If I ever have the opportunity to speak to young women, I would emphasize the importance of their self development. Save the love and relationships for a later time. Spend your youth developing yourself as a person. Travel the world. Try new food. Speak a foreign language. Explore a new hobby. Live your life on your own terms without outside influences.

We focus too much on love & relationships. In many cases, pregnancy happens before a woman is even sure of who she is as a person. It takes some time to figure out your boundaries and to understand your own ideologies. Family expectations along with the societal norms often dictate more than what makes us comfortable. You have the right to make decisions for yourself on your terms.

Try to avoid the trap of making sure other people are comfortable before yourself. Do not be so quick to run to the rescue for everyone. You do not always have to be available. There are users and abusers everywhere. Some are in your family while others call themselves your friends. Every now and again it is important to take a look at your relationships and question why certain people are present in your life. If you do not have a suitable response, it is time to do some housecleaning. The back burner is a perfectly acceptable position for certain personalities, blood or otherwise.

As I reflect on the last 40 something years, I consider myself fortunate to have had my thirties to myself. It seems as if the most chaos has transpired due to my private life. Other people bring their issues to relationships and they often spill over. Do not ignore red flags. At the first sight of the passionate color, take yourself hostage and run for the hills. Red flags do not stop waving; they simply become larger. If something makes you feel uncomfortable, do not remain silent. You are allowed to leave any situation that you find unworthy of your presence. Some people will not know how to treat you because they do not know how to treat themselves. You will learn not to take it personally.

Last but certainly not least, keep a variety of people in your cell phone. What do I mean by that? Therapist, cleaning lady, seamstress, and car wash guy are good examples. You need resources at your fingertips to help you in life. You can conquer the world but if you plan to enjoy it, you may want some support other than your tribe. When I think about my TED TALK for the younger generation, this is what I would discuss over a cup of chai….