Thursday, March 13, 2014

10 Things I wish I knew when I turned 18

In honor of my (not so) little cousin turning 18 I put together a list of 10 things I wish I had known on my 18th birthday. What would you add to it?


10. Travel as much as you can

Chances are you aren’t going to have much holding you down once you graduate high school. Sure you might be going off to college, but let’s be honest you’re only going to attend classes when it’s required. Make time to travel.  Take a weekend trip to a neighboring state, save up for a summer trip to Europe, and for the love of Pete go on a spring break! As you get older these opportunities present themselves less and less, make the most of your time and go now.

 9. Karma exists and she’s not always nice

Ever heard the saying ‘What comes around goes around?” Well live by it.  The good that you put out in the world will come back, but beware that so will the bad.  Do everything with integrity and selflessness, don’t have an ulterior motive, and DON’T think you are entitled.  These are the traits that will land you on her bad side.

8. It’s never too early to be financially responsible

It’s likely that you haven’t built your credit yet. You might consider getting a credit card to blow money on gas and porn, and that’s cool…but pay your bill! You might not buy a car or a house right now, but someday you will. What you do to your credit now will follow you, make sure you aren’t getting negative marks.  I’m not telling you to start your 401k today, but think about your future a little.

7.Do stuff

Don’t be a homebody, find something to do and do it.  At some point in your life you’re going to have a full time job, a family, kids, a house to clean, dinner to cook…..exhausted yet? Well get ready for it because it’s coming for you. Find a hobby, get some friends and go to the mall, make an impulsive decision. … just keep making memories.


6.Cherish your family

Yes they’re a pain in the butt and yes you’re going to learn things as an adult about your family you might not have wanted to know… but don’t let that come between you.  Always keep your family close; visit and call often. Say ‘I love you’ everyday and don’t ever go to bed mad at them.  Not a single one of us is promised tomorrow so make sure your family knows how much you appreciate them. 

5.Don’t expect life to be handed to you

Bill Gates isn’t going to walk up to you one day and hand you an unlimited supply of money.  You’ll need to work for that.  It also means don’t ask mom and dad or grandma for $20 so you can go to the movies with your friends.  Get a j-o-b.  It’s going to be hard, there are going to be days you’ll want to give up…don’t. Working for what you have means YOU get to take the credit and YOU get to be proud of what you’ve earned.

4.Be honest

Everyone lies; well Mother Theresa may have been the only exception to this.  You’ll learn though, lying is only going to get you in deeper.  Telling the truth might suck, there might be repercussions, but at least you’ve kept your dignity intact. It’s easier to walk with your head up when you just own up to your mistakes.  I promise you more times than not people are going to respect that you’ve told the truth and the outcome might not be as bad as you think. So don’t be ‘that guy.’

3. Take care of yourself

I don’t just mean crawl out of bed and put clean underwear on. I mean focus in on your health and well being and be sure you take time for you.  Stay active, eat healthy (at least most of the time), and don’t lose sight of what it means relax.  College will stress you out, the military will stress you out, work will stress you out… see the pattern?  Life is stressful at times.  Go shopping or go running…just stay going.


Don’t be shy, make new friends and contacts. Everything you do in life is going to be easier if you have connections. If you’re going to college you’ll want an internship, if you’re starting a business you’ll want clients. So join clubs, be in community organizations, and say hello to strangers on the plane.  Stepping outside of your comfort zone is going to reward you in more ways than you could imagine.

1.  Be happy

If climbing the corporate ladder, being a CEO, and making 6 figures a year will make you happy, then go for it! But also be ready to work your ass off to get there. You’ll put in long hours, spend less time with your family, and get a lot less freedom.  It might take you half your life to realize, but at some point you WILL realize it…. Money doesn’t buy you happiness.  It’s important that you enjoy what you do; you have a lot of years left to be working.  Do what you love and the rest will fall into place. 



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