What would you tell your 18-year-old self?
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Just because somebody is romantically interested in you doesn't mean you have to be romantically interested in them
You love running, and you can run non-stop for over 20 minutes. Forget the humiliation of the 20 minute runs they made you do at school. Start with Couch to 5k. And buy a decent sports bra. Kirsty C
To chill out and not be so tightly wound. Man, not everything is nearly as important as it seems. The most important thing is to continue to be kind and things will fall into place. Emily O
Thirst is not a good look on you.
Don't worry about that virginity. Soon enough you'll experience so many people falling madly in love with you. You'll have more suitors than you'll know what to do with! Chill out.N
You are right to want to get out, and you are right that you will not come back.Meredith M-N
Don't forget to rest every once in a while. It will make it easier to keep going.Luke
Girl, just stop giving a fuck about what other people think about you, it won't matter at all, in a very short time from now. You're really talented, and smart, and you look damn good, so stop worrying all the time.M.
Have more fun! Kathleen B.
You have a really nice & fun future ahead of you, enjoy every moment of it! And just try to live on better terms with your dad and spend more quality time with the grumpy guy. Andrzej
"Everything changes" is probably the answer. Maybe adding that a dream unfulfilled is still worth having and that life is longer than you think, in a good way, because there is time for many paths.Michael Gural-Maiello
Keep a journal. So many things are happening to you and around you and you are doing so many things - both wonderful and terrible. You think now that you'll always remember these feelings, conversations, and events, and that it might even be better to forget some of them. But trust me, in 10 years all of these will have already faded in your mind and you'll be shocked by how foggy that time in your life seems now. You'll want to be able to reflect on it, fact check it, and see how far you've come. Instead, without any record, you'll be left lying awake at night feeling like you've forever lost a part of yourself. KN
Love. Relax. Work less, live more.Simon H.
workout now and keep doing it. it isn't just about the body, it's going to help you with stress and you won't know this back pain. it's not that complicated.
I'm not even 18 yet. I'd tell my 18 year old self that I'm so proud of wherever I've gotten and I'm hopeful it's better than now at 15.A
Buy an MPC not a guitar.Chris E.
You are much better than you think you are.Marina T
Your life plans aren't going to work out (this will be the best part). 27 will not feel ancient, neither will 25, neither will 29 you will feel like you with just more wisdom and laughs under your belt. Go on more dates, don't love so cautiously, you're going to make mistakes anyway. Having more questions than answers is part of the process. And damn gurl, that skin will never look better, wear it like a crown if you can.Kakul G
"It all goes so fast. Pay attention to the moments"M. D. Riezu
Be more inquisitive. You're smart and you can do a lot of things that teachers have asked you to do, but you're not exploring things you really love. Push yourself to want more, to take words and circuits and programs and things to bits, demand more from the experts around you right now, and push yourself to want to learn more about things they can't tell you about.

And don't worry about that one girl. There'll be others.
Do not think of following a master's in Journalism. Ever.João P.
Please go to class a bit more. You don't owe men anything. And stop drinking so much cider!Judith G
It's okay to be nice to yourself. It's okay to try and fail. You don't have to be embarrassed to ask for what you want. Like everyone else, you are just doing your best.
Try to trust life a bit more and don't be so afraid to make mistakes or fail. Don't worry about if any man will ever love you or if you are good enough to be loved.
That somehow, weirdly, magically, it all turns out alright in the end. Even when it all goes horribly wrong. It will be alright.Emma S
I think I'd probably tell her to stop trying to make hard-and-fast decisions about who she is and what she wants from life. It always felt like there was such pressure (all self-inflicted) to know who I was, and to then rush towards all those goals. The rushing left me woefully unprepared, and I failed miserably at things I have always loved, which resulted in a period of depression and angst which was painful to me, and to those around me. I might have avoided all that if I'd been wise enough to just slow down and focus inwardly for a while.Laura S
"Yes, you're being obnoxious. No, it isn't the end of the world."Laura S
Enroll in school! That year off to find yourself turns into six and you still have no idea who you are. Instead you spend those formative years working shitty jobs to just barely get by and resenting the fact that you put off school. Brandy E
You will find elation, but it will take years.Suz
That guy you disliked initially ... trust yourself and don't change your mind. He doesn't love you. He's going to steal eight years of your life playing games and then marry someone else three months after one of your "breaks".
Purge that dumbass out of your life right now, but keep an eye on his best friend, you're gonna marry him. Emily
Be brave. Don't settle for what you think you deserve because you deserve better.S.D.
Don't wait.Jason i
I love you so much. Amanda M.
You think your intelligence is the most important thing you have got going, but in the end your kindness and willingness to love will be what saves you. You won't realise that in time -- but things will turn out okay anyway.
It's OK, sex isn't supposed to be like this. You don't have to feel like an alien. Z
To relax and stop worrying about everything. Plenty of time for that.
Don't worry so much about being perfect. Live a little and enjoy yourself. Don't do drugs, they lead you to a dark place
Take opportunities even if you are scared. Push yourself. Nothing is ever as bad as you think it will be
About that month in Greece — eat the damned olives. I know, you hate them, but you have no idea, you silly little teen with your mealy canned olives. And the lamb — try the lamb, it is succulent heaven and in a decade or two you will be haunting middle eastern markets seeking the best of these things, so get over yourself — you’re in Greece for fuck’s sake! —eat the lamb and the olives and everything else they give you. (I do understand your horror at the goat carcass blocking the doorway — however, you must eat it at the celebratory dinner.)

The cute blonde sailing instructor with the freckles and the money? Run. Don’t look back, don’t mourn, don’t write that letter. Do not get on the train.

Don’t get cocky and entitled about your easy health, your lack of hormonal crisis. You don’t know menstrual cramps and your pregnancies will be golden but you will pay, with maximum interest, when menopause comes calling, so tamp the smug satisfaction with your bad self, honey. Drink less, sleep more, learn to say NO — train’s coming and you’ve got nowhere to hide. That friend who missed school for two days every month? She was your warning and you were blithely dismissive of her odd ways.

Don’t stand in line overnight for tickets to that Springsteen show. It is so not worth it.
Don’t spend one minute of that lovely trip to Mexico on the phone with that ridiculous man. Run around in the rain with your best friend, let the Mayan ruins magic away some of your youthful self-importance, but stay off the damned phone!

August 28, 2008, 3:30 a.m. Sit down. You’re going down anyway, just sit down now and save us some trouble.
Lisa R.
You're making the right choice.Jess H
Not to worry so much about not knowing how to do things, to try to join in, to talk to new people, to do things. I was so shy in my first year of university and I wish I could go back and tell myself that it's ok - that I didn't have to be scared.
Use birth control. Go to class. Don't drive drunk. Join that study group. Finish your PhD. Hold onto some of those stock options.
When James asks you to hang out, even though it doesn't sound like a date, it actually is a date.Celia C.
the grass isn't greener on the other sideliezl
I mean, mostly stock tips, but besides those: work hard on overcoming your guilt, so that, unlike me, you don't end up wasting ten years of your life in a terrible relationship because you felt guilty about leaving. Also where and when to meet your wife ten years before I did, because you'll be available and she's awesome.
Don't let your folks tell you what you can't do. You ended up doing it anyway at age 27 -- becoming a lingerie designer. Also, forget the fitness fads and stick to yoga.
Enjoy it while you can
Say yes to more experiences, and no to more men.Mary C
Yes, you are gay. It's OK, enjoy yourself
This isn't how families are supposed to be. Once you leave, you'll understand what I mean.
While it's true you feel like you're barely working, you're really not having much fun either. Fix that because it's downhill from here. John S.
Major in econ
Don't stop studying Spanish & French. You'll be so much happier being fluent in more than one language than just being an English speaker.

Also, pick a coding language & learn it.
1. Go to college and/or professional school (or don't go at all!) where you want to live and no matter what, do what you think you want to do. 2. Only you can make yourself feel happy and whole.
don't worry, you're going to marry her and it's going to be great.
What you're suffering through has a name: Bipolar Disorder. Get help for it.
Don't hitch your horse to that ONE GUY, you idiot. Sara M.
This will be the foundation of your future, so you better work hard. But know that sometimes you can do everything right and fail anyway. Remember that is not your fault V
You are worthy. NAH
stop worrying about what other people think. They probably aren't thinking or talking about you anyway. Don't be afraid to take risks. Erin L
I know drinking and partying is fun, and it's what you want to do right now so don't force yourself to reject fun because you'll just be frustrated, but go somewhere where you're surrounded by people who are smarter than you, who push you, you inspire you to learn even more than you're already learning. Remember that you can do better than this. You can be smarter than this. The time to create and start new projects is always now, not later. And don't sit anything out - ever - just because your friends or boyfriend aren't interested. Ketti W.
nothing is permanent. even the long term stuff isn't permanent, it changes into something else along the way. lee t
No man is worth giving up your dreams. The right one will help you make them happen.Laura C.
Don't wait until you're 31 to get into therapy. Quit telling yourself your problems are minor or unsolvable and just go already.
You are your own person. And you are amazing.
Your thoughts and feelings are valid, your mental health is important, as soon as you leave this small town and go somewhere with better healthcare treat yourself and find a quality therapist...it's ok, you'll emerge stronger and more complete because of it.Paige P.
It's OK to admit to yourself that your trauma makes it hard to do the things you do every day. It's OK to allow yourself to grieve. It's OK to tell other people what is happening in your head and why you struggle so often with just being a person. It's OK to ask other people for help, to tell them that you need to be reminded that they love you and that they won't run away. Those who care about you won't run from you when you show them who you actually are and what is happening to you on the inside. They've wanted to help this whole time. You don't need to be afraid of losing those you love by telling them the truth. If they're worth keeping, the truth will only help you keep them.John M.
Don't be nervous about what other people would think about you!Elle
I think about this question all the time. I'm not sure I would try to change anything because I like myself now well enough not to want to risk McFlying any aspects of my personality. But if I had less resolve/self love, some tension points I'd consider: 1) telling my younger self to make up with my mom before a decade passed and our estrangement had cemented; 2) Don't worry about trying to have sex because you're not going to suddenly trick yourself into being comfortable with it just because you do it a bunch; 3) Troll your frienemies more because you won't always have frienemies and you might as well have some fun with it; 4) Anorexia is just gonna fuck up your metabolism and make you fat in the long run so you might as well avoid it and have enough energy to study; 5) Buy a warm winter jacket, you putz!Jo K.
You are more powerful than you realize. Respect yourself.Rita C
Stop spedning money on bad bullshit; just spend it on *quality* bullshit.Hugh P
Sex is not a reward for beauty. That you aren't having sex , doesn't actually prove that you're ugly (which you are convinced is the truth)Lara
Everything changes. Good times end, bad times end. The only thing you can rely on is change.Anne P
Don't slip into autopilot in your life, career, or relationships. You're too comfortable it. You don't want to be too comfortable. Try to feel everything.
Read every minute available. Travel as much as you can. Save as much as you can. Parties are overrated. Put some money on Google, Apple, and Amazon...P E
It's good to be ambitious and to truly want things for yourself. Want for skills, though, not things. And if you want for a skill, go stand as close to someone who has that skill and be as quietly useful as possible. If you want money, stand next to people who know how to make money—not those who simply have it. Get good at fixing things. Many things that you most want are in your grasp, even including love. But it will take decades so pace yourself.Paul F.
Don't waste time with people you don't really want to be with. It might spare some hard feelings for a while but eventually things will change anyway. Accept the situation and move on. Make a decision instead of waiting for it to be made for you.
Also, jump for any travel plans people make. If you have the time and some money go do it. You won't regret it.
I would tell myself to shut up.
I am 50 and only 15 +/- years ago realized that I learned more, and thereby EARNED more, by paying attention and not by talking. Turns out I didn't know everything.....go figure!
That, and buy Apple stock.
John W
That 21 truly is a far ways away
Your mother's going to die next year. Try and make peace with her before she goes. It will save you years of therapy.
1. Do not neglect your education. You are protected and supported by your loving parents, but they are mortal, and it's hard to study when you have to work.
2. A bottle of beer in the evening is fine. A bottle of beer every evening can lead to two, then three, and before you know it, you're an addict. Then it can take years to admit it, and a tragedy to do something about it.
3. It's never too late to fix your life.
Don't worry about the small stuff - keep working hard and the rest will sort itself out.Andy N
don't cut yourself where people will be able to see the scars when the weather is nice
You are on the right track! And have some really fun years ahead of you, followed by some less-fun years. Keep being sensible but not boring, taking care of the important stuff and ignoring the rest. Jesse
That caring less about what other people think was the key to self-confidence. Fear of being embarrassed about being rejected made me super shy about asking out girls. Obsessing on why I didn't have closer friends made it harder to actually make closer friends. Concern about what people thought of me made me too eager to please and allowed people to take advantage of me. I was bullied a lot as a kid, and then depressed a lot in college, and my lack of confidence in myself was the main reason part of why. I can't go back in time, but I am going to try like hell to help my own kids not fall into the same trap.
find your people. don't settle for being the token gay. you're better than that. i SUPER PROMISE you're better than that.m.
Learn how to budget and put money in a savings account - your older self will thank you. Also: Don't waste your time on guys who aren't sure they want to be in a relationship. When a guy says your too good for him, believe him.
Don't be afraid of your heart - it'll lead you well if you let it.
Hey, you're gay! That's why you feel like you don't fit in!Erin D.
This advice, from Jeff Bridges in an interview with Terry Gross on NPR. He was speaking about his role in Hell or High Water and how he still gets nervous to the point of feeling sick before every job. But he sticks to the words his mom used to tell him -- and now his wife repeats for him -- before he begins. I've listed them out for myself as a mantra.

Jeff's Rules:

1. Have fun
2. Don't take things too seriously
3. Be prepared
4. Let it rip
Nick C
It's not always going to feel like this!Liz M.
Read Epictetus. No kidding—Stoicism changes everything. Also: give it time. Ben S
Everyone is going to sell out. You will do it less than others and it will make your life harder. Amy K.
You will find your place, over and over againMegan
don't go home every weekend, freshman year. go out, meet people, drink
You ARE ready (for whatever). Don't listen to your parents so much. Your body is fine. Stephanie C
You're going to wish away your youth. Don't eye roll, because I KNOW you will. And, I'm here to tell you, only ten years later, I wish I hadn't tried to grow up so fast at 18. Enjoy where you are NOW. Don't worry about "when I'm 21", or "when I'm old enough to". Those things are inevitable, those ages are your future. Enjoy your present; you'll never, ever get it back.Mel S.
Don't study business. You'll save yourself a lot of existential dread and a major depressive episode.Rob R.
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