Sunday, March 30, 2014

Repost: Tazi's Corner #52: Twelve Things Every 18 Year Old Should Know Before Embarking Out Into The World

Dear Readers:

Tazi ate something that didn’t agree with him and is now recovering from an industrial-sized tummy ache, so he asked (well, rather told) me to write his column for this week because apparently he thinks I don’t have enough to do around the house now that I am done with school and only putting in 40 hours a week instead of 60. I almost told Tazi to run a re-run, that I am trying to clean the house after spending the last several years giving it no more than a lick and a promise (because something had to give) when I ran across a column on non-traditional baby showers (not for me, I promise…that ship has sailed).

One of the non-traditional ideas suggested was to have an “advice time capsule” where each of the guests gives the gift of advice to the child. I thought this was a great idea for the child who has everything, because what kid really needs a sterling silver rattle? I mean seriously, will the other kids at playcare make fun of him because his rattle came from Babies ‘R’ Us and not Tiffany’s? Furthermore, I find that children who stand a scary good chance of growing up to be the next Paris Hilton could really use some sound advice on how not to end up being the next Paris Hilton and instead become the next Oprah Winfrey. Since I am far from being the next Oprah Winfrey and most of my friends could use a helping hand with the cost of that stroller they are eyeing, I think that for the average person the “advice time capsule” should be a bonus, in addition to any regular gift you give.

And if you can afford to give this as your “regular gift”
I suggest you spring for the stroller instead

So how does the Advice Time Capsule work? Each guest writes down a piece of advice for the baby to read when they get older – say their 16th, 18th, or 21st birthday; a box full of life’s lessons that you hope the child will take to heart because they are coming from someone other than mom and Dad who, as every teenager knows, know absolutely nothing about the world because they came of age shortly after the dinosaurs went extinct but sometime before Al Gore invented the Internet (gosh that line never gets old, at least not with me!).

Since I have no children of my own (I have nephews, nieces, young cousins, two adult almost-step-children, and, of course, a cat) I have decided to share my list of “Wish I Knew…’s” with you. Adults, please feel free to nod along and say things like  “EXACTLY!” and “OMG! That is SO true!” People under the age of 21, try not to roll your eyes too much (which is probably what I did when I was your age and at the age of 40 I am wishing I paid more attention).

Not all of this stuff on this list has happened to me; some of it happened to people I know or people I have met on my travels through the Community College where I work. Much of it is advice I have learned along the way from the students who have influenced me as much as I have influenced them.

Twelve Things Every 18 Year Old Should Know Before Embarking Out Into The World

1.       You are now old enough to get arrested. All that stupid stuff you did up until now really will go on that “permanent record” that your teachers always spoke of but you never actually saw. Think of it as a giant personnel file that every future employer will get to view before hiring you. Is being turned down for a job really worth tagging that wall with graffiti?

2.       The only way to get over a broken heart is time. Dating someone new isn’t going to help you forget the person you just lost; it’s only going to remind you that you are no longer with them. On the flip side, sitting at home and drowning your sorrows in a pint of Ben and Jerry’s or drunk dialing your ex is not the way to go, either. Try not to be that person; instead, try to remember what life was like before you met the ex and get back to that place. Be the kind of person your ex will regret leaving.

3.       Always put learning first; success will follow. If you try to put success first by cramming (and thus saving time and regular effort) you won’t remember a thing in the long-run. This is especially true if you are in school; by the time you graduate and will have wasted thousands of dollars and a lot of time and energy on earning a piece of paper, not a degree. Once you finish school precious few people will care about your G.P.A. Care about it anyway, since it can earn you a good deal of scholarship money.

4.       Your first job is most likely going to suck; there is a (much smaller) chance that your second might suck, too. Rather than complain about it and call out sick let it motivate you to work hard so you can prove that you are worth a better job further up the career ladder. If by your third job you still hate work you either need to improve your work ethic or find a career field that is a better fit for you. While work should not necessarily be your life’s fulfillment, the thought of going to the office should not make you burst into tears.

5.       Take 10% of every paycheck and put it into savings. If you really cannot afford 10% (and I mean really, as in you are not spending $4.00 on a cup of Starbucks coffee every morning and you are brown-bagging your lunch really) put your loose change in a jar and make that your savings account. I once knew a guy who had over $2,000 in quarters in a 5-gallon Poland Springs water jug. He told me it was too inconvenient to try and spend it, too heavy for burglars to carry away, and if his car ever died it provided the cash on-hand to buy a new one. (Back then, you could get a quality used car for around $2,500. Adjust your savings accordingly).

6.       Limit your social networking and increase your face-time presence. This seems like an easy thing to do, but social networking can be very addictive, and quite honestly I don’t know anyone who is going to hire or recommend someone they know solely through Facebook or even LinkedIn. Social media is a great way to keep up with people you have met in person, so go out and make those contacts count for more than a regular opponent in WordsWith Friends.

Social media also tends to suck up all of your time...

7.       You are going to make some stupid decisions and do some really dumb things in spite of yourself. Own them, rather than try to blame someone else or, even worse, lie about it. Having a sense of personal responsibility can mean the difference between being successful in life and being the kind of person who is always struggling to get ahead and never understanding why people won’t take a chance on them.

8.       Learn from your mistakes. I know that this sounds like another no-brainer, but humans are creatures of habit and tend to repeat the same actions hoping for a different result simply because it is easier than trying a new way of doing something. This goes for everything from dating the wrong person (stop looking for Mister or Miss Right in a bar!) to bad spending habits. Even a bad relationship can teach you what you don’t want out of life. This brings me to…

9.       Take risks. My nephew likes to say “You gotta risk it to get the biscuit” which sticks with me because I like biscuits. Do your best to make your risks calculated ones, but even a stupid risk can result in success with a little luck…and if it results in failure, you will quickly learn not to like the feel of it, so that could work out in the end, too.

10.   Make your experiences meaningful. Nothing is worse than going through life on auto-pilot and wondering when something interesting is going to happen. Find interest by creating it. Ask questions – you might be surprised to discover that your boring old ancient auntie who you only see at the annual family reunion was once a Las Vegas showgirl!

And the party just got a lot more interesting!

11.   Follow your instincts. Human beings are the only creatures on earth that ignore their instincts. If you have a feeling that something is a good risk to take; that you should take one path over another; or even that the decision you are about to make is a bad one, trust that feeling. Push away your fears, and if the feeling is still there, trust it. On the other hand, you should not be afraid to…

12.   Face your fears. Everyone has at least one irrational fear. When something is keeping you from doing something you either want or need to do, you need to build a bridge and get over it. If public speaking is what slays you, take a class in how to do it right. If you have a fear of flying, remind yourself that you are more likely to die in a car crash than a plane crash (wouldn’t that be ironic?). Irrational fears hold us back from truly living; embrace life for all its worth and you will never have to live with the regret of what you might have done.

Ask Tazi! is ghostwritten by a human with a Bachelors of Arts in Communications. Tazi-Kat is not really a talking feline.

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