From the title, you’re probably sighing over your computer screen right now. You’re thinking: “What does she know about turning 18? It was so long ago that she can’t even remember…”
But you’re wrong.
I’ve been 18 for almost a year now, and I’m still figuring things out. But one thing’s for sure: I know a lot more than I did last year. That’s what growing up is. Learning, changing, and doing things you never would have before.
This might scare you, or excite you, or both! Whether you’re on the heels of your eighteenth birthday or you’ve got some time left, I want to enlighten you on the journey ahead. So, without further ado, here are five things I learned when I turned 18…
1. It’s okay to feel confused
Of course adulthood isn’t going to come naturally. Just five minutes ago, you were sitting in a classroom. Now, you have your whole life ahead of you, and it’s nobody’s responsibility but yours. And that’s OK. You may feel lost without a teacher watching over your shoulder, and that’s OK too. You’re not the only one who feels this way. You’ll get there eventually – it just takes time.
I don’t know about you, but 18 was the age I finally learned what responsibility means. I started working, started university, started paying rent – and it was up to me to keep all these things in check. I had my ups and downs – I cried to my mum about how IT JUST WASN’T FAIR that I had to pay to live in her house. But you know what? It taught me the value of money. It taught me how to take charge of my spending. Suddenly, that new dress I had my eye on didn’t seem so important anymore…
3. Making friends
When I turned 18, it was my first time making friends myself. No longer was I tagging along with people from school. I was alone. But walking up to complete strangers and introducing myself was strangely liberating. I found a confidence in myself that I didn’t know I had. And you’ll be doing it your whole life, so you better get used to it.
4. Living without a curfew
Do you know when I first felt like an adult? Coming home at night and realising nobody had waited up for me. Come to think of it, nobody had stopped me from going out that late in the first place. Yes, 18 is the magical age you can go out to clubs and bars. You’re old enough to decide for yourself if you want to go to these places!
5. Finding myself
This last one sounds cheesy, but it’s true. Without the social constraints from school, I became more comfortable in my own skin. When you go out into the world, you learn that it’s less about what people think of you, and more about what you think of yourself. I’m still learning, just like you. But hey – we’re only 18…