to my friends turning eighteen this year
You have seventeen years behind you, but you still have your whole life ahead of you. This, right here, is okay. The moment you realise you don’t know what to do, is okay. You are exactly where you’re supposed to be. There is no deadline or timetable. Figuring things out will come in handy, but only if you believe in yourself. Stop telling yourself you cannot do it. Start small; start little. You must know that it is not going to be easy, but it is possible.
Seeking advice is fine, but every decision, every act, every move you make is something you need to choose for yourself. Take aspiration from those who you look up to, but never, ever compare your progress. There is no one better, or lesser than you who are. There is only you. Just because others are doing it right now doesn’t mean that you have to do it also. Just because others did it first doesn’t make your experience any less of a shot. Go at your own pace.
You’re going to do just great. This is not a race. The more you try to catch up with others, the more you are going to see yourself left out. You only have one maze to figure out, and it is your own. Pressure is good. Too much pressure can be bad. You are going to be just fine, but this doesn’t mean that you have to be complacent. Nothing is going to work if you don’t move. If you don’t try new things, or if you keep yourself in that safe, little zone you’ve always been in your whole life.
You cannot keep following the path of others so much that you forget to create your own.
Relax. You are also going to travel. You’ll go from one city to another, converse in multiple languages, explore districts to countries. You’ll experience every culture at its finest. And when you do, you’re going to meet people who will deeply impact you. You’re going to converse with people who are different from you, similar to you – people who you like or might not like. There will be people who will belittle you and encourage you, who will believe in you and help you, and you’re going to learn from each one of them. You’re going to get to know them. Hear their stories. What frightens them, what motivates them, what keeps them going. And you’re going to find out that there is more to life than any of this.
You will feel pain, sadness, discomfort. But you will also feel alive, exuberant, human. Sometimes you will mess up and make mistakes. You are going to fail, be misunderstood, get ragged. You’re going to get tired. But you are also going to realise that it is okay to fail. You will be telling yourself to rest on days you lack motivation, feel the ugliest, or have the smallest of hope, but you are going to acknowledge that giving up won’t be your best option. You are most likely going to lose yourself in the process, but you are also going to find yourself there. You are going to create something for yourself and for the people you love. You’re going to tear yourself into pieces pursuing after what you want, and learn to love yourself for it. And it will be the best damn thing ever.
You are going to fall in love. One day. It could be a few years from now. Or maybe tomorrow. Next week. Or who knows when. You are going to make yourself believe in love again. Because you are not as cold as ice as you would like to think. You are a product of combined heartaches, growing wisdom, and rational hope. Can you count how many times you told yourself and other people you are never going to fall in love again? Can you count how many times you lied and knew it? You are young, and I don’t need to say more.
You are going to have a love-hate relationship with life. You are going to be miserable for days, but on other days, you are going to feel so in love with life. You are going to have to experience everything this life has to offer. I hope you experience it to the fullest. And I don’t just mean sky diving, or meeting Barack Obama and Harry Styles, or getting drunk, or getting tickets to a football game which you have zero knowledge about. You are going to breathe and feel your heart pumping your blood, you will get goosebumps at every romantic movie or rock concert you see. You are going to feel pain when close friends move away. You will feel joy when you finally get offered that job you have always wanted. You are going to feel broken when you see your loved one’s cry. You will feel gleeful when you kiss someone new for the first time.
You are going to find out that no experience is identical to anyone else’s. Some are relatable, but no two experiences are utterly, downright the same. That is why it is important to have your own. Not only will they teach you the best and most striking lessons, they will also make you feel alive. And truth be told, I don’t think anything really compares.
This is literally a journey you are supposed to be taking. Consider yourself the driver, and your friends and family the passengers. No matter what other people tell you, no matter which way your passengers tell you to go, you are in charge of something that they aren’t – you are in charge of the wheel. You are the driver of your own car the same way you are a passenger in another person’s car. Make every ride worthwhile.
You’re eighteen. Stop doubting yourself. What could possibly go wrong?
All the love in the world,