Self

The Brilliant Advice My Mom Gave Me When I Was 18 That Still Hits Home

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mother and daughter on beach

My mom has always given me solid advice, even if it was something that I did not want to hear.

One piece of advice that stands out to me is something she has told me frequently over the years and has stuck with me.

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Here's the brilliant advice my mom gave me when I was 18 that still hits home.

What you want at 18 is not what you will want at 25, and what you want at 25 is not what you will want at 40.

Of course, hearing this advice as an 18-year-old at the time, I was not about to mind any of that.

I knew what I wanted to do with myself. I knew who I wanted to spend the rest of my life with an on-again/off-again high school sweetheart, because surely nothing would ever keep us apart, right?

I was 21 when he and I mutually realized we were running in the same circles and getting nowhere but tired in the process. But, then I met my future husband the same year, whom I married at 25.

And later divorced at 37.

This is not to say people cannot find kismet earlier in life. But the core being of the message is that you continue to grow and evolve as you get older. It encapsulates the essence of self-evolution through life’s stages.

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Relationships will enter and exit our lives, romantic or otherwise.

For me, at 18, there was an undeserved sense of certainty in my life path, which shifted over time, but the rigidity and certainty remained until I reached my 30s. My wants and needs changed. And that can be scary when those wants and needs no longer align with a world you have built for yourself.

Change can be challenging to accept. However, personal growth is an ongoing process. Our experiences act as catalysts, fueling changes in our beliefs, aspirations, and relationships.

Sometimes, change aligns with a partner’s evolution and fosters growth. However, in other instances, the trajectories diverge, leading to the recognition that individual paths might diverge.

Which is okay!

It takes courage to accept these divergences and to acknowledge that growth can cause separation. To acknowledge the beauty in personal evolution, the fluidity of human connections, and the acceptance that life’s journey might lead to unexpected detours.

We must embrace growth with flexibility rather than rigidity.

As I noted before, this advice is not about negating the possibility of finding lasting connections early in life; rather, recognizing the malleability of desires and the inevitability of change.

Embracing the evolving self and the evolving nature of relationships can offer liberation from the fear of outgrowing or being outgrown (or simply growing in a different direction).

   

   

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It is okay for paths to diverge.

It is okay to recognize that what we wanted at 18 might not align with our wants and needs at 25 or 40.

This realization celebrates the complexity of human growth, the beauty in embracing change, and the strength in acknowledging that our stories are chapters in an ever-evolving narrative.

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Miki Anderson is a licensed clinical mental health counselor in North Carolina with in-depth knowledge of anxiety, depression, trauma, ethical non-monogamy, and kink lifestyles.