When you look back on your life so far, is there something you wish you’d done differently when you were 18?
It takes many years, and many ups and downs, for most of us to find our true voice, let alone find comfort articulating our truths.
The tragedy for so many of us, and one we come to see as we age, is that we have accepted the “life of should’s” laid out before us, that is, what our parents, friends, teachers, media, and institutions have told us we “should” want.
We often quiet or suppress the inner voice that aligns us with our true purpose, and we learn at a young age to do so.
At 18, there is so much we don’t know.
And yet, at 18, we likely know more than we think.
The survivors of the shooting massacre Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida found their voices in the aftermath of the horrific tragedy that left 17 of their classmates dead.
They have vowed “never again” and chose, with clarity and determination, to speak their truths, and to speak it to power.
They chose to organize, and they have been gracefully relentless in their articulation of their truth.
It is inspiring for adults of all ages to witness – as it reminds us that we too have a voice.
It may also remind us that there is a big cost as we suppress and repress that voice, likely out of fears known and unknown. We end up living a life of regrets.
So to my 18-year-old self I would say: “Feel your feelings. Hear your voice. Know your truth. Align your actions with your inspiration and true purpose”.
Easier said than done, of course!
But when we hear ourselves saying, “I should do ___”, take a moment and ponder the “should”. It is a clue that we are living someone else’s purpose when we say “should”. Why “should” you?
Instead focus on what makes your heart sing, what you truly want. Then laser focus on getting into alignment with your true purpose, without fear.
I would tell my 18-year-old self to face her fears, to feel them, to quiet the mind often enough to know what is in her heart, and to muster the courage to live in the light of truth.