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15 Things I Would Tell My 18 Year Old Self

May 26, 2015 5 min read

We all have memories from our teen years that we love to carry around with us, take them out and look at them once in a while. They make us smile, the connect us to our earlier selves. But, we are just as likely to have memories from the same time period that we'd rather forget completely. The thing to remember is that these memories, all of them, good or bad, help make us who we are at this moment. With this in mind, here are a list of things I would tell my 18 year old self if I were able to reach out and offer her some friendly advice:

1. Forgive

Forgetting may not be an option but forgiving always is. Harboring resentment for that girl who kissed your boyfriend at that party in high school will only hurt you. Holding grudges can stand in the way of your every day functioning. Leave the past in the past.

2. Your parents actually know what they're talking about

Your dad's advice about working hard and saving money or your mom's words of wisdom about dating. It isn't long before it goes from eye roll worthy to words to live by. All too often their advice gets ignored when in hindsight, it would have helped you a lot. Listen to your folks!

3. Don't be afraid to fall, literally or figuratively

Whether it is the 6 inch heals that makes you wobble your way into taking a tumble or that crack in the sidewalk that sends you for a header while out for a jog, dust yourself off and get back up. You will also fall in love. It feels like those dreams that make you feel like you are in free fall then wake you with a start. Love is scary. Embrace it.

4. When you love someone, work for the relationship. Fight for it

Finding love is rarer than you can imagine at 18. If you find someone to love, hold on to them. Don't let something silly stand in the way. Always follow your heart and don't let anyone ever tell you who your significant other should be. Love hard. Love big. But if it isn't reciprocated, know you tried your best and walk away.

5. Study hard, work hard and never dumb yourself down for a guy

Smart is sexy. Really. You may think it is a ridiculous idea. That you have to tone it down to be desirable. There is nothing better than having a brain. Except maybe having the confidence to use that brain. The older you get, the more you'll realize that intelligence is something you want in a man and it is something a man will want in you. It is something you should want for yourself, too. Being smart is wonderful, never give it up.

6. Females should stick together

As Miss Norbury taught us in “Mean Girls, we “have gotto stop calling each other sluts and whores. It just makes it okay for guys to call us sluts and whores.” We all have it hard enough in today's society without turning on one another. Stop with the slut shaming. Where what you want, let other so the same. Be careful out there but live and let live.

7. Confidence is everything

Why are you afraid of public speaking or asking that cute guy for his number? If you think you can do it, odds are you can. Don't compare yourself and resist the urge to examine your flaws. Focus on your redeeming qualities. Be confident in yourself and everything else will flow to you.

8. Your heart will break. Make the best of it

Know that you will always be okay. It is okay to be hurt. Don't let anyone tell you not to be upset, to tell you to get over it. Use this experience to pick up the pieces and move forward. There is someone out there who will never make you cry. Find that person.

9. Show emotions with your whole heart

Love with every bit of yourself. When you're happy, dance. When you're angry, scream. There are no guarantees in life so feel what you feel right now, it is all you have. There are few things in this world as pure as your emotions. Go ahead, be sensitive.

10. Hold your friends close because you will hold your memories even closer

College may seem like a dream village where all your friends live. You are away from home, away from the rules. But it will end. And it will end before you know it. Tell your friends that you love them. Live every moment with them. Have crazy adventures, fill your days as much as you can.

11. A watched pot never boils

You want a boyfriend, so you set out in search of one. Don't. Situations like that can't be sped along and the more attention you pay to it, the more blind you will become to everything else. The ones who deserve your affection most are often the ones who don't get enough credit. Your friends who are there to listen, you parents who were always there to wipe your tears, that guy you friend zoned. Focus on them. What you want will happen in time. Stop looking for happiness, create your own.

12. Know when to put your phone away

Social media can ruin your real life. We don't know when to stop. Live your experiences in the present. Not through photos you share on Instagram. Turn your phone off. Talk to the people right in front of you.

13. Exercise, eat well, take care of your body

You only get one body and your 40 year old self will be very happy if you're good to the body now. Drink water. Eat your veggies. Go to the gym. Start there.

14. But some junk food won't kill you

Pizza isn't poison. You're still beautiful, even if you aren't a size 2. If you're thighs touch, that's okay too. Your metabolism will slow as you age so enjoy these diet cheat moments.

15. Keep your personal life personal

If you put your business all over social media, it is no longer yours. What you put on the internet is not always under your control. You can't take it back. Look out for yourself. Be careful what you post. Surround yourself with people you trust. If you could send yourself a message back through time, what would it be? If you could tell your 18 year old self something important, what would you say?

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