Being 18 and looking to the future versus being older and looking to the past
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Turning 18 Is A Gift We Take For Granted But Adults Look Back On That Age With Invaluable Wisdom

Welcome to adulthood....kinda

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Turning 18 Is A Gift We Take For Granted But Adults Look Back On That Age With Invaluable Wisdom
Natalia Carbuccia

Turning 18 isn't all it's cracked up to be. The teenage angsty coming-of-age movies really built up the fantasy. At 18 years old, I thought I would have it all figured out...and boy was I wrong.

Just two weeks ago I celebrated my birthday thousands of miles away from my family and friends. If you would have told adolescent me that I would spend my 18th birthday in San Diego, California I wouldn't have believed you. And it is that mere thought that got me thinking. Where I am today is a place I thought I'd never reach, and the same might be true for wherever I am in the next 18 years. I have begun to realize that upon reaching the cusp of young adulthood, my peers and I have all these expectations and ideas for the future. It is this point in time where we are all in different headspaces, struggling to figure out who we are and what we want. Where we'll be in the future might be nothing like we anticipated.

And so, I asked a group of my peers the following question: If given the opportunity to tell your 36-year-old self anything, what would you say or ask? Here are their responses.

"You better have 15 million dollars, four retail businesses, 15 bodegas in the neighborhood you were born in, and two platinum albums… I wouldn't ask if [my future self] if had it; I would just say he better have it and leave." - C

"I don't know, I just wanna know If I'm alive." - K

"I feel like 36-years-old me should be telling me something. I guess I would say to keep having fun." - S

"I want to know what the winning lottery numbers were." - C

"Probably something like I hope you're happy, successful, and content with your life, and I would want to know if all the stupid things I'm worrying about now work out or if they didn't even matter in the long run." - A

"You should have stayed at college for the experience and opportunity to play baseball." - J

"Appreciate the people in your life." - K

"I don't know, I'm only 18 and it is hard to tell myself something because I haven't been through a lot yet." - D

"You should have given so-and-so a second chance." - N

See, it is evident that we are all on different paths. Some of us are lost, some have regrets, some know exactly where they want to be and some are just curious about what the future holds. All of this is okay. Despite all the immediate struggles of being 18, there is one beautiful aspect of it and that is that we are young with our entire lives ahead of us. We have the time to make mistakes, to decide what we want and work towards our goals. This is one gift of being 18 that is not in wrapping paper, and it is a gift that many people wish they could have again.

With that being said, I asked another group of individuals a similar question. I prompted older adults to reflect and answer the following question: If given the opportunity to go back and tell your 18-year-old self anything, what would you say? Here are their responses.

"Know your worth." - G

"To do exactly what you're doing now, get a degree." - E

"Don't have a girlfriend during college!!!" - D

"What you think might happen may or may not. What you know may happen may or may not. The only thing you can know is right now." - C

"Live, live, live for you! Love will come later. Be the person you wish to find." - E

"Your parents are not your enemies." - L

"There are some things you think you'll never be able to forgive. That's okay for now." - D

"That tongue piercing is not cute." - B

"Always be kind. Protect your heart as you wear it on your sleeve and never ever wait, do it now!" - J

To summarize, being 18 is the most confusing and interesting time of our lives. More importantly, it is a time that we can never get back. We will never return to this point again, so live it in a fashion that makes you not want to. Allow your mistakes to be insightful lessons, your wandering to be a path, and your goals to be a guide.

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This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
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