Letter to my 18-year-old self

Being a teacher I witness younger people sometimes make a mistake that could have been avoided if they had listened to the wise words of experience. I do not profess to know everything or indeed be the wise sage that you see in many movies but I do have experience; I have made mistakes in my thirty-seven year and some of them I could have systematically avoided if I had listened to my elders.
This got me to thinking, what advice would I give myself at eighteen years old? I have decided to write this in the hope that it will bring guidance and help to others; I hope to show this to my children and hope that thy trust that my advice comes from learning from my mistakes and regrets I have.

Don’t expect others to act the way you do as you will be disappointed.
Being kind, caring and loyal is a quality that I love about myself but it can cause its own problems. I have always worked under the assumption ‘treat people the way you want to be treated’ but I often do not get the same treatment back. An example of this is smiling and acknowledging someone you know as you pass them; I try to make sure that I do that to everyone I see as I feel a smile has a special power to warm a person’s heart but quite often I get ignored or get strange looks. This can make me sad and feel like I do not matter, but the problem is I judge them by my own standards of behaviour which dictates that ignorance means dislike.
The same can be applied to any relationship there will never be an equal balance as what you deem as being a good friend, for example, is not what someone else would perceive as good. I like to do little things to help other people but this can be something that is taken for granted and quite often not appreciated. This would often make me feel as though I should not be bothering but if I stop doing thoughtful things for people then I wouldn’t being true to myself, I have learnt that I cannot define myself on how other people treat me as I cannot control them and nor do I want to do that.

People will mislead you
Just like you cannot control how people respond to you or the things you do or the way they treat you, people can quite often mislead you. Not everyone will be what they first appear and often people will project that they are genuine or that they care but you can often find out that their intentions are not honourable. I have often been deceived by people whom I thought would look out for me and realised that they were not what they projected to the outside world.
Likewise, I have also judged others in a negative light before finding out more about them and giving them a chance and then come to realise that in spite of appearing to be a person I would dislike on first impressions. The term ‘never judge a book by its cover’ is such an apt piece of advice to live your life by when dealing with new people.

Mistakes are bound to be made but not learning from them is the biggest mistake of all.
This is not a case of saying ‘I’m never going to drink again’ with a horrendous hangover only to find yourself drinking just a few days later; it is deeper than that. Albert Einstein said ‘madness is doing the same thing and expecting a different result’ and this applies to the destructive cycle that we often find ourselves in where we keep making the same mistake but expecting a different outcome. A good example of this is gossiping about someone to a ‘friend’ and then finding yourself betrayed; the next time you talk to that ‘friend’ just remember what had happened previously and be mindful that they will get you into trouble again.

Save, save and save some more
My mother used to say that whenever I had money that it would burn a hole in my pocket because I wanted to spend it that fast. I definitely think that saving is so important and should be taught in schools. In the age of credit cards and payday loans, temptation calls you to just run up a load of debt when life gets in the way and you need to replace your washing machine or fix your car, but the consequences of that can be catastrophic.
Since I started teaching, I have always put aside a small amount every month to cover any unexplained charges that come up or to save for a holiday or big purchase. I managed to pay most of our wedding off with my savings and we are currently saving in order to either get the house fixed or move out, we are not going to get where we want to be by blowing our budget on luxuries that will only make me happy for a short while.

Do not let anybody tell you they are better than you
You should be careful of defining yourself by other people it is a slippery slope downhill. Every human is equal and you should never let anyone make you feel inferior. This can be a hard rule to follow as we always feel like we are trying to ‘keep up with the Jones’. Do not let other people impose their views or beliefs on to you and make you feel like you and your choices are insignificant compared to themselves. You are unique and just as worthy as anybody else.

You are worthy
You are just as valuable as every other human being on this planet, without you there would be a void that can only be filled by you with your unique personality. Each person holds the same value as a human life and this is why we all need to treat each other with the respect we would expect from others.

Parenting is hard work; give your parents an extra big hug for caring for you.
I am extremely lucky that I was brought up by loving and caring parents who love me and prepared me well for the challenges life faces. I am so grateful for my parents love and support and I should have been more grateful for that when I was younger. Now that I am a mother I understand the worry, the frustration and the overwhelming love that a parent has for their child that can sometimes cause clashes. Just remember, however much you argue with your parents they truly love you and are trying to do the best they can for you so give them a hug and say thank you.

If you work hard you will reap the rewards
Nothing is handed to you on a plate, you have to work for it. I have always been an independent type of person as my parents brought me up by the rule ‘if you want something doing, you do it yourself’; you are in control of your life and if you work hard you will benefit from that hard work eventually. I am always mentioning the word ‘graft’ to my students and how putting the effort and graft into things will have a greater sense of achievement than someone else doing it for you.

Start your skincare routine now, your skin needs it.
I used to hear this all the time being said by people older than myself and never took any notice but now that I am over thirty, I get it now. Your skin is delicate and needs to be protected and nourished as soon as possible. As I said in my skincare routine post, I have sensitive skin that is prone to redness and dermatitis which needs a lot of looking after, especially in the colder months. I have found that skincare is something to be taken seriously and something that should not be scrimped on; makeup goes on so much better and you have fewer problems when your skin is looked after.
Sometimes you have to accept that life isn’t fair and move on in a positive manner.
Not everything is going to go your way and you have to learn to accept that no matter what you do and how hard you fight sometimes life is simply unfair. Bad things will happen to the nicest people and likewise, people who are not as genuine will often come out ‘on top’. Once you learn to accept that often things are uncontrollable and cannot be changed, you will be more at ease with the world and able to make the best of the circumstances given to you.

If you can’t say anything nice don’t say anything at all
I think this comment speaks for itself and should be something that everyone should adopt as a rule of life; there would definitely be less conflict and a lot less violence in the world if people just followed this within their own lives. I believe that living your life in a kind way and always treating people with kindness and dignity is the best way to live. Gandhi once said ‘an eye for an eye will make the whole world blind’ and this is so true; next time someone is mean to you treat them with kindness because maybe they don’t know how to do it, don’t get sucked in to retaliation and revenge as it’s not worth your time and energy.
What advice would you give? As always I would love to hear your opinions on this what would you tell your 18-year-old self if you could?
Ciao for now beauties xx

8 Comments Add yours

  1. You said it all with your comment about mistakes. I, too, wish I’d taken the advice of my parents and teachers and elders… but youth don’t. They need the mistake for the advice to become reality. Examining things, especially advice, in the abstract only takes you so far (especially as a teenager… I just did some interesting reading that basically says adults can FEEL an experience, react to it emotionally [this is tracked in brain scans], and KNOW that that thing is bad; teenagers can understand that a thing is bad in the abstract, but they don’t truly FEEL it as they are not developed enough in the ol’ brain).
    The mistake is the lesson. All of the advice in the world, at least in my opinion, won’t do teens a whole lot of good. Still, I also feel the sentiment of trying to help out our young people, especially those who haven’t gone and screwed it up with some awful decision.


    1. lifewithmrst says:

      It’s such a shame that the mistakes have to happen as usually they end up hurting other people but as you said, the younger brain is not wired to realise the full ramifications if their choices and not listen to people with experience


  2. This is honestly really inspirational. I’m nearly 16 and I honestly don’t know what to expect from life. And I just constantly feel that society pressures me to do something I don’t want to do. Hopefully, I can actually come to understand this advice well and grow into it and become a better person.


    1. lifewithmrst says:

      I’m glad that it is inspired you. Don’t let Society pressure you into being anyone else but yourself, you are unique and special and you have lots to offer the world you just have to find out in what capacity you can apply it to. It is not about being a better person as we all make mistakes and we’re all fallible to temptation to do the wrong thing. It is about being honest about your choices and decisions and learning from them because you will definitely make mistakes along the way, it is a part of life that we cannot change.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. jiselle jones says:

    sound advice i wish i had some of that when i was young it would have saved me a lot of consequences now. but would i have listened though that’s another thing all together!


    1. lifewithmrst says:

      I doubt any youngster would listen as now I have children I’m beginning to understand how hard it is for them to take advice from adult’s. Regrettably I think it is a learning curve that is necessary and unavoidable you have to make the mistakes in order to learn the lesson.


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