Happy Birthday! You are now 18! You can legally buy . . .cigarettes. But smoking is bad for you, so maybe you shouldn’t. You can go to clubs, though! Turning 18 is a huge deal – it’s a time when you’re not really sure what to do next, especially if you’re not going straight to college. Here is what I wish someone would have told me when I was 18:
- Find Yourself. Do some soul searching. Be a better person. Pray more. Be more like Abuelita.
- Be Productive. I wish someone would have told me to do something more valuable with my time. I should have done something that I would be thanking myself for now. I had the time to do internships and gain knowledge in the field that I wanted to be in. I had time. I should have gone on numerous random adventures; explored the city. Plant a damn tree, for God’s sake, DO SOMETHING!
- Stop Being Self-conscious. Love yourself and stop thinking you’re not good enough. Get out there and conquer the world!
- Go to School. Even if you don’t know what you want to do. You have time right now. Take as many classes as you want and find what catches your interest. I wish someone would have told me that it was okay to dream big. Encouraged me to refrain from looking for alternative career options. Find what makes you happy and figure out a way to do it. People will think your ideas are frivolous, but they don’t have your vision.
- Relax. You have so much life ahead of you. Don’t stress yourself out. You don’t have to be successful already. Embrace this period in your life, because one day you will miss being 18 with no responsibilities.
Additionally, I would tell my younger self:
- Stop making poor outfit choices.
- Seriously . . .put some make-up on.
- Clean your damn room!
- Stop telling people you’re from Compton.
- Listen to mom, she’s almost always right.
Being 18 wasn’t bad at all; it was actually an incredible time in my life. I was blessed with amazing friends, family, and an amazing boyfriend that would eventually end up being my husband. I did the whole clubbing scene and got it out of my system. I spent many days doing whatever I wanted — no worries in the world. I had a grown up job. I learned how to be a professional and didn’t allow my age be an excuse for poor work ethic. I wrote a lot. I took a lot of pictures. I lived life to the fullest; even if that meant that I slept in until noon and grabbed lunch with Tracy. Life was good.
What would you tell your younger self?
I leave you with this song. Chola for life.