2016 was a very special year for me. It was the year I turned 18 and I was really pumped up about becoming an adult (I was a what? A clown). There are quite a number of reasons why people can’t wait to turn 18. For one, it’s about becoming an adult. 18 is a landmark age that means you’re actually growing up. Also, in some countries (Nigeria included) 18 is the legal drinking age. I honestly blame the excitement on American teen movies and how they have romanticized it. They really lied to us.
I had so much high expectations for 2016 because I thought it was finally going to be my year. Unfortunately, it turned out to be the most depressing year of my entire life, I guess I took things too fast and expected way too much. If I could give any advice to my 18yr old self, I would say;
“Love yourself a little more than you love others, people come and people go but you should never let go of yourself. Forgive yourself a little more, you’re only 18 and you’re bound to make mistakes. Your body is beautiful, embrace it. Be prepared for loneliness, it will hit you really hard. Learn to seek comfort from your closest friends and not smiling foes. Know your circle and keep to them ALWAYS. Turning 18 does not mean you’re about to rise from the ashes like a phoenix. Just relax, you’ll figure it out. Live your life, enjoy it because there’s a lot pain in the world and you need good memories to keep your mind sane. Be bolder, talk back, don’t be timid or shy. Again, live your life however it pleases you.”
Turning 18 meant a lot to some of us and was such a milestone in our lives. Some of us had our first kiss at 18, had sex for the first time, got our first internship, and even fell in love. It’s safe to say that 18 was that age for many of us where we made some life changing decisions, and took some memorable risks. That’s why in this article, I’ve asked five women what they would say to their 18yr old selves and these were their responses;
Chisom, 22 (straight):
“Focus on yourself, know yourself, love yourself. Own your body more, don’t be easily manipulated to give it up. Plan for your future. Don’t accord so much importance to men. Work out and eat right. Life isn’t the wonderful place you think it is, be prepared to be hurt. In all things, live life.”
Moji, 22 (straight):
“Dear 18yr old Moji, I just want to tell you adulthood is not what you thought it would be. Start that business you’ve always had in mind, you are not too young. That certificate you are chasing hasn’t gotten you a job today.”
Ife, 26 (straight):
You’re going to be ok. This is just the beginning of your life so don’t spend it depressed and worried. Go out and have fun. Go out with friends. Drink that drink. Flirt that flirt. Talk that talk. Don’t be controlled by the fear “what if” And also, adulthood is way worse than this, so chill.”
Bridget, 23 (straight):
“Baby girl, you are just finishing your freshman year. You have met friends that you felt would last you a lifetime, just know that friendships end and that’s okay. Any broken relationship you faced is not entirely your fault. The bottom-line is, never stay with anyone willing to take more than they are willing to give.
Yes, you had your toxic part to play but the fact you realized that part means you are on the right path to discovering your better self. It okay to think about yourself once in a while. Enjoy yourself baby girl, problem no dey finish.
While enjoying yourself, remember not to spend more than you can afford. Never rely on anyone for anything, especially when it comes to finances. Always work hard baby girl. Hard work is hard, but I am certain you won’t fail, however, failing is just the first attempt in learning. You will learn, get better and get the bag and everything you want.”
Jessica, 23 (straight):
“I would tell my 18-year-old self to dream bigger, think bigger, act wiser. Don’t give every human being an opportunity to have an opinion on what goes on with you, stay single for much longer, don’t love up too easy. Life is going to be stressful so brace yourself and don’t give up.”
Looking back at our 18-year-old selves, we can see growth. We may be oblivious to how much we have grown and how much we have learnt, but in reality we are a little wiser with a dash of more personality. We may be making some of the same mistakes, but we are still young and learning so much from ourselves. Those things we experienced when we turned 18 were essential for our growth and development, besides what is life without a little bit of heartache every now and then?