October 20, 2014

15 things I wish I knew when I was 18

Last weekend I wrote a letter to my little sister – part of my family-by-choice not family-by-blood – who's graduating from high school in June. The letter was given to her at a special rite-of-passage type event at her school.

As I sorted out what I wanted to write, I reflected on the past ten years. Because, yes, I'm already ten years out of high school. How did I get so old so soon?  I decided to write her a list of all the things I wished I knew at her age with the hope that it'll put her a little farther ahead of where I was back then. I'm pretty confident this is already the case. 

Here are a few things I wish I knew when I was eighteen:

  1. Guys in romantic comedies aren't accurate depictions of real-life guys because most of those movies are written by women. 
  2. Dating is fun. Never go on a second date if you hear alarm bells on the first. (Or if you're bored.)
  3. Our culture seems to push the idea that our time and energy needs to be focused on making our weaknesses stronger. Use all that time and energy building up your strengths instead because...
  4. The world needs more people who know what they're good at and who are out there doing it. (That's where the magic happens.)
  5. People have a way of circling back through your life, even if not by your choice. Do what you can to leave things in a good place.
  6. Being honest and "owning your stuff" is always easier than trying to cover your butt.
  7. Steer clear of smoking, drugs, people who drain you, saturated fats and bad life choices.
  8. No one knows what numbers or letters it takes to clothe your body. Find what fits, flatters and makes you feel fabulous. (Also: Steer clear of girls who like to compare those things.)
  9. Friendships shift and change. You'll make more. Others will drift away. You'll be able to share more with some; others require more listening. There's a place for all of them. (Unless they're toxic. Then run.)
  10. No one else is responsible for your happiness.
  11. Don't expect things of people you aren't willing to offer first (or in return)
  12. University can feel like a hassle, an obstacle in between where you are and where you want to be. Don't take it for granted or stay so focused on the finish line that you miss everything good happening in the moment.
  13. Enjoy being single. Have lots of fun and adventures when your schedule is still only yours. Marriage isn't the be all and end all – just different. Enjoy wherever you're at for however long you're there.
  14. Take all of the advice you receive graciously. Let it sit and mull it over before deciding what you want to keep and what you want to toss out.
  15. No matter what you want to do, everyone starts at square one. Work hard, learn lots, and take advantage of opportunities that come your way. You'll get there even if it's on a different path than you initially expected.
Any one else with me?  Is there anything you'd add to the list?


  1. This is great! Even at 24 these are things I need to be reminded of.

  2. Thanks Kat!

    Truth be told, I'm still figuring some of them out at 27. :)

  3. This comment has been removed by the author.


Would love to hear what you think!

(Remember, keep it kind and constructive.)