11 Things I Wish Someone Told Me When I Was 18

18 is a wonderful age, you’ve just stepped into adulthood and cannot wait to explore the real world. Its a age where you make most important decisions related to your life related to your future. But that doesn’t mean 18-year-olds need to decide everything they’re going to do or who they’re going to be. I think we all have wishes that if we could go back, back to the times that felt like the end of the world and tell ourselves that there are greater things out there, we would. But long live the moments we can’t get back and the time some may say that we “wasted.”

If I could go back in time, this is what I would tell my 18-year-old self.

1. All those things you want to do? Do them now, you’ll never have the time later.

Either you’re going to take action and seize new opportunities, or someone else will first. You can’t change anything or make any sort of progress by sitting back and thinking about it. Remember, there’s a huge difference between knowing how to do something and actually doing it. Knowledge is basically useless without action.

2. Your self worth cannot and will not ever be defined by a number.

Be that a grade, your weight, how many people you’ve hooked up with, anything. You are human, that’s something that cannot be restricted to anything as limiting as a number or even a few words. You are whole and beautiful and wonderful.

3. Relax, hard things always pass over time.

As a youngster it’s easy to get carried away by an unfortunate circumstance. The dramatic part of your brain will think this negative situation is permanent, impossible to solve. Truth disagrees. It’ll tell you that time is always moving forward. If you’re having a hard time getting the attention of someone you like, feeling homesick at college, or failing to get the jobs you worked hard for, relax and remember all difficult moments will pass. Hang in there and don’t ever give up on life. The good news is strength comes from overcoming the struggles life throws at you.

4. There’s so much more to life than parties.

It’s perfectly acceptable to stay at home on a Friday or Saturday night (or both!!!), it’s fine not to go to a single party in your high school years if that’s not your thing. Honestly, the ‘live while you’re young’ thing is a little overrated anyway.

5. Failure leads to success.

Every successful person you know has failed along the way, that is how they became a success. It is part of the process in fact. If you asked every single one of them to take their resume and create a mirror that shows the “side B” of how they failed in each of those jobs I bet they could do it & they would probably tell you that they learned the most in those jobs when the “failed.” Everyone has a side B. I believe when you learn it is not really a failure at all.

6. Carefully choose who you take advice from.

People love giving advice. But here’s the thing: People don’t give advice based on who you are, but on who they are. If someone had a great experience starting a business, they’re likely to encourage you to do the same. However, if someone had a horrible experience with the same thing, they’re likely to, perhaps not discourage you, but at least point out things that can go wrong.

7. High school is not everything.

The college you attend doesn’t matter as much as you think it does, UNLESS it’s truly a top 10 program at a top 10 university. When you get in the working world you’ll realize people are from all over and the work that you do speaks significantly louder than a certificate on your wall. You see, after high school, no one will remember what you wore or the grade you got in geometry. There is a life outside of high school, and in this life, no one cares who you were in high school.

8. Invest time, energy, and money in yourself every day.

When you invest in yourself, you can never lose, and over time, you will change the trajectory of your life. You are simply the product of what you know. The more time, energy, and money you spend acquiring pertinent knowledge, the more control you have over your life.

9. You don’t need to know your passion.

“Follow your passion.” How many times have you heard this message and thought to yourself. But you don’t know what your passion is. That’s totally fine. Yeah that’s ok. If you know your passion, that’s great. If not, don’t worry. Instead of focusing your attention on finding your passion, start following your curiosity. Just like a scavenger hunt, what pokes your curiosity is the next clue. And like Elizabeth Gilbert perfectly laid it out: “If you can let go of ‘passion’ and follow your curiosity, your curiosity just might lead you to your passion.”

10. People are not mind readers. Tell them what you’re thinking.

People will never know how you feel unless you tell them. Your boss? Yeah, he doesn’t know you’re hoping for a promotion because you haven’t told him yet. That cute girl you haven’t talked to because you’re too shy? Yeah, you guessed it; she hasn’t given you the time of day simply because you haven’t given her the time of day either. In life, you have to communicate with others. And often, you have to open your vocal cords and speak the first words. You have to tell people what you’re thinking. It’s as simple as that.

11. Friends come and go, but family is forever.

Look, you’re 18 and are convinced you’re too cool for school. The reality is you wouldn’t be much without your parent’s, their love, and their financial support. So when you’re off at college, give your mom and dad a call every week. Take them out to dinner when you go home for some quality time. Also, make an intentional effort to hang out with your siblings. These are the people who have your back through thick and thin, so don’t ignore them when life’s good. It might be weird at first, but eventually you’ll cherish the time together because when you get older life gets busy and there’s less time to go around.

Above all, just enjoy this time. It may suck at times but that doesn’t change the fact that you’ll never be as young as you are at this very moment in time. Don’t take it too seriously, or let it get to you because you’re going places, baby, and this is just the prequel, the front page, the intro. You have your entire life ahead of you.

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