Everything I wish 18-year-old me knew

Hey you,

I know about 4 years have passed, I know I’m not you anymore but I’m sitting here at 22 wanting to show up and knock on your door.

I want to tell you you’re at your prime and the next four years will be amazing, if you let them be. I know you’re going to get hurt, I know you’re going to get bad grades and I know you’re going to get betrayed but I also know that you are going to travel a lot, laugh till your stomach hurts, land really amazing work opportunities, and ultimately, find yourself. I promise.

I want to tell you that moving three hours away from home will be scary, but it will be so worth it when you choose a life that’s about you and no one else. You have no idea how wonderful the people you’re about to meet are. They will be nothing like the people you know back home, and that’s not a bad thing or a good thing. It will just be different. You have no idea that they’re the reason you will finally feel so comfortable in your own skin. You’ll learn that people love you now as much as they loved you when you were 12, and if not – they love you even more. You’re kind, you’re patient, you’re funny and you are unbelievably strong. You’ve made it through those teen years that you and I both know they were the worst as much as they were the best.

I want to tell you that your best friends are going to be your best friends still, so don’t worry about that at all. You have good judgement, you have good values – it shows in who you’ve surrounded yourself with over the years. 

So don’t listen to that girl who says those mean things about you, she’s going to be the one who loses in the end. Take that shy girl under your wing, you’ll need each other more than you know.

I want to tell you it’s okay to cry. I know you’re trying to be strong, but little do you know how much it will all catch up to you. You should really start being more honest with yourself, more honest with who you are, and who you want to be because guess what? No one who truly cares, will care what you choose. So go out there and do whatever it is you want.

I want to tell you that school is important. But knowing what you love to do is just as important. Don’t choose the major based on what’s recommended, choose what your heart says. You’re going to get a job, you’re going to rock the party at 21 at all those interviews. You’re smart. Stop selling yourself short. Also, you know how to write… did you ever realize how much you love it? Did you ever realize how much your word actually does matter?

I want you to know that you you’re about to fall in love and it is going to be one hell of a ride – just go with it. You have a lot to learn from him and he will learn a lot from you too. Just don’t plan a life together without knowing what yours holds first.

I want to tell you that your parents are actually really good people. They’re going to understand, if you let them. Your dad has set your standards high, he’s always been your best friend. Your mom can be too if you let her and learn to accept her for who she is. You family is overall very supportive of you, so keep calling your grandparents and make sure you continue those Sunday night dinners because before you know it – your grandfather will be gone and you and I both know he means the world to you.

Your sister looks up to you and your brother will come to you for support. Remember you were only their age not that long ago and that you can offer valued insights.

Be careful when you drive. I’m serious. You’re always in a rush… quit procrastinating everything because you’ll only put yourself behind.

I want to say that you are truly the life of the party. But please continue to be careful. Put your damn phone away. Stop waiting on that text, stop sending those texts and truly, honestly, live in the moment that life is offering you right then and there. Keep taking pictures, you’ll look at them a lot and you will laugh at how much fun you had.

I want to say this too. You don’t know everything, you’re going to eventually question it all. Home will not always feel like home and school will not always feel like home either. You’re going to have to learn to balance. But right now, don’t take it all so seriously. I know you like answers, I know you like security and a plan, but girl – don’t take the fun out of these years by trying to have all of it at once.

Please don’t be so hard on yourself, love yourself, be kind, be gentle and understand you’re only human. You’re going to learn a lot in the next few years. You’re going to win and you’re going to lose. Whichever path you end up on, stay humble, stay grateful and never stoop to a lower level just because someone else is. You’re better than you know and life is only going to go up from here. Trust the process, trust your gut and good luck. You won’t need it.

Love,

You at 22.

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