As a 27 year old at the Christmas table this year I suddenly felt old enough to give all of the annoying advice I hated hearing at 18.
I say this all the time, and I’m sure its not a novel idea – but there’s some creepy side of me that wishes I could go back to 2006 and coach myself through those younger years filled with confusion, self exploration and that rough realization that this world is HUGE and we are SMALL.
I know I can’t go back to Cap in 2006, but I’m gonna make you suffer through what I’d tell her anyway…
Just look at me as that annoying Aunt whose place card you keep moving around the table because you’re sick of hearing her talk.
1 – You don’t have to know what you want to do with your life. For some reason, when you’re 18 years old, people have this annoying habit of asking what you plan on doing with the rest of your life. I get it. I do it too. Its an easy line that fills awkward air time when grown ups really don’t know how to communicate with teens, but its pointless. YOU’RE 18! You’re basically 1/6th of the way through your life and there’s no reason for you to know what you plan on doing with the rest of it. What you want to do is going to change. You are going to change. So just ride that shit out until you find something that starts to make sense.
2 – EXPLORE with intent. If you are interested in something, find out how to learn more about it. If you have a moment on a beach with kites and become awestruck by how they withstand the wind… find a class that teaches you how to build one. If you think painting is cool – buy paint brushes. If you want to be an actor – find acting classes. One of my biggest pet peeves is seeing people sit back and wait for things to happen to them. No one is out searching for the meaning of your life. TRUST ME. You have to find it yourself.
3 – Grownups don’t know everything. (I know, I know… my momma raised me better than that)
For #realz tho. Maybe its a Southern thing, but I was raised to respect my elders and take their word as gold. DON’T DO THAT. Just because someone has a few years on you doesn’t instantly mean they know what’s best. Age doesn’t make you wise. You are the only person that truly knows where you should be and what you should be doing. If we only listened to war vets we’d be a culture of brute teens with chips on our shoulders. The beauty of being young is being naive. STAY THAT WAY.
4 – It’s okay to be wrong. I’m sure you’ve heard this before, but #lyfe is pretty intense. The likelihood of you getting it right the first time is like none. You’re going to mess up. You’re going to wish you could have a redo. You’re going to regret. You’re going to be disappointed. The good news – you’re the only one who harps on it. LET IT GO. No one is holding your mistakes against you.
5 – Listen to EVERYONE. I’m not saying you’ll come across the next Ghandi in your search of finding yourself, but I promise you’ll learn a lot from people if you listen to their experiences. There’s no way to personally experience all of life’s possibilities. Learn from others mistakes so you don’t have to go through the same junk. You’ll advance faster that way.
And remember, Sometimes life isn’t about learning what to do, but more about learning what not to do.