Dear 18-Year-Old Self: Please Cherish These Moments Before They’re Gone

You have so much life left to live. It’s barely started. I wish I could tell you that you have so many good things happening, which you do. But you will also have a lot of cruel realities at a young age. You will persevere and become stronger because of it. But these losses will shape the person you become.

Friends come and go. Some of the people you revolve your life around today, won’t be in your story five years from now. Keep meeting people everywhere you go. You’re good at that. You continue to grow as a person, and some of your old friends stay in the past. It’s okay to outgrow people. Don’t lose yourself in trying to please others. The people meant to be in your life will be there, and sometimes they come back.

Don’t worry so much about what others think. It really doesn’t matter at all. Your biggest critics are lacking in their own self-confidence. Don’t take others words to heart. You have always been confident, and that scares others. Keep being you. Many admire you for speaking your mind and being so outwardly yourself. It will be one of your biggest assets and strengths in life.

Continue to stand up for others and stand up for what’s right. Your love for helping others will benefit you in many ways. You may not end up doing exactly what you thought you would, career-wise, but it all comes together. It’s not for nothing. Your experiences will shape you, and will help to shape others as well.

Family. Pay attention to your family. I know you struggle with your family relationships at times, but they won’t always be there. I wish I could shield you from the realities of life, but you will lose a lot of important family members in the next 10 years. People you thought would be around forever. You learn that life is extremely short and time is limited.

Losing others will have you questioning life. The unfairness of it all. You will be bitter for a while. But it will soften you. Losing so many important people so young, while unfair, will impact your life significantly. It will allow you to cherish time with others. You become kinder. More understanding. I wish it didn’t have to be this way, but life is cruel sometimes. Being aware of how short life is will be something crucial to you life from then on. You will always think in the back of your mind, this could be the last time with this person.

Cherish those relationships.

And as far as dating, you will go through a couple tough relationships. Your early 20s will teach you a lot. You unfortunately will have to learn some hard lessons. You will ignore red flags. You will ignore your gut. You will regret choices you made. But you get out before things get too bad. You learn the hard way. But you learn.

You become pickier with those you allow in your life. You choose not to settle.

If I had one piece of advice for my 18-year-old self, it would be to cherish every day. The days and years go by so fast. Savor the moments. Spend more time with people who matter. Make beautiful memories. Get off your phone.

You will want those days back.

And one day they will be all but memories and stories on a page. Thought Catalog Logo Mark

Chicago born and raised. Stay strong but sweet.

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