In a Facebook group I’m in, an 18 year old was feeling stressed and worried about school, work, and life. She asked for some advice and encouragement.
I remembered being that age and worrying about those same things. I thought about what I’ve learned since then, and what I wish I could tell my 18 year old self, if I could.
This is what I’d say:
“Just have fun and keep pursuing your interests, curiosities, and passions.
Nurture your friendships and make new friends too — they’ll help you down the road more than you realize or would expect, and you’ll do that for them too.
Have a plan. A plan shows you a goal or dream is possible. But once you begin your plan, things will change. You’ll meet new people, discover new possibilities, and be given new opportunities you couldn’t have planned or foreseen ahead of time. Go with the flow, adapt, and grow. Keep moving towards your goal or dream. You WILL get there — but probably not the way you expected.
There are no guarantees in life. Don’t put up with bad relationships, bad jobs, or bad living situations for long. Treasure and value the good people, jobs, and homes you do have; let them know you appreciate them. Enjoy the good for however long you have it. And if/when it leaves, it’s healthy to mourn the loss, and when you’re ready, look for something even better to take its place in your life. It’s coming.
Hope is your greatest and most valuable asset. If you ever lose hope (in any area or in general), make it your priority to find new hope again. Without hope, we have nothing. With hope, we can endure great hardships and achieve great dreams.
Be kind and loving to everyone. Yourself, your friends, your boss. Don’t burn bridges (unless you absolutely have to for your own health and safety). You never know where you may want to return, that you once never expected you would.
Everyone’s path is different. Your path will be unique. Follow your heart for guidance on what’s meaningful and will make you happy. Use your brain to figure out the practical logistics of how to make it work.
Keep loving. As you’re doing that, always keep learning and growing. Who you are as a person, as a soul, is what matters in the end. Be successful in what matters.”
That’s what I’d say to my younger self.