Seven Things I Would Tell Eighteen Year Old Me
This next month, my husband and I will be turning 29 and, while it's a little scary to be so close to a new chapter in life age-wise, it's also incredibly exciting. My twenties held so much for me, the things I needed at that time, but I refer to myself as an old soul and connect better with those who are older than I am. Most people my age haven't gone through a lot of the stuff I had, which is fine and normal, but leaves me wanting that understanding.
I'm excited for this new year because our lives are growing, our career paths are expanding. Grayson will finally have a Christmas where he understands who Santa actually is & is enjoying everything around him. His personality is finally starting to show. Whoever said aging was scary was wrong.
John and I started dating at 18, got married at 23 or 24 (no, I don't remember...) and have never regretted it. We both dated our fair share of people before, we both truly enjoy each other's company and find value in the same things in life. We waited until we graduated college and then enjoyed marriage for two years before deciding to start a family. Now that we've been married almost six years, it's fun to look back on how much we've grown together.
Oh, the joys of growing up. You really think you have it all figured out at age sixteen and seventeen. I thought I did at 23. And when my mom told me "just wait and you'll see", I never wanted to listen. Okay mom, you were right.
So, here are the top seven things I would've told myself at age 18:
1. Don't be in a hurry to have it all.
While being married and having a family has been the biggest blessing for me, I sometimes find myself wanting to halt others who are so young and oblivious to what that truly means. When I hear someone at age sixteen say "I'm going to marry so and so.." I want to shake them and tell them this: What are you rushing for? Marriage is beautiful, it's a sacred bond - but I can promise you that whoever you love will be there today, tomorrow, next week, or five years from now if it's meant to be. Don't rush life. I would've told eighteen year old Kait to stop listening to the people in her life who felt the need to rush her - thankfully I didn't rush and I'm so glad. Babies, marriage, homes, degrees, careers, tattoos..these things are huge life decisions. Choose accordingly & take your time with them. Life is not a race.
2: God will never fail you.
I found myself so lost and confused in my career path out of college. You see, Marketing degrees have no traction without experience and who the hell wants to give a fresh college graduate experience with pay? No one, not in the New Orleans area atleast. I had to spend years teaching myself what would end up being my true passion and now, when I look back, I see every single path laid out right behind me as if God was walking in front of me, laying these stones, saying "it's okay, I've got you - keep going, just stay on this path." God would never failed me, but I would love to go back and tell eighteen year old Kait just so she knew.
To all the younger girls who message me constantly about being a designer, know this: patience is a virtue. Stay true to yourself and never give up. Be strong & resilient in the pursuit of what sets your soul on fire.
3: Be slow to anger & quick to forgive.
I never had a strong relationship with one of my grandfathers and on my eighteenth birthday he left me a voicemail that sounded like this:
"Katie, Happy eighteenth birthday. I can't believe you're eighteen already. I've really messed up and missed out on seventeen other birthdays. I've made a mistake, can we please start over?"
HIT ME WITH A TON OF BRICKS WHY DON'T YOU? That day I knew I had to change our path and I wish I go back and tell eighteen year old Kait to call him before he called me. Whatever you're angry about, whatever person you need to forgive, even if you didn't do anything in the first place..stop waiting for their forgiveness. YOU forgive FIRST...always. Even if they don't know you forgive them, forgive them. Give yourself the peace because you're the only one who can control your peace. I'm happy to say we enjoyed a small amount of time being extremely close before he passed from cancer. And I'm not happy I waited eighteen years to do my part. Don't wait friends, we aren't promised tomorrow. We aren't promised five minutes from now.
4: You'll experience hard times - embrace them.
Some of my most difficult times in life have made me who I am today. Having moved eight times in six years, having to sell our first home because my husband lost his job, and going through postpartum depression...you think these things will break you, but they won't. You think these things will make you, they will. They make you stronger, better, more resilient. They make you not give a shit. Embrace the ugly & pray like crazy.
5: Those people, they weren't meant for you.
If at anytime you experience rotten relationships, learn to cut the ties quickly & quietly. I've learned that not every person will be on my side, not everyone will be there for me. Every person will not have your best interest at heart and it's best to learn who does. But here's the thing: not every person was meant to be your person. You don't have to please everyone and everyone doesn't have to like you. The quicker you learn that, the better off & more confident you'll be.
6: Learn to say no.
I'm a people pleaser by default and I can't help it. Throughout my life I've heard people tell me constantly "you're too nice." Well, I'm here to say being too nice is sometimes a good thing. But, when it comes to saying no, know that it's okay to stand your ground. You can be a really nice person and still be okay with telling someone no.
7: Stop listening to others when their opinion isn't valid.
Opinions are like...you know the saying, everybody has one. Where you are in life is your own choice. When you graduate high school, people will say "wait until you graduate college." When you graduate college, people will say "wait until you get married." When you get married, people will say "wait until you have kids." And then, you have kids and people say wait until you have two..or three..or four. And my personal favorite: "when are you going to have baby number two?" Nonsense. Total nonsense. Your path is your path and we all have a unique one. Know that there is no criteria you're supposed to meet by age 20, 30, 40, or 50. There are no boxes to checkoff. If you've reached thirty and have no kids, are single, and loving your career - then you go! That's incredible. And the same goes for the opposite. We are all just trying to make it through this life - let's learn that moms don't need opinions we didn't ask for just like fitness professionals don't need me to tell them how to do a deadlift. Everyone is different, and that's what makes us all so amazing in this life.
Whew - those were deep. What would you tell yourself at age 18? I'd love to hear!