When I was a young girl growing up, being an adult looked like so much fun.
I listened to my cousins talk about their boyfriends and couldn’t wait for the day when I’d have one of my own. I would watch movies and see young adults in their own apartments, going to parties and taking vacations and most of all being able to live their own lives each day – not one that their parents had prepared for them. But now as my 27th birthday is a couple days shy of being a month away, I find myself feeling just the opposite.
While I look forward to the day when I’m a wife and a successful business owner (still undecided about kids) and I’m able to travel with my husband to all the places I’ve saved to my Pinterest “Adventures” board, every now and then an overwhelming feeling of nostalgia creeps in and makes me wish for a split second that I could relive some of my happiest moments as a child…and then there’s always those things I want to do over.
I wasn’t a bad kid by any means, but boy was I a sneaky teenager. I got into lots of compromising situations because I wanted to do things my way and by the time I got to college, I had given up (most of) my sneaky ways and fell into my role as an adult. However, one reoccurring theme in my life since I’ve grown in my spiritual walk is that I should’ve listened to some of the advice that was given to me.
1. Don’t be in such a rush to grow up.
I heard this so many times but I never stopped rushing. I understood what the person meant when they were telling me these words of wisdom, but I never took the time to really think about it.
2. Wait until you’re married to have sex.
I’m proud to say that at 26, I’ve managed to keep my “body count” to a single digit number but even still, I do regret not waiting until I was married to share that level of intimacy with my husband. Now that I’m grown, sex has become so extremely sacred to me and at the very least, I wish I would’ve waited to share that moment with someone I knew without a doubt that I was in love and loved me back as much.
3. Don’t get a credit card.
I’m not totally against credit cards, but I got one as soon as I turned 18 (which was a few months after I took the photo above) and it was a huge mistake! I had the money to pay my minimum each month but I was irresponsible and I stopped after the first few payments. So yeah, here I am almost ten years later finally getting the credit card issue resolved.
4. Don’t get in a serious relationship so early.
While I loved my high school/college sweetheart and we’re good friends to this day, I should’ve listened to this piece of advice (I think he’d agree that he should’ve listened too). Relationships are a distraction and the last thing a teenager needs is a distraction of that magnitude. By us being so serious before we even got to know ourselves and what we really wanted out of life, we ultimately ended up hurting each other. I think I can speak for the both of us that the experience was definitely a learning one for future relationships but we should’ve been more focused on school and our personal development.
5. Your parents are not your enemies.
I think most teens grow up thinking that their parents have some secret beef with them. I thought my mom was the strictest mother in the world and even though she went overboard at times, I have to give it to her…she did a great job. I know now that what she was really doing was protecting me from lots of danger and unnecessary problems and she kept me on the right path. Thanks Mom!
6. Don’t worry about pleasing people, aim to please God.
I spent many years being a “people pleaser.” I wanted everyone to like me and I lost myself in the process. I didn’t give in to peer pressure or anything but I wasn’t always true to myself in all situations.
7. Don’t take out student loans just for a refund check.
Lawd! I don’t even want to say how much I owe in student loans and I had scholarships! I remember my very first student loan refund check – it was a little over $900. All my friends had checks in the thousand dollar range and I wanted checks that big too! So what did I do? Like an idiot I took out more loans (I didn’t really need them) so I could get bigger refund checks (which I blew). SMH. I also wish that I would’ve saved a portion of my income from when I first started working at 16 and used it to go toward my college expenses.
8. Make sure you have a relationship with God.
I’ve always known The Lord, but I didn’t take my relationship with Him seriously until about two years ago. I thought because I prayed and felt bad when I went against the Bible that I was a Christian. Now that I’ve grown spiritually, I wish I would’ve known God like I know Him now. I wouldn’t have felt so lonely and depressed at times…I would’ve known that I was good enough to be loved and treated well…I would’ve saved myself a lot of stress because I know that He is a provider and He is holding my hand through every tough time in my life.
9. Save your money.
I touched on this a little on number seven but I wish I would’ve splurged less and saved more. I wanted to go on trips, buy new clothes, have all the latest gadgets and I ate out at my favorite restaurants all the time. I’ve wasted so much money on things I can’t even account for and those dollars could’ve been used to invest in my businesses.
10. Relax and enjoy the ride.
This may seem like the opposite of this entire article but there is a such thing as taking life too seriously. There have been times that I couldn’t even enjoy myself because I was trying to be too serious or too grown. Sometimes you just have to let loose, laugh and live in the moment. Life will never be perfect so it’s OK to loosen up.
Even though I wish I would’ve listened to these pieces of advice, I’m still thankful for where not listening to them has brought me. I’m confident that everything happens for a reason and I’m content with not being able to go back in time because every mistake I made shaped the person I am today.