what I wish I’d known when I was 18

My little sister just turned 18, which made me think of what I was like at 18– confused, stressed, sometimes depressed, and misunderstood (or so I thought). 

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18: the year I lived on hot chocolate from Starbucks

Luckily, I’ve learned some things since then, so I shipped this advice to California along with her birthday present:

  1. Remember that your family knows you the best and loves you the most.
  2. Give people the benefit of the doubt, including yourself. Especially yourself.
  3. Create whenever you feel the desire to destroy.
  4. Don’t let boys make you cry. If you absolutely have to cry, don’t do it in front of them.
  5. Be friends with people who inspire you to be better. It’s better to have a few good friends than lots of mediocre friends.
  6. Remember that you have to cure your own loneliness. No one else can do that for you, regardless of how much you love them, or how much they love you.
  7. Don’t pretend to like something just because other people like it.
  8. If you find that you don’t like who you’re becoming, then fix it.
  9. Don’t be in a hurry to grow up.
  10. Study something you’re passionate about.
  11. Don’t argue about politics or religion.
  12. If you think, “I’m wearing too much make-up,” then you’re probably right.
  13. If you think you have to dress indecently in order to impress someone, then run away from this person and don’t ever look back.
  14. Don’t complain to your co-workers, especially your boss.
  15. Keep a calendar on a non-electronic device.
  16. Don’t use the excuse, “I’m bad with names,” but actually try to learn people’s names. They’ll appreciate you for it.
  17. Help lift someone else’s burdens, and you will find that your own burdens will feel lighter.
  18. When making big life decisions, ask yourself, “Does it lead me to the temple?” If the answer is no, then walk away. Even better, run away.

This list is not all-inclusive, or in order of importance, but I wish I’d known at least some of these things when I was her age. I’ve always wanted to be the cool older sister, but I think I’m just going to be the lame older sister who sends you gift cards to Staples, or life advice, or something practical like that.

Practical is the new awesome, right?

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