This post was written for inclusion in the monthly Carnival of Natural Parenting hosted by Code Name: Mama and Hobo Mama. This month our participants have written letters to themselves. Please read to the end to find a list of links to the other carnival participants.
So much to say and so much that I wish I could tell you but you need to experience life for yourself.
You are 18 years old and you are just beginning your life as an independent woman. You have a lot of self-doubts. You have no sexual experience and you don't know what you want to do with your life. That is A OK!
Keep your independence a bit longer. Don't kiss the first guy who presents yourself. It won't be what you thought it will be. It will be incredibly wet and a bit disgusting. As in wipe off your face with a towel. You waited 18 years, waiting a few more won't be terrible.
When you do start dating, don't let his goals define your goals. It is ok to be smart so be smart! You love to learn so learn! Have fun having discussion about literature, religion, and science. Enjoy those conversations, enjoy the challenge they present to you, and enjoy how they compel you to learn more. Don't shy away from it. Don't change who you are because you think you need to be someone else to find love. The person who loves you will love you and won't want you to change. He will love you and your intelligence and want you to be an even more of you.
Travel! Travel! Travel! Yes, there is a cost, but what you will gain will far exceed the cost of not working at a fast food restaurant for the summer. Find an a summer internship and go for it. Learn everything you can and meet new people. These people will one day help you find yourself and your career path. Travel anywhere and anywhere for any reason. Go on Alternative Spring Break Trips, send time traveling abroad by yourself and with groups. Explore and learn about yourself and the world in which you live. Stay with friends, on couches, in tents - just go and be.
Learn about money and finances. Credit cards and debt are NOT your friends. They will pretend to be but they aren't. Figure out how much college will cost and pick a career where you will make more money your first year out than what you owe for schooling. Trust me, you don't have to owe 250,000 and make less than 40,000 a year. The stress isn't worth it. Plus, if you are debt free, you have freedom to do what makes you happy rather than feeling pressured to work multiple jobs to support your student loan habit. Save early and put your money aside now and don't touch it until you retire.
Make lifelong friends. Friends that you can rely on and that will always be there for you even if it is a phone call away. You will want these friends as you navigate marriage and motherhood. Not having them is very very lonely. Make friends and be a friend - don't forget that friendship is a two way street. Be the person who always answers the phone in the middle of the night to just listen or to provide advice. There will be plenty of times you will want to a have a friend like this.
Be real. It is ok that you don't know what you want out of life. Heck, you still don't at nearly 40! Life will be exciting without knowing the next chapter. Roll with it.
Visit Code Name: Mama and Hobo Mama to find out how you can participate in the next Carnival of Natural Parenting!
Please take time to read the submissions by the other carnival participants:
- Dear Me. — Meegs at A New Day writes to her decade-younger self offering a good reminder of how far she's come, and she addresses some fears she wishes future her could assuage.
- Reflecting on Motherhood with Parental Intelligence: A Letter to Myself — Laurie Hollman, Ph.D. at Parental Intelligence writes about raising her two loving, empathic sons with Parental Intelligence and finding they have become industrious, accomplished young men with warm social relationships.
- A Letter to Myself — The Barefoot Mama writes to herself in the moments around the birth of her daughter.
- A Letter to Myself — Holly at Leaves of Lavender offers a missive to herself in the past... three years in the past, to be precise, when her little one was only four months old.
- Dear me: Nothing will go the way you've planned — Lauren at Hobo Mama gets real with her just-starting-parenting self and tells it to her straight.
- A Letter to the Mama Whom I Will Become — Erin from And Now, for Something Completely Different writes a letter to the Mama whom she will one day be, filled with musings on the past, present, and future.
- Dear Me of 7 Years Ago — Lactating Girl at The Adventures of Lactating Girl writes to her pre-baby self telling her about the whirlwind she's about to enter called parenting.
- Talking to My 18 Year Old Self — HannahandHorn talks to herself as she is just entering college.
- Dear highly sensitive soul — Marija Smits tells a younger version of herself that motherhood will bring unexpected benefits - one of them being the realization that she is a highly sensitive person.
- Talking to myself: Dear Pre Stoneageparent — Stoneageparent enlightens her pre-pregnant self about the amazing transformations life has in store for her after having two children
- Dear Me: I love you. — Dionna at Code Name: Mama wrote herself a few little reminders to help her be at peace with who she is in the moment. That may give her the greatest chance of being at peace in the future, too.
- My best advice to the new mama I was 8 years ago — Tat at Mum in Search shares the one thing she wishes she'd figured out earlier in a letter to her 8-years-ago self (that's when her first baby was 6 moths old).
- A Letter to Myself — Bibi at The Conscious Doer sends a letter back in time eight years to her darkest moment post partum.
- To me, with love — Jessica at Crunchy-Chewy Mama makes peace with her past and projects what a future her will need to hear.
- To Myself on the Last Day — Rachael at The Variegated Life tells her panicked last-day-before-motherhood self not to worry.