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Solid advice for an 18-year-old leaving home

By Jordan Ormond  |  Posted Aug 14th, 2012 @ 7:37pm


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SALT LAKE CITY — What do wish you knew when you were 18 years old? And I don’t mean in the academic, memorization sort of way. What are the things you wish you really had an understanding of before embarking into life as an adult?

It’s a loaded question, isn’t it?

Ruthie Armstrong, a Pleasant Grove mother of 5, recently mused over answers to that very question in a blog post for FamilyNews.com. With her 18-year-old daughter a week away from heading off to college, she thought it the perfect time to share a little advice she wished she had understood as a young college freshman.

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The items on list, “18 things I wish I knew at 18,” range from pieces of practical advice to cautionary words of wisdom. Some are items most people “know” but don’t really understand until long after the advice is needed. Others are items helpful to a young student, but also overflowing with implications for more seasoned adults.

For example, No. 1 on the list: Go to class every day. Armstrong writes, “It's so easy to skip one class and then two, but pretty soon you're so far behind that it's almost impossible to catch up.”

How many of us would have been much better off — in both stress reduction and grade outcome — if we had just gotten ourselves out of bed on time and went to class every day?

Likewise, it’s easy to emotionally and mentally check out as adult — at home, work, even life. Think of the happiness we could bring into our lives by just “showing up to life every day,” ready and willing to do what is asked of us, not stressed about what happened yesterday or what will come tomorrow.

Then there’s No. 11: Live on a budget. “Closely monitor your monthly expenses, such as rent, food, utilities, entertainment, gas, etc.,” Armstrong writes. “Get a bike — and a helmet — and ride it as much as you can.”

Online Poll

What's the most important thing you wish you had understood at 18?
1. Go to class every day
2. Stay in school and graduate
3. Live on a budget
4. Avoid debt, particularly credit card debt
5. Date all kinds of people, not necessarily the best-looking ones
6. Don't settle — for anything, especially a spouse
What's the most important thing you wish you had understood at 18?
1. Go to class every day
2. Stay in school and graduate
3. Live on a budget
4. Avoid debt, particularly credit card debt
5. Date all kinds of people, not necessarily the best-looking ones
6. Don't settle — for anything, especially a spouse

While getting a bicycle to tote around a family of four probably isn’t practical, living on a budget is. Personally, I am far from perfect in this area, but I can understand the significance of this advice. Unexpected events like paying for a car repair (when your driver-side window won’t roll up or down), or a trip to the emergency room (when your 3-year-old daughter thinks eating poisonous berries is a great idea)m are a lot easier to handle when you haven’t spent more than you’ve earned and you have a little money put away for a rainy day.

Finally, No. 15 on Armstrong’s list: Don’t settle. “Everyone of us wants to be adored, to be the most important thing in the world to a special someone. Be picky!” Armstrong writes.

Whether in marriage, family life, work, or in our own personal goals it is so important not to settle for anything. As a young, inexperienced 18-year-old it’s hard to understand where your life can take you if you truly believe you are special and deserve everything it has to offer. Settling only limits those posibilities.

There is much more to Armstrong’s list of 18. To enjoy the full extent of her thoughts and advice, visit http://familynews.com/18-things-i-wish-i-knew-at-18/

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