By: Abbey Lyn Clark, Regular Contributor
Image from womanaroundtown.com
Imagine this: you’re 18, sitting outside your high school, and your future 21-year-old self walks up to you.
You’re unsure what to do, feel, or say, but you talk to her anyway. Other than the fact that her hair looks fabulous and she’s wearing great shoes, she cautions you that beauty is not skin deep. She’s different than you pictured how you imagined you’d look when you’re 21. She’s less glamorous than you thought, but beautiful nonetheless. What’s most captivating about her is how she seems like she’s got it all figured out. The truth is: she doesn’t; she’s still learning and will never stop learning. However, she does have some wise things to say. Here it is, my own personal teenage dream: 10 things I’d say to my 18-year-old self.
“I have a few things to tell you,” she says.
1. “Your group of friends now will be different than it will be in a few years, and that’s okay. Various studies in Interpersonal Psychology tell us that although you will probably have the same number of close friends, the people may be different. You will form new relationships and learn whom you can truly trust. You’re going to change and your group of friends will inevitably change as well.”
2. “Find something you’re passionate about now. It could become a scholarship, a hobby, or even a career path.”
3. “If life seems hard now, hold on because it just gets harder.” (Wow, I sound like my father).
4. “That brings me to number four: listen to your parents. You may not think they know much about youth or remember what it’s like to be your age, but they are just trying to protect you. Take what they say into deep consideration; it will definitely help you later on.”
5. “Always trust your gut. Your conscience is your best friend in the entire world; should listen to it” (Yes, even if your parents sometimes say otherwise).
6. “The mean girls are mean because they need a friend. Be that friend.”
7. “Learn how to effectively deal with stress. Finding a healthy strategy to cope with stress will give you the strength to tackle your problems head on instead of letting them take control over your life.”
8. “Support those who support you. Reciprocally will be the key when it comes to any working friendship or relationship. Be trusting, but also be cautious.”
9. “Even though you’re going to make mistakes, learn how to forgive yourself now.”
10. “Don’t settle for anything or anyone less than amazing. You are dynamic, intelligent, and beautiful. Take confidence in this.”
“One last word of advice” she says as she gently smiles and walks away slowly, “Just like you, I’m not perfect and I still have a lot to learn.”
The encounter is a dream, but it’s my dream. While I do wish my future self told me these things, there is something entrancing about the unknown. Whether you’re a teenager reading this as words of advice, or a grown woman reflecting and sympathizing with these sentiments, I challenge you to map your growth as an individual. I am proud of the fact that I am so drastically different than that 18-year-old sitting outside of her high school: unsure, insecure, and confused. Everything happens for a reason and everything that has happened in my life has made me who I am. I have to admit, if I met my future 24-year-old self today, even if it were just a dream, I’d definitely hear her out.
About Abbey: Abbey Clark is a rising senior majoring in English and Human Development at Boston College. Along with being the I AM THAT GIRL local chapter leader at BC, she is also a yoga instructor and the co-president of her all female a cappella group: The BC Sharps. She loves spending time with her friends & family, baking, and traveling. She is an advocate of healthy living, real beauty, and is so proud to be part of such a beautiful organization that is changing the world for women and girls!