Feels like forever ago now, but 18 was just around the corner (for some of us). Looking back, there's a lot of things I wish someone told me had I actually listened to the advice. Because you see, we all go through the same mistakes in different periods of our lives, and sometimes all we need is a little push to keep going...
My sister is turning 18 this year, which made me stop and think for a second - to when I turned 18. Wasn't that long ago, but it sure feels like it. That's because your 20's shape who you really are, and every year feels like a milestone. So I give her this list, and I hope that she will be wiser than I was once upon a time...
1. Just go with it.
More than half of students who enter University, end up changing their major by the second or third year. Or you'll even get a business degree, and realize you want to become a photographer. That's okay. Don't stress too much about not knowing what you want to do in life, it'll come to you at an unexpected moment. Just go with it.
2. This won't matter in five years from now.
Whenever you are faced with a situation, always ask yourself: will this matter in five years? Most of our day to day problems that seem like the end of the world, don't even matter in a week from now. So whatever you're going through - remember: it will pass too.
3. True friends will stick around through the bullsh!t.
Now that you're entering College, you'll realize that you will make new friends - and the people that you thought would be your BFF, won't necessarily stick around. That's fine. The ones who do are the ones you need to keep in your life - the rest were transitional friends. There are millions of people in this city, you're bound to make new friends.
4. Take advantage of your resources.
Get informed. Go see academic advisors, financial consultants, get a mentor. You are at the age where people want to help you. Don't be scared to ask for it.
5. Don't worry about it too much.
Some things are just not meant to be.
6. Save now, party later.
And if you do party, do it within your means. Don't spend money you don't have to impress people you don't even like. Your money today, if invested, will make you a lot more money when you get to your late 20's. Spend this time to build your foundation, so you can retire early and party in ways you won't be able to at this age anyways.
7. Spend 20 minutes each day in reflection.
Of your mind, body, and soul. Some call it meditating, I call it re-booting your brain. Sit down and write a list of goals, short and long term. What do you want to accomplish by next week? Next month? Next five years? Go back and change those goals to adapt them to your current situation. Use this time to think, reflect, plan and most importantly dream. Most of your creative thinking comes from moments of silence (or in the shower) make sure you use this time productively.
8. Make mistakes.
Lots of them, and different ones. A mistake repeated more than once is not a mistake - it's a choice. It's the only way you'll grow, mature, and figure out what exactly it is that you want.
9. Be who you want to be, no matter what that looks like to others.
You're at the age where you're starting to build your own voice. Your lifestyle choices, wether that be who you want to date, where you want to get pierced, or what you want to wear - is up to you. Don't get influenced by other's opinions. That's all they are - opinions. Believe in your own first, intuition never lies.
10. True happiness isn't a final stop, it's a journey.
When you look back at your life up to now, you'll find times when you were miserably sad, and others when you were incredibly happy. Being happy is a constant chase. Live in the moment, cherish the memories and do what makes you happy. Don't chase temporary happiness, it'll never last. You want it for the long run.
11. Ask questions. You don't know anything yet.
Even though you think you know it all, you don't. You haven't lived yet. Perfect example is to look at the adults in your life - they've got over 20 years of experience over you, and they still get it wrong sometimes. So don't be afraid to ask questions. Remember that you don't know what you don't know. As the saying goes, stay hungry, stay foolish.
12. Don't get yourself into debt.
Especially credit card debt. It might be tempting that the second you turn 18, banks are throwing credit at you- but that's not necessarily a good thing. Think about it for a second: why would they be so reluctant to giving an 18 year old, with a part time job, a credit limit of $2,000? Because the interest build up on $2,000 can amount to $400 a year. They're making money on you, and you're too busy buying new boots to realize you're getting royally screwed. Don't fall into the trap. Unless, of course you know how to manage your money, but temptation usually gets to the best of us at this age.
13. Your past does not predict your future.
It's in the past for a reason. The only thing you can do is make sure that you don't repeat history.
14. Surround yourself with good people.
Tell me who your friends are, and i'll tell you who you are. You're not in high school anymore. You're not forced to spend an entire day with the same people. Make other friends. Hang out with people who are driven by the same things you are. Keep your entourage close, and make sure it's a good one.
15. Carbs and sugar are gross - try to avoid them now.
Get into the habit of "eat clean, train dirty". The sooner your mentality changes from eating after midnight, putting 5 sugar packs in your coffee, or drinking soft drinks, the healthier you'll be. Drink lots of water, stay away from useless carbs, and drink tea with lemon in the morning. You'll notice a significant difference between your lifestyle before and after these changes.
16. You'll fall in love again.
I promise. Although your relationships feel like everything now, sometimes things don't last forever and people don't stay. That's okay too. As long as you live and learn, and don't repeat the same mistakes. Some people were meant to come into your life, to show you what you don't want.
17. Act like you know what you're doing at all times.
You can do anything you set your mind to. Building confidence will only help you get ahead of the next guy. People smell confidence from a mile away - so make sure you reek of it.
18. You're about to begin a great journey - enjoy the ride.
And lastly, remember to enjoy these moments. Build memories, friendships, adventures, you'll never forget. One day you'll look back at your life - make sure it's a story worth telling.