Inspiration Through Gratitude
In life, you have to suffer through challenges and failures but hopefully grow as a result from enduring them. There is plenty of advice being offered all around us when growing up, but when we are young, we are predisposed to often tuning it out.
While I have compiled here 9 nuggets of advice to relay to my 18-year-old self, this perspective can most likely only be learned over time and through actual life experience.
Putting aside the current limitations of time travel, if I was somehow able to bestow all of these suggestions to my 18-year-old self, I am not sure it would have made a bit of difference in my life. Words and suggestions can help guide and cajole, but life experience is indeed the ultimate teacher.
Perhaps this list is just an expression of gratitude for where I am at in life right now in comparison to my younger self. I am nowhere near a finished and perfected product as a human being but I am living life with more intention.
Maybe this list of advice is best served as a guidepost to help me in parenting my young son through his pending challenges and struggles in life, which he will undoubtedly face.
Either way, this type of reflection seems to help clarify my values today and keep me rooted on a path towards continued progression.
Here are The 9 Things I Would Tell My 18-Year-Old Self:
Party, have fun, and enjoy life, but know it is truly about the people and the experiences. Do not conflate alcohol with the reason for any of your good times.
You can trust your parents with anything and everything. It is ok to open up to them and share your life with them.
That feeling in your gut, the nervous butterflies, is not always a signal to run away from something. Sometimes, perhaps even quite often, it is an indication of something rewarding and fulfilling that is awaiting you.
You will suffer loss. Some of those who pass will be close to you and it will be well before their time. It will be classmates, peers, and close family. It can and will be jarring. You will be changed profoundly. You will get through it, but do not try to go around it. Be vulnerable and go through the hurt.
You are ok dating and being casual with relationships throughout your twenties. You can break up with a serious girlfriend. It is all good life experience. When you are ready to settle down with a partner, you will be ready and committed for life.
Therapy is nothing to be scared or ashamed of. It is empowering and it will change your life dramatically. Start the process now.
Music really is as important and powerful as it feels to you right now.
Be aware and informed of world events, but never feel scared or disempowered by any of the stuff going on out there. There will be stuff going on out there for the rest of your life.
Humanity is inspiring, hopeful, helpful, and well intentioned. Individual people can and do suck at times. Focus on the former and do not get hung up on the latter.
If you could miraculously go back and visit your 18-year-old self what is the one piece of advice you would give? Please comment. We would love to hear from you.