1. You’re still a kid, and will realize over the years that you still will be a kid until around 30. Even then you’ll still have days where you wonder about your maturity (I’m 34, still wondering myself).
Get a credit card and put regular monthly expenses on it. Pay it off every month. It’s not the end of the world to have a balance for a while, but it’s easy to let your balance get out of control so build that habit of keeping it paid. Your credit score will thank you when you’re out of college or into your mid 20’s and want to start making some big purchases.
You don’t need everything new. There’s always something newer, something better, something improved. If you want something, decide what your criteria is, and then shop based on that, not based on what’s available. Look at both new and used options.
If you’re college bound, community colleges are great options to get started on your first 2 years. There are a lot of gen-eds to get through and they’re all the same wherever you go. You can always go visit another school on the weekend if you need to party. Plus, you don’t have the distraction mid-week if you need to work and study.
Get a job if you don’t have one. Doesn’t matter what it is. Just work. Employers ask about gaps in employment. Handling school and work at the same time is a desirable skill. You meet people at work. You make connections at work. You get references at work. No matter if it’s McDonald’s, cutting grass, interning in an office, etc – work is good.
Be reliable. If you say you’ll do something, do it. Be the person people can count on to get things done or help out. It’ll come around when you need help or when there are rewards to be had.
Be healthy. Work out however works for you -walking, running, lifting, sports, yoga, martial arts, etc. Find something that you enjoy or that will contribute to body-goals you desire. Working out now will make it easier to work out later in life. As for food-this is how you’ll maintain a healthy weight. Ditch soda if at all possible. There’s coffee and tea if you need caffeine. Limit your portions and your snacks. Eat more veggies and fruit and less meat and grain. It doesn’t matter how much you eat now, improving those proportions will help contribute to your overall health. There’s constantly more studies coming out saying that the best diet is more plant-based than animal based. You don’t need to be vegan, but just keep it in check.
Small changes make big difference in life. You don’t need to overhaul your entire life all at once. Make little changes as you go and you’ll be more apt to keep it up and go further towards whatever goal you have.
Worry less about what other people think. If they have a lot of opinions about others, they probably aren’t great opinions and shouldn’t be given much consideration. Most people, though, are more concerned about themselves, so keep that in mind when you’re feeling embarrassed/pressured/self conscious. Do what you need to and what your enjoy and you’ll be happier. People will notice that in you and they’ll appreciate that rather than judge you for what you do in life.
I guess that’s enough “wisdom” from me. Hopefully some of that will sound good to you and contribute positively.
2. Learn to cook. You don’t need to be a chef but don’t live your life eating garbage you bought in the frozen food section of the grocery store.
3. Learn another language. You already did? Another one then.
4. If you’re unsure about what you want to “do with your life” but have some vague notion of something you think you’d like to do, proceed full-force ahead with that until you’re convinced it’s the wrong choice.
Key word is convinced.
If you’re convinced it’s the wrong choice, stop, take some time, evaluate what you’ve done so far, plan your next steps and repeat everything I just described.
Do not procrastinate career choices, always move towards something even if your unsure if it will work out. If you don’t continue moving forward you will always fall behind.
If you don’t procrastinate and do what I described you will either wind up doing something between “liking enough” and “passionate about”.
If you do procrastinate, life will make choices for you and you will likely wind up doing something you hate.
5. Get a credit card and only buy gas with it. Pay it off each month. This will build up your credit. DO NOT buy anything on that credit card that you can’t pay off at the end of each month.
6. If you buy something on sale that you had no intention of buying in the first place (or would not have purchased if it were not on sale), you didn’t save money, you spent money.
7. Any loose change you have around the house, put in a jar and keep putting change in it. You will be surprised how much money you have after a year.
8. You may think you’re an adult and “all grown up” but you have so much more to experience.
If you’re having relationship problems with your boyfriend/girlfriend, it’s not the end of the world. You will have many more relationships and grow as a person with each one.
Being on time and showing up every day for work will take you far.
Getting therapy and showing your emotions is natural, and healthy. Be who you are and say what you feel ALWAYS. You are a person, treat yourself like one.
9. Always smile. It’s hard to smile when the going gets tough, and the going will get tough sometimes as is the nature of life, but if you can find a way to smile during the difficult times, it will make the difficult times just a little easier to get through. Also, share your smile with others because seeing others smile because of you will help you smile more. They’re contagious and they will help you through the darkest times.
10. Five years from now you’ll care about very few of the things you think are the center of your world today — high school, whatever girl you think you’re in love with, many of your passions (music, skating, whatever). Make wise decisions that are based on things that will last, as opposed to meaningless things like high school popularity, or partying, etc.
11. Community college!
There is almost zero difference in the first two years of undergrad for most programs.
You have to be nuts to pay thousands more just to do those at a four-year school.
12. If possible, live with your parents rent-free as long as possible.
13. You are the one in charge of your own life now. Don’t blindly follow what anyone else thinks you should do if you disagree. Do your research, trust trustworthy people, and follow your own logic.
14. Don’t loan money to people. If their own bank won’t lend them money, neither should you.
15. Don’t give a shit about what other people think. Do what makes you happy as long as it’s legal and follows your code of morals. Don’t let other people and what stupid drama they might try to cause affect how you live your life. You were born into your life to live, so live it your way.
16. If you haven’t already, start saving for retirement. You can start a Roth ira with a couple hundred bucks, and it will grow SO MUCH FASTER than you realize over time. Even compared to someone who starts saving in their mid 20s, you’ll be so far ahead of the curve.
17. Don’t marry too young. Chances are you won’t really know who you are until you’re about 30. Wait till then. In your 20s go nuts and have fun.
18. Learn to say no. You don’t have to be nice if it is a bother to you. Also you don’t owe anyone anything. Look after yourself first and foremost. You don’t have to keep people in your life if they make you miserable, be they friends and especially if they are family.
19. You may think you have a plan for life. You do not, because things are either not going to go as you expect or your expectations will change. Don’t resist change.
20. Treat everyone with respect, don’t burn your bridges as the world is so much smaller than any of us realize.
21. Don’t be a fool, wrap your tool (or have your penis-having partner wrap their tool).
Babies are expensive as hell and they wreck lives when they’re unplanned, doubly so when you’re young.
22. Use protection, and no means no. In fact, anything but a yes means no.
23. Study/work hard on whatever you want to do in life. Don’t pressurise yourself by constantly looking towards the next thing, wishing for the future etc. Remember to have lots of fun and make the most of each day, whatever it brings. Enjoy it!
24. Everyone seems to know what they are doing. Don’t worry, it’s a trick.
25. Don’t despair if you hate your first few jobs. They aren’t your destiny.
26. Who you are now isn’t who you’ll be in 6 years for sure.
27. Casual sex is fine. But there’s really no such thing as sex with no strings attached. Sex creates bonding hormones. You literally “catch feelings” from having sex, and that’s not a choice it’s a biological reaction.
That’s a relatable way of saying, your actions have consequences. And now that you’re legally adult, think your actions through all the way. Not just the short term consequences, but the long term ones as well.
28. Don’t sweat relationships. You have plenty of time to find the right match. Enjoy single life while you can.
29. Marry for love and friendship.
30. Build healthy habits. You may feel like your body is indestructible now, but one day you’ll look at yourself and wonder where that gut came from, and why you hurt everywhere haha
Learn to stretch, and enjoy a salad every once in awhile.
Everything in moderation…including moderation!
31. Don’t dismiss the advice that older people give you.
Most of the time… we are only giving you that advice because we fucked up in the past and wish we had the information then that we are giving you now.
32. Keep yourself fit. It gets way harder as you get older, so figure it out now while you are still young. That means not eating junk food all the time because you can, that won’t always work. Work out regularly but don’t push yourself too hard. All those injuries can come back to haunt you later.
34. Don’t start smoking. If you already smoke, quit right fuckin now!
If you want kids and wanna be able to run around the yard with them (or you just want functioning lungs), do yourself a favor
35. Call your parents.
Seriously. If you have a good relationship, or even semi-good, call them. Write letters. Take pictures, of them and you, and both of you together. Visit them as often as possible. Send cards even if you don’t like them. Text them. Tag them on stuff on Facebook. TELL THEM YOU LOVE THEM.
I just lost my mom on Monday, and it’s killing me that I didn’t do more. Once they’re gone, whatever you did was never enough.
36. Think of this every once in awhile, “What does future you want you to do today?”
This is general life advice, but at an age where you’re entering college or trade school or the military or the workforce, remember that you can set yourself up for greater successes in the future with minor sacrifices today. Compound interest applies to your life, not just to your money.
37. Listen to understand, not to respond.
38. You’re still young! Yeah you are legally an adult now but your mind and body still have much growing to do. Be patient, think about your actions, and have fun.
39. If you’re going to college, use your summers wisely. The best thing I did in college was getting internships at different companies with very different jobs every summer. It really helps you figure out what you want to do without much risk. Plus the income you earn from them (unpaid internships aren’t worth doing most of the time) will help during the year.
40. Get a passport.
You may not use it soon but in your mind it opens up whole new vistas of things you COULD do.
41. Don’t be to hard on yourself and don’t compare yourself to others.
42. Ask out the girls who are 2 leagues out of your class, you’ll be surprised.
43. Always assume your bosses, parents, teachers, future prospective employers, or significant others are watching you.
44. Don’t drink and drive, and don’t get into a car with anyone who has been drinking.
These seem logical and easy to follow, but in the moment, people continue to make the wrong call. Don’t feel like you’ll upset your buddy or friend by not getting in the car with them even though they’re insisting they’re “fine”. Find a cab, call a genuinely sober friend, or get an uber/lyft. Shit, walk if you have to. All of those are better than being paralyzed or dead.
Hold yourself to that same standard too. Don’t think you’re not THAT buzzed, or you can make it, it’s only a few blocks. Park that shit and walk, or see steps above. Better than living your life with an arrest record and possibly knowing you hurt/killed someone else.
In this day and age, there is really no excuse for drinking and driving, or driving with someone who may be impaired. If you can get the keys from a drunk friend; do it. For all of the reasons above. And a good friend will learn and thank you later.
Lastly, apply all of the above to weed and any other drug.
45. Wear a condom.
46. Realize what you have, until it turns into what you had.
47. Eating a bunch of takeout will make you fat and broke a lot faster than you’d think.
48. Think VERY hard if you’re getting a tattoo. My kids still make fun of the one I did when I just turned 18. Basically any permanent decision you take at this age will have consequences.
49. Take money a lot more seriously than the others around you.
50. You can legally be held accountable by dumb shit you do now. Be really careful about that.