1. You can accomplish anything if you want it badly enough.
2. There is no predetermined path that everyone must follow to lead and live a successful life; success is a mental construct.
3. Adults are people, too. I think about the line from Finding Nemo — “Fish are friends, not food.” Not even remotely analogous, but lol, it reminds me of it. Adults have personalities. They can be your friends! They’re not limited to being daunting authoritative and superior figures. They are wise — so full of mistakes and failures and regrets and accomplishments and successes. Ask questions. Listen to them. Learn from them.
4. Value your friendships. Select your friends wisely. Don’t keep people around if they don’t add value to your life.
5. Same goes for the involvements and commitments in your life — drop them if they don’t add value to your life, and don’t be afraid of what others will think. Their opinions won’t matter in 6 months, heck, even in 6 days. Save that freed up time for exploring your interests and passions.
6. Cherish your education — especially if it’s free. Someone once said to me, “This is the last time you’ll have an education handed to you.” I’m disgruntled that it took me until my last year of schooling to understand the value of knowledge. Knowledge is power and can get you out of any rut. Knowledge is free — you just have to seek it out.
7. Get comfortable with being alone. You have all of the rest of your life to “be with the love of your life,” or whatever label you’d like to pursue. Any middle-aged professional would kill to be in your shoes — free to travel wherever, learn whenever, and pursue whatever. Travel alone. You’ll learn about your strengths and weaknesses when you have no one else to rely on in moments of stress and panic and uncertainty. You’ll learn how to embrace the uncomfortable. You’ll learn how to think for yourself.
8. Don’t pursue love. It only hinders you at this age. A relationship, a romantic connection, whatever it may be, shouldn’t be a draining effort. It’s not a game; no one is going to finish a winner. Love just is. If you’re pursuing it, it’s not love. (This was the hardest concept for me to learn and accept.)
9. You can be the ideal person you dream of being. Set goals for yourself, and you will slowly but surely become your own role model. But know that change doesn’t happen if you don’t change.
10. Love your family. Give up your all for family because they have given up so much for you. Practice empathy to understand why they are the way they are, and don’t be so quick to dismiss their overbearing or seemingly irritating behaviors. Friends are your support group when times are easy; family is your support group when times are unbearably rough and tumultuous, so be there for yours when there is no one left standing.