Dear 18 year old me,
Your life is going really well right now. Your future is lying in front of you, with endless possibilities and the thoughts of where life may take you are exciting. You feel confident and ready to embark out on your own into adulthood, but there are some thing you need to know.
Believe in yourself, because you really can do whatever you want. You are smart and you are able and you have a good head on your shoulders. Quit second-guessing yourself. You are smart enough, strong enough and independent enough. You can do what you want and you don’t need anyone else’s approval. Don’t listen to the people who tell you that you can’t do something. Often people like that are insecure about their own abilities. Don’t let that negativity bring you down.
And stop comparing yourself to others. You’ll go through most of your twenties being insecure and always feeling like second best. You are unique and beautiful in your own way and it doesn’t matter that you aren’t tall or thin or curvy. You are you and that is enough. You may not see it until you are well into your thirties, but you really are beautiful. And you don’t even mean that in a conceited way. It just means that you can finally look at yourself and be happy with what you see.
Family is everything. They will drive you crazy. Bat shit crazy. They will bug you and get on your case and question your decisions and make you wish that you were born into someone else’s family. But at the end of the day, they are the ones that will cheer you on and pick you up after you fall. You may not always see eye to eye with your parents and sisters but they are your strength, your rocks and the people you will turn to when you feel all alone. Choose your words wisely with them. Even when you are mad make sure to tell them you love them. You can never say those words too often. And when you get a little older and a little more mature, you’ll look back and wonder why you ever argued with them in the first place. Because as times goes on it becomes so crystal clear that your best interest was all they ever cared and worried about.
Boyfriends will come and go. There are things more important in life than having a boyfriend. There are things more important in life than dating a hockey player. It may seem exciting and awesome at the time, but most of those boys will just break your heart. You are worth more than someone who only wants to be with you when it’s convenient for them. You will do great things in your life. Bigger and better things than dating some guy with a cute accent. I know it’s hard to appreciate that at 18 but I promise that real men will come along and treat you well and you’ll wonder what you ever saw in those boys.
Friends are forever. You will make and lose a lot of friends. Friends come to us for a season, a reason or a lifetime. As you get older you may notice your friend pool is getting smaller but the quality of the friendships is getting stronger. Hang on to these strong friendships. These people will stand by your side through everything.
It’s okay to make mistakes. You will screw up a lot. You will make wrong decisions and trust the wrong people and let your guard down and let someone break your heart. You’ll wonder how you ever got into such a mess and how you are going to get out of it but you are strong. And you start to realize at some point that you truly don’t know how strong you are until being strong is the only choice you have.
Don’t forget to smile and enjoy it all. Life is going to throw you curveballs and you’ll wonder how you’re supposed to move forward. But you’ll learn that almost everything that happens to you happens for a reason. It may all seem really random and maybe you don’t understand the reason at the time, but eventually it will all make sense. So relax, breathe, smile and keep moving forward with a positive attitude.
And most of all, never forget who you are and what you stand for. You are a good person. You will make some bad decisions but that doesn’t change the fact that you are a caring, compassionate and loving human being who truly wants to help others and be a friend to people. Sometimes people will take advantage of that. Don’t let that stop you. Keep being who you are because when you put good in the world, you get good back a thousand times over.
I know you won’t actually get to read this 18 year old me, but you will eventually have a daughter who will be 18 and hopefully she can read this someday and take some of this advice and apply it to her own life. And even if she doesn’t that’s okay too. Sometimes we truly just need to figure it out on our own.
Remember to always keep smiling!
Love your 32 year old (older and wiser but still growing and learning) self.