Youth is a time to have fun, right? It is also a time of big decisions, ultimately ones that will change your life forever. I made several wrong decisions, I hope you make some right ones.
Every decision we make will have long term affects down the road, some decisions are obvious, some not so. Sometimes it is easy to see if a decision is right or wrong, sometimes it is not until later in life we regret the choices we made. If you are young your parents are probably telling you what to do, and what not to do. Although it sucks you can be sure that in some cases they are speaking from experience, and really want the best for you. Here is my own personal advice on a few important issues.
Your First Sexual Experience
This is the one you will remember most, you can only ever have one “first time”. You can never undo this experience and it will either haunt you for a lifetime or be a positive memory. Who, where, when, and even why, we have our first encounter with are very important facts. For some people there is a rush to drop the title of “Virgin”. They have an urgency, not just a sex drive, but a mental desperation to have sex with a partner.
As a girl I can only speak for myself. I do not know if the first experience haunts a male as it does a females as far as memories go. I do know that for girls, and women, the memory is strong. Good or bad. Either they come to a realization the “boy” was only using them for sex, have other deep regrets, or are okay with it.
Chances are the person you are with first, will not be your life partner. Treat that person with respect because they will be somebodies partner, and hopefully the person who is currently with your future life partner will do the same for them.
It is a one time event, that cannot be undone, or easily forgotten. It is unrealistic to simply say not to have sex before you are married, but be more thoughtful about it, ask yourself, is this the event you want to remember for the rest of your life? For heavens sake, use protection. The last thing you want is to be stuck with a baby, or disease that will change your life forever.
Drugs and Alcohol
It is easy to say “Don’t do drugs, or drink alcohol.”, but in reality few people will take this advice. In fact sometimes the more you say not to do something, the more a person is likely to do it. The reality is that both drugs and alcohol are big mistakes to get involved with. Both have a financial price tag that will drag you down, and of course the risk of dependency or abuse.
My first real boyfriend was addicted to both. I had money from an inheritance and a loneliness to be with somebody. As such, once his pay checks were gone, he used my money for his habit. He went down a road of no recovery, he took me part way down that road as well, but lucky for me, the loss was only financial, I never got heavily involved with the drugs or the drinking. In a few years of this lifestyle I saw it had nothing to gain, only loss from financial freedom, and even loss of freedom to do other things because of the dependency on the drugs and booze.
In short, the guy was an idiot, and I was a fool for being with him as long as I was. Yes I tried drugs and drank alcohol, I realized very quickly that this was a huge waste of cash that got me nowhere. If you are going to drink at least do it at home, where you are paying considerably less, and not risking your life drunk driving.
When I was young, I wanted to be a veterinarian, there were two things that stopped me, one is that I was not sure I would be mentally able to deal with people telling me to put their pets to sleep for reasons like “I am having a baby and cannot keep the cat.”. My other reason was that I felt the years of eduction were simply too long, especially after sitting in school for 12 years already.
Turns out I was wrong. I went to College for 2 years and learned how to train horses, something I loved. College was fascinating, but the job opportunities were not terrific beyond that. Two years were already gone. Although I did work with horses for some years following graduation, my life took many turns, some were brought about by my decision to be with the boyfriend I mentioned earlier. Currently I find myself at a decent, yet dead end, job. Had I invested more years in school the pay out would have been better, and I am not even referring to the financial pay out, I simply mean I would be happier in a real career.
So do not sell yourself short when it comes to education, spending a few extra years in school is worth it in the long run.
Marriage and Children
Sometimes people are in a hurry to get married and start a family. This was one mistake I know I did not make. Thank heavens I did not have kids with my first boyfriend. Make sure you really want to be together forever. Nobody thinks about divorce, but sometimes the writing is on the wall, meaning you have some doubts early on. Divorce is not only going to be hard on you, but if you have children, it will be extremely difficult on them, even years after, so many children of divorce are used as pawns.
I strongly suggest that before you start having children you make home ownership a priority. Buying a house instead of paying rent is extremely important, especially if you have kids. Children benefit hugely by having a yard they can go out in at any time, and you will have more financial freedom later in life. Myself this was one of the smartest things I did right. I currently pay a mortgage, but it is about half of what other people pay for rent on similar properties. Plus I can have what ever pets I want, and do not have a landlord running my life.The number of children you decide to have is very important. A lot of people think they want large families, but the reality of the financial commitment, and the time involved may change their ideas. For myself I knew that 1 child was enough. I am very environmentally aware and the population growth concerned me deeply. I had also heard so many people complain about how much work two or more children was. I honestly don’t know how people with two kids could not have figured out earlier that three would be more work. Don’t have kids too soon, make sure you have a plan first. Make sure you are ready to sacrifice your time and money for them. Children’s most formative years are 0-6, so these are the years you need to be home for them. When my first husband, my childs father, was alive, we worked it so one of us was always home with her, while the other was at work. Additionally because I became a single parent, I was glad to only have one child to care for. So plan your family carefully.
Now most of these thing are really common sense, but perhaps you will look into them deeper and think about them a bit more, your parents, I am sure, will have given you similar advice. They are right. So, listen to them and have a good life.