Year 18 has just ended, and what a year it had been.
When I turned 18, a lot of people asked me what felt different, but I mostly felt the same after the 4th of March, or even after I had an “official” birthday celebration. It didn’t really feel any different from being 17, from being young and willful.
As the year passed, I gradually saw what made the 18th year different from the previous one. And I suppose I should be writing about what’s different now that I just turned 19, at the cusp of leaving the emotionally-taxing, spirited teenager years with one last half-baked, semi-adult year. But I realized that I can’t actually write about a life I haven’t lived yet, so I thought this would go better if it were about what it’s like to be 18 and newly-integrated into the “adult” side of the dinner table.
A decade ago, I was just eight years old and turning 18 seemed like the biggest possible highlight in all of my youthfully naive hopes and dreams. It felt like once I crossed the 18th mark, everything about adults would finally make sense and that I would basically know everything. My 8-year-old self would have been disappointed to discover how un-glamorous it was to turn 18. But ten years ago, I was also hoping for all the wrong things. We all realize how painfully (sweetly) gullible we were as kids only when we’ve become jaded adults, and sometimes it’s tempting to wish that we could travel back in time to just give our younger selves a heads up on the terrible things that could or will happen.
Even I am not immune to occasional wishful thinking.
So, I compiled this list of eight things I wanted my eight-year-old self to have known, from my never-the-wiser eighteen-year-old self. I know that as adults, we all have those moments where we wished to take our younger selves aside and tell them, “Girl, you ain’t usin’ that brain of yours for nothing just so you could sabotage your adult life.”
Anyway, here goes my little “cheat sheet”/”advice column” to my sweet little young self. ❤