice, especially in my angst-filled, teenage years, when I probably needed it the most. It felt annoying at best, condescending at worst. I no longer think that and I’d like to think it’s a sign of some growth. My favorite piece of advice right now is also the title of this piece.
“Don’t go falling in love with any handsome Ukrainian men” is advice with a wink and a smile. It’s one of the many pieces of advice that I have begun to collect and truly reflect on. While this piece of advice might seem silly, the idea of truly reflecting on and considering the advice that I am given is something that has become important to me.
To me, “Don’t go falling in love with any handsome Ukrainian men” isn’t just telling me to be careful with my love life overseas, to protect my heart; it’s also telling me to remember my family. It’s telling me to take them into consideration when making decisions about my future, and that is something that is truly important to me.
So, if you’ve made it to the end of this rambling post with me, I’d love to hear from you. What is the best piece of advice you’ve received and what does it mean to you?