When I was 18 years old, you couldn’t tell me anything! I was grown and I knew everything about pretty much everything. Oh how laughable that is now! When they say hindsight is 20/20, they couldn’t be anymore correct! I don’t know if it’s my ten year High School reunion quickly approaching, or that my 20’s are going to be coming to an end, but I have been doing some serious reflecting lately. Although I wouldn’t say I have any regrets about the last ten years of life, because ultimately they lead me to where I am now, I would definitely tweak a few things if I ever had the chance. Those tweaks are listed below in a letter to my 18-year-old self.
Dear 18-year-old Leigha,
Don’t Be Such a Bitch.
You know the expression, “I thought you were such a bitch before I got to know you”? Yeah well it definitely applied to me, except that a lot of people still thought I was a bitch even after they got to know me. I honestly don’t know why I was so mean at 18. Sometimes I think it was attributed to growing up in a home where anger was an easily expressed emotion, so I behaved the same. But then other times I think it was just because I had a sour attitude and needed to grow up. Regardless, my first advice to little miss sassy brat, is don’t be such a bitch. The things that are making you angry now won’t even matter in a few years. Like, the boy who was sleeping with his ex-girlfriend the whole time he was dating you. He really isn’t worth the anger that causes you to strangle him in-between classes in front of the whole school (guilty). And the girls that you and all your friends swear you HATE, are actually going to turn out to be respectable people that you don’t even have a problem with. So don’t stress everything as much, and don’t be so ugly! You’re going to soon learn that your favorite people in life are the genuinely kind and compassionate ones, not the bitchy ones.
Don’t Date for at Least the Next FIVE Years.
Trust me on this one girlfriend. You will save yourself from some bad heart breaks and SO much wasted time. Now, I know every relationship is a learning experience; learning what you do and don’t want in a partner, learning what you will and will not give to a partner, and ultimately learning the type of relationship you want to strive for. However, I think learning all of those things closer to your mid-twenties is the better route. Instead of spending all that time in relationships that aren’t the right ones, save these years to focus on yourself; to learn about yourself, to grow as an individual, and to dedicate to making life long memories and friends. And let me just give you a sneak preview sister, the boy you spend hours commuting home to see every weekend, the one you miss out on your college football games and beach parties for, he cheats on you at a house party and then tells every lie in the book to cover it up (true story). And then the guy who you try so hard to impress to be what you think he wants from you, you run into him downtown one night where he blankly stares at you while holding hands with another girl (also true story). Just do yourself the favor Leigha, don’t date for the next five years. Your early twenties are your selfish years, so you go be selfish girl!
Okay, I may have lied when I said I didn’t have any regrets. Looking back on this one, the chance to take college classes in another Country, with your peers, all set up and organized through your school, yeah I DO regret not doing that. Never in your life are you going to have a more perfect time to do this. You have no huge responsibilities, no career, no babies, AND a twenty-year-old drinking ability! (Gawd how much fun that could have allowed you to have). Forget about the hundred excuses you tell yourself on why you can’t go, like how much it costs, or your restaurant job, or who will feed your cats. Just do it! Take out the student loan to pay for the extra tuition. Put in a leave of absence at your job. Bribe your roommate with sweet sediments to keep your cats alive for the semester. Whatever it takes, make it happen. Cause life is only going to get busier, crazier, and more stressful the older you get. You won’t get an opportunity like that again. And if you’re smart and listened to the ‘don’t date anyone’ advice, you won’t have that stupid relationship holding you back either!
Lastly, for the sentimental side of yourself, hug the ones you love a little tighter each time you see them from here on out. You’re not going to have them all forever.