18 Things I Wish Someone Told Me When I Was 18

Twiddling my thumbs at work, I was suffering from a serious case of boredom.

It was a Friday and like most New York City offices, Fridays are dead days; co-workers have already placed their “I’m sick and won’t be in today.” calls  (actually it means “screw work, I’m starting my weekend early!”) or everyone has rushed out for an extended lunch break.

Searching for things to do, I couldn’t help but to think of the younger me and how I was in such a rush to be older.  Eager to reach adult life, many days were spent dreaming of the fancy exciting job I would have, all the extreme things I would have done and the rebellious life I would live. No one could ever tell me anything! And now, older me, I spend a good deal of my time volunteering with and mentoring young girls, each day drilling into their heads decent amounts of advice, often receiving reluctant “thank you’s” followed by eye rolls.

(18 year old rebellious me…)

I recalled all the things I wish I knew, the things I would love to tell myself if I could travel back to give the 18-year old me advice. So after some free hours of thinking and deliberating, here are 18 things I wish someone told me when I was 18:

1. Ask Questions – Ask! Ask! Ask! One of the greatest things about life is having the ability to learn and how can you learn if you don’t ask? With every answer comes knowledge – no question is too big or small. So open that little mouth up and speak! “Closed mouths never get fed!”

2. What’s the Worst Someone Can Tell You? ….No? – You never know a outcome unless you go head first for it. Want that internship? Ask. Want to go on that trip? Ask.  And you will hear no at times, but sooooo. A no means nothing unless you give it meaning. So keep on keeping on…those yes’s are coming.

3. Live Below Your Means – Trends go out of style, every last one! (Some may come back…) but not all! Instead of investing in what’s hot now think about the future. You can be comfortable but not wasteful, there is no one to impress. Manage your money wisely…don’t let your money manage you.

4. Smile. – even when there’s nothing to smile about…fake it until you make it! 😀

5. Listen More, Talk Less – A hard head makes for a soft behind. Listen when older folks give you gems of knowledge, they’ve been there and done it ALL before. It may seem annoying at the moment, but hush and listen closely. TRUST, it will all help in the long run.

6. Say NO to Gossip – Gossip eats at the soul and eventually KILLS IT! Talking about someone maybe all giggles in the moment but remember everything comes full circle. Beware of those who gossip with you because trust they will gossip about you. Phrases like, “you didn’t hear this from me…” or “…I’m not suppose to tell you but…” will get you caught in the web, avoid it! *Also, protect your own business…*

7. Everyone isn’t your friend – or doesn’t have to be. Your time is valuable and should be spent with people of value; those who uplift, motivate and believe in you. Girl, just because both of you wear your hair in the same style, like the same song or food…doesn’t mean you are friends! Learn people, it is ok to be associates, a “hey” here or there. Everybody isn’t worthy to be let in.

8. When a person shows you who they are, believe them… –  said by Mama Angelou, “A person will always show you who they are, so pay close attention.” Everyone has a bad day but everyday can’t be bad, take notes. Don’t write a persons cruel behavior off, don’t make excuses for them. If you believe the behavior is unacceptable and the bad treatment is consistent, believe them…they aren’t worth being around.

9. Pray – Praying really does help. Don’t just pray when everything is going downhill, pray all the time. Have discussions with God and be honest. Trust that everything will be ok, put all your doubts, fears, and accomplishments in prayers, everything will and is working in your favor. Let go and let God.

10. Change is Constant, Accept It – One thing in life you can always count on is change. Whether good or bad change always happens and can never be avoided so embrace it. It won’t be easy but change happens for a reason and that reason will always work.

11. Be Disloyal – being disloyal doesn’t mean you’re a bad person, it means you’re looking out for your best interest. Loyalty is an act of being faithful, devoted and dedicated. Not everyone deserves that, hold back a little, don’t give your all right away.

12. Boys will Always be There, Pay them NO Attention – Focus on yourself and your betterment. Guys will tell you whatever you want to hear to get whatever they want. (…usually whatever they want involves sex) Guard yourself; guard your body with your life! It is something precious and extremely valuable. Allow yourself time to grow, become a woman and when the time is right … everything will fall into place and Prince Charming will arrive. Until then, do you!

13. Don’t be Afraid…Live A Lot – “…well behaved women seldom make history.” Live a little because people die a lot! (in my best Drake voice) Laugh! Enjoy! You have only one life to live! Don’t go out and lose all your morals but do something you always wanted to do; no one wants to be 50+ saying “I wish I would have…” Life is a gift…open it up.

14. No One Owes you ANYTHING! – Hard to believe it, I know! But in order to get what you want you have to work hard. You have to work as hard as you possibly can. Your dedication and hard work will be rewarded not your feeling of entitlement.

15. Practice Healthy Habits – the older you get the slower your metabolism becomes, which means…the harder it will be for you to be fit inside and out. Control your sweet intake, exercise more and make it fun. Prepare your body for the future now, that way it will be easier later. Your body is a temple, treat it as such.

16. Invest In Your Dreams – What do you want? Like, realllllyyyyy want. Take the time each day and build, build up to those dreams. No dream is too small or big, no matter what a “hater” says. No one will ever be as passionate about your dreams as you are, nurture them.

17. Network – it’s not what you know (…not all the time), its who you know. Get to know people! Professors, Classmates, other students outside your class, join social circles, Deans, Friends of Friends, the man/woman who owns the store across the street…EVERYONE. Be sincere, be yourself. Overtime, you will see that the new people you meet will change your life.

18. Don’t Worry – It is impossible to predict the future so why spend time trying to predict it? Using precious moments of each day worrying about things you can’t control is useless. Learn to go with the flow, nothing can be changed.

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