Yesterday, I found a beautifully filmed video on Teen Vogue‘s channel, featuring Game of Throne‘s Emilia Clarke. In this video, she addresses her 18 year old self with emotional advice. „From her career, to dating, to school, to family, and everything in between, Emilia reveals what she wishes she knew at that formative age.“
That got me thinking as to what I would want to tell myself a decade later. I personally very much enjoy listening to and reading about people‘s personal development. It helps me learn from their experiences without necessarily going through the whole progress myself. I imagine it‘s like getting advice from an older sibling. So I decided to sit down and reflect on the most valuable things I‘ve learned in the past ten years.
18 is an age you‘ve so far regarded as a very special age. Like the world is going to suddenly change because you‘re now officially an adult. Rest assured, being legally adult really does change a lot. But what it changes most is your self-perception. And don‘t worry, ten years later you have not been confronted with any legal issues. Here are a few advices I‘d like to give you. You will learn them in time by yourself, but knowing them a little earlier would have made quite a few things a lot easier.
– Look forward to this time. Your life so far has lacked a lot of experience and you know it. Instead of feeling bad about yourself and the little you know, strive to learn, strive to travel, strive to develop. There is no use in feeling bad about yourself. In ten years time, you will have seen things and done things that you‘d never have dreamed of. Seriously, never. Some will be good and some will be bad, but all of them will turn you into a new version of yourself that you‘d have never expected to become. So cheers to that.
– That job you‘re preparing for, at the police, it‘s not going to work out. No matter how much you train with that sports team, you‘re not going to get the job. And it will leave you devastated and it will leave you without disoriented but it will also make way for a new path, which is going to be different from the choices your friends will make.
– Don’t focus on the path that promises you a supposedly safe career. Instead, do your own thing. You will soon finish school and after finding out that the police won‘t offer you a job, you‘re going be torn between choosing a study subject that you actually enjoy and one that many people tell you will be a safe bet after graduating. And you‘ll try to be smart and make a compromise. So you‘ll study Cultural Studies and Economy, but you know what: you‘ll be terribly bad at Economy. You‘re going to be so bad that they‘ll nearly throw you out until 2.5 rubbish years later you quit. And it’s going to be a terrible waste of time and energy and money. So focus on the subjects you love. Out of that love, you‘ll be able to create your own, unique future which will not only give you safety but also joy.
– Use sunscreen.
– Don‘t invest in friendships that take away your energy or hurt you. When people like each other and enjoy each other‘s company, they become friends. And ideally, these friendships are equal and mutual and you give and you take and that‘s fine. But sometimes, despite liking the person you‘re confronted with, seeing them will actually make you feel alone, or inferior, or you may even stop liking yourself. That‘s because some people take more than they give and they may take so much from you that you‘ll be confronted with an unfillable hole that, no matter how much you give, will only end up asking for more. You‘ll have to learn to let these people go to do good for yourself.
– Invest in good shoes. Good shoes will bring you anywhere and treat your feet way better than those cheap ballerina thingys you tend to buy. Because some boots weren’t made for walking.
– Stay in touch with your loved ones. Even if the distance may sometimes be long and the language barrier may make some things more difficult. Just hug them, every day. In three years, someone you love so, so dearly is going to die. And it will be the most painful experience in your life so far and there is no other way to go through it but feel every little pinch of it.
– Don‘t starve yourself for supposed beauty ideals and stop reading those b*llshit magazines. Because it‘s useless and it‘s vain and it‘s not going to get you anywhere. Grab the snacks you like, work out as much as you like, just listen to what makes your body feel best. And you know what? You don‘t know it yet, but no matter how much you eat, how much you stuff yourself full with those delicious burgers and fries and icecreams: you won‘t get chubby. So grab that Sandwich, gurrl.
– Don‘t be jealous. It‘s a useless waste of energy. *
*Except for that one guy you‘ll start dating in five years, because he‘s going to cheat on you with his secretary.
– Speaking of which: You can stay single for a while. Actually, you should really try to stay single for a while.
– Don‘t let outer appearances and arrogant behaviour impress you. In fact, people who don‘t have the urge to impress you are the ones you should be impressed by most. Because most people with power, intelligence or wealth don‘t have the need to proof themselves to others anymore.
– 30 really is the new twenty. So instead of thinking that in three years time you‘re going to age horribly, get the wobbly body of an old person and don’t dare to leave the house anymore, chillax. I can tell you, not many things have changed ten years later. And even if they do: Ain‘t nothin‘ wrong with a nice set of cleavage.
Dear me: chin up, you‘re going to have a blast. The next ten years will be an emotional roller-coaster-ride. It‘s going to be Legen – wait for it – DARY!
Oh, and don‘t overpluck your eyebrows.
What would you like to tell your 18 year old self if you could? What are the most valuable life-lessons you’ve experienced since turning 18? I’d love to hear your personal advices, too. Feel free to share in the comment section or leave a link hinting to your own story.