Ah, the classic “If only I’d known then what I know now” predicament! There are so many things I would communicate to a younger me. By the time a man has reached the age of 40, his 18th year seems a lifetime ago. Yet, the decisions a young man makes in his first few years as an adult can have repercussions that last. While you always have the possibility of redemption, using practical wisdom coming out of the gate is always a handy option.
If you’re young, you can pick some up here. If you’re further along in the journey, this list would make a fine conversation starter with youngsters you know. Regardless, All Pro Dad believes the following 10 things you would tell your 18-year-old self are worth a second look.
1. Enjoy being a kid.
It’s easy to turn 18 and be nervous that you’ll miss something you haven’t yet experienced. You could be anxious that you’re not growing up fast enough and you’re going to miss something that’s coming up. Either way, slow down, smell the roses, and enjoy the gift of today. Tomorrow will come in its own time.
Just like the baseball season where a win in April is worth the same as a win in September, solid decisions made at 18 can stay with us for a long time.
3. Stupidity compounds over time—same principle as #2.
Do-overs tend to go away when we turn 18. Get arrested? Blow off responsibilities? Lose the scholarship? These decisions don’t get wiped out, and they will haunt for a long time.
4. What happens in Vegas comes home with you.
There is no free pass once you’re a legal adult. Sound judgment counts and it’s as true at 18 as it is at 40.
5. Interest compounds daily, and it works both ways.
Start saving today, even if it’s just $5 a week to get the ball rolling. Financial security has to be a life-long decision. Likewise, if you spend $10,000 you don’t have at 18, you could easily pay back three to four times that before you’re done.
6. Tomorrow is another day!
Or, put another way, you have your whole life ahead of you. Don’t be so impatient. Succeed or fail today, tomorrow will always bring fresh promise and the opportunity to start over.
7. My parents weren’t blowing smoke.
It’s tough to value other people’s experience when you have none yourself. But it’s worth the effort to listen and learn when it comes to life on down the road.
8. “Choose this day who you will serve.”
Decide right now, out of the box, if you want to work the next 50 years as a slave to values imposed by popular culture or if you intend to answer some other calling? The wrong answer will lead to a kind of slavery. Initial trajectory is everything because the further you travel down that road the greater distance you’ll end up from real peace.
9. You can’t go home again…but it’s OK, you won’t want to.
Life is designed to move forward. Don’t listen to the “high school is the best time of your life” crowd. It’s a lie. There’s a whole amazing world out there to be explored. Seize the day.
10. Truth is stranger than fiction—and more wonderful.
Keep an open mind and don’t be afraid to learn.Keep an open mind and don’t be afraid to learn. The only limitation on an amazing life is your lack of imagination and the nature of the prisons you construct for yourself.
Huddle Up Question
Huddle up with your kids and ask, “If you could give advice to a younger you, what would you say?”