18 is a special age as it’s essentially the age you start to be treated like an adult by the government – even if that’s not how you’re treated at home. I brought in my 18th in a bar alongside all my closest friends, hosting a joint birthday party with a friend who was also turning 18. When I was 18 I got my drivers’ license, finished school and graduated onto uni, moved out of the home and into central London, went on my first girl’s holiday to Turkey, and essentially started travelling down a road of really discovering myself and the type of person I wanted to be – something I’m still doing now at 22. I can’t believe four years have flown by so quickly… and if I was to go back in time, there are a few things I would tell my 18 year old self.
1. Learn to be okay with being alone
When I was 17, my friend and I coined the term ‘S&S’, which stood for ‘single & sad’. Throughout the time I was 18, I was really not happy with being single and never having had a boyfriend. My friend and I would literally spend hours sat in my room trying to figure out how we had never been in relationships and if there was something wrong with us, we even considered asking a guy friend what we were doing wrong. I know – sounds insane right? Two 18 year olds wondering why they were perpetually single. I was literally under the impression that a boy would change my life. I would say I got over this some time into being 19. Being happy with being alone is such an important thing. You simply can’t live your life expecting for your happiness to rely on someone else. And when you’re so young, being single is something you shouldn’t even sweat about, there’s so many more important things in life! Let life happen – when I stopped caring (and got my priorities in order), I met my boyfriend, and we’ve now been together for two and a half years.
2. Keep your standards high
I’ve always had very high standards when it comes to what I look for in another half – from looks, to personality, to ‘credentials’. A friend and I (when we were a lot younger, of course), once even sat down together and wrote out a list of absolute musts in our future other halves, and she even told me that mine were too defined. For some reason when I was 18, I started to develop the mentality that I was searching for something that could never be found. This is typically the feedback people given to someone with a checklist of what they want. So, I started to lower my standards. I thought I could teach myself to like certain people so long as they were alright. But I honestly think feeling ‘meh’ about someone is never a great way to enter a relationship (or situationship). I got burned by lowering my standards, and then came back to the drawing board with my crisp old list, and never settled again. Ladies – never. settle.
3. it’s not by force to be the party girl
When I first started uni, I was actually very much a party girl. If people were going to a club – you would find me there. Even if I didn’t really know the group of people going (I was in uni halls at the time), if someone posted on the hall’s Facebook page that a group was going to the club, I was going to the club, too. If I could tell my 18-year self anything – it would be that it’s not by force. It’s great to have fun, but particularly as a girl, you want to be a sure of the people you’re going out with. When you’re out with a bunch of people who you don’t know too well – they don’t care for you and they don’t care for your safety. There were one too many times I ended up leaving the club alone (when out with people that I wasn’t close to only), as I was too concerned with having fun, which in hindsight I see was very dangerous. Whenever this happened, there was never anyone checking up on me, and eventually I started to realise this maybe wasn’t the route I wanted to go down.
4. Learn to stick up for yourself and don’t be a bystander to bad behaviour
I’m generally not a confrontational person. In fact, if you were to speak to a lot of my friends they’d probably tell you that, for the most part, I’m chilled af (at least that’s how it is most of the time, there are other times I feel like exploding just because people are standing on the left side of the escalator…). When I was 18/19, I was faced with a big controversial episode in my life that required me to essentially grow some balls. Without delving into too many details – I found myself acting as a silent bystander to someone that would bitch 24/7. Everyone this person came across – more often than not good friends of mine – she would pick at and bitch about. Sometimes I’d find myself mmm’ing and aaa’ing and “really?!”-ing so much, that I felt like I was just as bad as the person doing the bitching, as I was encouraging it and not sticking up for my friends. Until one day, it flipped on me. And even after I found out this person was talking about me, it still took me another few months to reach the end of my tether and eventually confront them (and even this came after they had called me ‘pathetic’ via Whatsapp, assuming I would never open my mouth to them). All that drama is a story for another day – if I ever choose the share in full – but I did walk out of that situation with a set of virtual balls. Not that I’ve become this big confrontational person, but I definitely will not take as much sh*t was thrown at me that year at this stage I’m at in life.
5. Face your fears and push yourself out of your comfort zone
In my last post I spoke in depth about going through a stage in which I pretty much lost all of my ambition and started to coast through life, after years of pushing for nothing but the best. This occurred when I was 18/19, so naturally, this bullet falls within that post. When I first started uni, I pretty much put a halt on any self-development. Whereas growing up I was always working towards being more confident, excelling in school, pushing myself out of my own self-imposed barriers – suddenly I was balls deep in my comfort zone and unwilling to get out. I was silent about my blog amongst anyone but my family – which actually hindered its growth, and in addition to this, not pushing myself out of my comfort zone led to me missing out on many opportunities along the way. When I realised I had lost all my drive – I found myself in a pretty down place. You can read more about this in my post “From Ambitious to a Coaster | How to Stay Motivated Every Step of the Way”. So, keeping myself uplifted and motivated would definitely be a tip to my younger self.