Dear 18 Year Old Me:
If I had known that I’d be writing to you from your future, I would have paid more attention to the winning lottery numbers. Then we would be rich!
Before writing this, I had a LOT to say. But now that I’ve started, I’m second guessing myself. I’m scared I will start to sound like the people we refused to listen to—despite their good intentions.
Before you roll your eyes and dismiss me, I’ll hook you in with shocking news: you’ll drop out of university before your next birthday. Soon after, you’ll find yourself crying most nights, without your family or friends to comfort you. Was that enough to get your attention? Good. Now to keep your near future exciting, I won’t give you any details, but here are a few things that might help you along the way.
7 THINGS I WISH I KNEW AT 18:
- Nothing worthwhile comes easy. One of these days, someone you have high regards for will tell you this. Of course you—we— will refuse to listen to it but one day, you’ll believe in it and make it your mantra. So stop being naive; stop being stubborn. Instead, work hard. Then when you think you’ve worked hard enough, work even harder.
- Learn to fail gracefully. You were lucky and hardworking enough not to experience failure early in life, but now you’re finally face to face with your first big failure. Own it. Learn as much as you can from it. Then, move on.
- Stay resilient. Because we are stubborn and always insist on doing things our way, there will be a lot of hurdles. That’s okay! Just find it in yourself to get up each time.
- Enjoy the journey. You–we–were never one to live in the present. We are dreamers who constantly daydream about the future and draw up our plans. There’s nothing wrong with planning for the future, just remember to be in the moment. Those moments don’t last forever. If there’s anything you will ever come to regret, it’s how you rarely stopped long enough to enjoy what’s in front of you.
- Learn to be patient. As of today, you haven’t learned to be patient. While we’ve heard of “patience is a virtue” since we were a little kid, patience has proven itself to be a very elusive virtue.
- Don’t take yourself too seriously. Learn to shake things off and not blow things out of proportion. Learn to laugh at yourself. Get the *bleep* over yourself and quit trying to be perfect. Instead, learn to own your shortcomings and invest in your strengths.
- You don’t need to know what to do with the rest of your life. This is the time to explore and actually get to know yourself( This is not to be confused with a total lack of plans and sense direction)! Re-read #5.
I wanted to write to give you a shit ton of advice—a roadmap of sorts so that I, right now, might have an easier and less uncertain life. But you know what, as I look back at everything we’ve been through, I think you—we—are doing just fine. You will only make more mistakes, take more missteps and encounter a few more setbacks, but that’s fine. Everything we’ve been through helped us grow up a little bit; it helped shape who we are… and all things considered, we’re still pretty awesome.
—25 Year Old You
P.S. This might be disappointing but we are not (yet) a CEO. However, you should be happy to know that we didn’t grow up to be an alcoholic. Yup, your liver and kidneys are still functioning.