Thursday, October 12, 2017

To My 18 Year Old Self

This past weekend, I went to my high school reunion.  I graduated a l-o-n-g time ago, and I've got the picture to prove it.  Based on my hair, you can probably figure out the era. 
me, with my whole adult life ahead me
Our class prez sent out an email the day before the reunion asking us to think about what we might tell our 18 year old selves today... some little nugget of advice.  I guess she thought in case we needed an ice breaker that could be it.  But I didn't think much about it that day, and I didn't discuss it with anyone that night.

But I've been thinking about it the last few days. 

The funny thing is, I would be a lot more likely to take life advice now than I would have back then.  I thought I had it pretty well figured out then. Now, at least I'm aware that I don't really know anything.

When I went "off" to college, I really didn't go off anywhere.  I went to a college within a 45 minute drive from my parent's house.  I shared a dorm room with a girl that I didn't really know, but that was in highs school with me, so we decided it made sense to room together.  It didn't at all.  And once the second semester rolled around, I moved into a different building and had a new roommate.  My new roommate had a boyfriend, so she was barely ever in our room, day or night.  I had never had to share a room before, so this felt a lot more familiar and comfortable to me.

I chose my college major based on the movie "About Last Night". Demi Moore's character, Debbie,  was in advertising, which was barely even mentioned in the movie. But I liked her clothes and she seemed to have a pretty cool life.  So for a minute, I thought I was going into advertising.  But, just for a minute. As soon as I took a public speaking class, I was out of that major and decided on education instead.

So I'll stop right there and give my little 18 year old self two pieces of advice, so this doesn't become a book... because believe me, it could.  Just based on those previous two paragraphs I would tell her this:

1. GO OFF TO COLLEGE.  Seriously, far, far away.  Get uncomfortable.  Don't rely on your parents for lame stuff like laundry, and don't feel like you can just head back to your childhood room when you don't have cool plans for the weekend. This is your big chance to try living like an adult before you actually have to live totally independently, as an adult! And yeah, you're not great at sharing a small space on a daily basis.  That part, you actually got right!

2. Don't rush to deciding ANYTHING in life. Try a lot of different things before you even thinking about sticking with ONE. I always wanted to feel grown up, and in being in such a hurry to get there, I went about it in very immature ways.  I'm not sure I even feel like a grown up now.  I'm still working on thinking things through and knowing what I really want.

It's the human condition I guess, to seek comfort above all else.  At least for some people.  And for me, I know that to be true.  I just wish someone had told me to have a lot of new experiences during those first several years after high school.  I didn't expand my life as much as I could have, certainly- and it's a regret I have. I know it nurtured my tendency of always taking the path of least resistance. Not the worst thing ever, but if I could do it all over again, those would be just a couple of things I would have liked some encouragement around.

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