Today, I am a quarter of a century old. Ten years ago, I would have been appalled by who I am today. I’m not married, no babies, and I’m in school for business. There is not much about my life today that my 15 year old self would have planned out. But you know, there are a few things that I think my 15 year old self would have been proud of — a wonderful relationship with a pretty special guy, the guts it took to come back to school, the freedom I have that comes from not having children quite yet.
In the spirit of being 25 and all of the infitite wisdom that comes with it, I decided to put together a list for my 15 year old self that might make life a bit easier in those terrible high school years.
No one is an adult.
Honestly. No one feels like an adult. I can assume that as you get older, you get more used to having knowledge and being looked upon as someone who knows a thing or two, but in reality, the older you get, the less sure you are about everything. When you’re 15, you know everything. The older you get, the less you know.
As you get older, they get younger.
I swear. When I was 15 years old, the 16 year olds were adults who could drive. When I was 20, the 16 year olds were the young adults on the precipice of the time of their lives. Now that I’m 25, I see that the 16 year olds are just babies who have so much left to experience.
Don’t spend too much time trying to fit your life into the mold of what it should be. Instead, take every opportunity that comes your way and let your life path fill itself out.
The future is scary.
That being said, I have a 5-10-15 year plan. The future is scary without a plan, and without goals, there’s not much point to it all. Know what you would like to achieve with the understanding that you might have to take the long way and work hard to make it happen.
Love your body.
It easy to fall out of the routines that high school offers. Just because you aren’t playing sports anymore (ahem, dancing is a sport!) doesn’t mean you can be a lazy bum. Keep exercising, stop eating so much pizza, try salads. It’s never too early to love your body, and the sooner you start the healthy habits, the easier they will be to continue.
Your passion won’t always be your career.
I love books and dancing. My career will likely not be anything to do with either. While having a passion is amazing, it’s not necessarily going to translate into a profitable career path. (Kudos to those of you who are able to make a career of something you’re insanely passionate about!) Like your work. Love your hobbies. Both will keep you sane.
Your parents are your best friends.
Seriously. I’m not kidding. They are your biggest fans, strongest support system, and financial supporter when you are stuck trying to decide between eating food or living under a roof. Take advantage of their help, their love, and their guidance. They want what’s best for you.
Cherish your friends.
Sure, getting calls at 2 am to pick them up from the bar is not always the funnest experience. But if you ignore them, don’t make an effort, and don’t listen to them, you will lose them. You will find yourself without support, without a listening ear, without a friend to take to see the newest novel-turned-movie. Don’t let those friends go.
Don’t be afraid to make new friends.
There will be times in your life where you are stuck in a place that you know no one. Don’t be scared. Take advantage of those opportunities. I promise, I could not make it through grad school without having friends/teammates/tutors in every single class.
Life won’t always be easy.
No matter how much planning you do, there will be curve balls. You will have to break up with your boyfriend of 8 years. You will realize that teaching in a high school isn’t right for you right now. You will decide to go back to school. You will suffer heartbreak and rejection and you will come out stronger for it. Remember that you are a strong woman with a logical brain. You will survive, you will be even better for the trials and struggles.
Don’t rush your life.
There will be plenty of time to be an adult. There will be plenty of time to have babies and settle into your life. Don’t rush it. Enjoy your ability to plan spontaneous vacations and move every year. Take your time, enjoy the little moments, and cherish every breath. The struggles are worth the rewards, and life goes on.