18 Truths I Learned By 18 Years Old
1. You don’t understand someone’s struggle until it has happened to you.
Even then, all you have is one personal account. One page of writing, a roll of film, a 7:21 video, even a blog post isn’t sufficient to explain the experience. You could fill a book with thoughts.
2. Some life pursuits are stumps.
They don’t grow, they just get soggy with all of the water you sprinkle.
As long as I live, I will never find meaning in drawing. I can draw, but that’s about it, it will never be anything but an activity to me. We don’t rip the stump out of the ground, but we don’t contribute anything meaningful to it.
3. Peer pressure operates in small ways.
And I don’t just mean the way that drugs, sex, and alcohol makes an impression on society; peer pressure can be as small as getting in someone’s car. That’s when it’s most dangerous, when it can’t be found on a school flyer, because it hides itself, disguises itself, and it seems so small that acknowledging it and doing something about it seems nothing but a nuisance.
4. In this life, practicality clashes with dreams, but the issues aren’t zero sum.
They can co-exist. You can be a worker by day and a dreamer by night, you can find a job that makes you money and find ample time to do what you love…and a few of us are blessed with the experience of doing what we love and making money doing it at the same time.
5. Comparison is the root of all heartache, and expectation is the root of all unhappiness.
A combination of two of my favorite quotes.
6. If two people are scared to talk or don’t make the effort to communicate, the ice will freeze over, and they will not talk.
That is one of the saddest things I’ve ever learned.
7. Music with bad words does not make people do bad things.
You are not the music you listen to, and there are lots of reasons one can enjoy a certain song, apart from the lyrics. That being said, sometimes music’s only intended effect can be the shock factor.
8. There is no use in constructing the silhouette of someone you’re looking for, whether it be a romantic partner or a friend.
You’ll find joy in all shapes and forms, in people your mind never anticipated, your soul never could have dreamed. Someone will come along and shatter all of your expectations.
9. I tend to write privately with the expectation that someone will discover my journal, or my private blog sometime in the future, and that by some miraculous twist of fate, publish it in a memoir when I’m old and famous.
And so, I write with that in mind, sometimes sprinkling unnecessary flowery phrasing where I don’t need to, even if my priority should be hammering out all the thoughts in my head.
10. Life is…a battle, a struggle, a race, a metaphorical combination of every sport.
It’s a race against time that puts us in nothing but constant preparation, but it’s like we never even make it to the starting line. We’re always preparing, always waiting, waiting all week for Friday, all year for New Years, for some socially designated day to say here is an arbitrarily decided checkpoint, and I’m here. Prepare for what? Prepare for high school then prepare for college then prepare for your career then prepare for retirement then you’re dead.
11. It’s not “I love you,” it’s “I love us.”
And if you do say “I love you,” you don’t say it to hear it back, you say it to make sure the other person knows.
12. Eating alone at lunch is okay.
Everyone does it at one point in their life, and that’s an activity that truly says a lot about a person, the way they handle the situation.
Eating lunch by yourself is okay, so is going shopping alone, or attending a concert “stag”. In fact:
13. There really are no such thing as regrets.
Everyone you meet, you will meet for a reason. Most reasons will be untouched, unrealized until you think about them. Everything you do will have taught you something valuable.
14. Today will be history someday, in the form of headlines or a paragraph or two in a textbook.
The Civil Rights Movement, the Civil War, Woodstock were all somebody’s “today” at some point. Justin Bieber and all of his nonsense will make history. ISIL will be history.
15. Humanity has progressed so far.
We used to think women were not equal. We used to think certain races were not equal. We used to think animals were not equal, and a lot of us, me included, still think this.
It seems like humanity is, over a great period of time, gradually becoming more accepting of every living thing on this earth. Amazing.
And soon gays will be accepted? Wow.
16. You don’t have to have an opinion about everything.
Abortion, gun-control, gay marriage. If you haven’t experienced it, chances are, you don’t know the full story. There’s no use in jumping into the middle of a war without armor or a weapon. There are too many “controversial issues” to suck up our time.
There’s a difference between knowing what something is and having an opinion about it. The former is what everyone should do, and the latter is what everyone does do.
17. Never change yourself for others.
Ugh, it sounds so cliche, but we can’t imagine ever being around anyone apart from those that we know in the present day, and thus associate them to be our “anything and everything”. We really owe nothing to these people.
Don’t change for others, change for yourself.
Remember, from Into the Wild?
I forget so often how strongly my life is influenced by society, and how it pushes me to do things that make me feel uncomfortable, that I do for others and not for myself.
There was this time in my life where I was very non-conformist, just for the purpose of rebellion. If anything was mainstream, I hated it. That’s no longer the case, and I’m just wondering, what happened? Slowly I’ve just been giving into temptation, thinking that perhaps the whole non-conformity thing was just a phase, and maybe it’s just easier this way?
Quite possibly my favorite post from your blog so far – as someone who is not yet 18, this is really insightful and pretty good advice in general, too :)
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