What Could I Advice the 18-Year-old Me Today Given a Chance?
I sat for a while wondering what could I do differently were times able to roll backward and give myself a chance to begin again. I realized there are a couple of things I would encourage myself to do differently and some I would encourage myself to keep at.
At 18, I thought the world would be fair to me and move at my own pace. I lived knowing there was tomorrow for me to begin dreaming and that at 18, I was being too overambitious. How wrong of me. If I was 18 today, I would have been halfway through my dream. Not merely dreaming of cats and dogs chasing me, but dreaming big to make my dent in this universe.
I would tell myself that it is okay to be different. It is even nicer to be told that you are an outlier. The biggest challenge to the environment some of us grew up in was that being different was seen as a disorder. If you were different back then, everybody would fight to make sure you fitted in.
What such actions did to us was suppress our ability to dream big. We ended up dreaming to own a cow like the next-door neighbor and never thought of even owning one more cow to make them two. In simple terms, we learned that innovation was to copy what our next-door neighbor was doing. No wonder we all grew up and opened the same businesses all around and ended up killing each other with the competition.
When things went wrong at 18, I used to be so harsh to myself. But now I could tell the 18-year-old me to be kind to myself. That slipping wasn’t the end of the game rather it was a moment for me to gather enough momentum to catapult me beyond what could have hampered me in the first place.
In addition, I would tell the 18-year-old me that it is okay to restart and reset at any time. The danger with even some of us today is that we believe that the die on our destiny has been cast and that it is a done game. Anything to do with change is something we don’t want to hear.
It is important to know from a young age that one can change the course of their life by altering the way of their thinking at any time without fearing anything. I was talking to a friend asking them what plans they had for the future and from the talk, I realized that she had resorted to her fate. That there was nothing she could do. I had to convince her that there were a lot of things she could do. She only needed to be flexible now that she didn’t learn this at an early age.
So, it is not yet late to write that application for your scholarship. There is nothing like too late for you to go back to school and start or pick it up from where you left it. There is still time for you to change course and chase your passion. It is never late as well to change your career at this stage.
At 18, I could urge myself to create more time for the things that matter. I would encourage myself to prioritize the things that are good for the soul. Eating healthy begins early and becomes routine. Remember it is not yet late to begin eating healthy as well. Additionally, learn to create enough time for simply staying calm for your psychological health.
To achieve that better, I would teach the 18-year-old me that it is okay to say no. Sometimes, the habit has done so much harm to some of us that we are unable to say no. We find ourselves committing to things that are unnecessary hence depriving us of time to relax and reboot. Simply put, we stress ourselves too much for no apparent reason.
How many of us are ever grateful for today and our lives? It is just a handful of us. Given a chance, I would teach the 18-year-old me that gratitude brings a lot of sanities. It would enable me to easily accept those things I cannot change and develop my mental capacity to act on those things I can change.
Finally, I would tell the 18-year-old me to risk more. I would encourage myself to love more. I would develop my capacity to speak up and speak out. The older we become, the more we find ourselves not saying that word when it needs to be said. We find ourselves not being kind enough and not impacting as many people as we would love to.
For that reason, I tell the older me today these very things I didn’t have a chance to tell the 18-year-old me. It is never too late to start again. It is the same words I write to you. Pick it up from here my dear readers and get to where you have always dreamed of. For me, there is no retiring for that matter. I will be taking time to relax, but there is no bolting out.