Congrats to my hip-to-the extreme cousin Jake who graduated this year and is now a full blown adult. Craazy. I think back to when I was that age and thought I knew everything and well, the fact is, I am much the same person now that I was back then, I just know a couple more things.
I hereby bequeath my pearls of wisdom from my vast experience in the real world.
Pearl #1 When you are eighteen, dating men who are eighteen is not at all what you are interested in doing, but it's probably what you should stick to for a while until you get your feet wet. 18 yr olds are good to practice on, they are just like puppies and they are about as harmless. They will follow you around loyally around with the hopes that you will scratch their bellies. This is what you should aim for. They also have an insatiable appetite, so have lots of kibble available, but dole it out one. piece. at. a. time.
Pearl #2. Move out! Many (including your parents and grandparents) will try to extol the virtues of mooching for a couple more years while you get established, but in my experience, nothing teaches you money management quicker than the fear of being evicted or having your telephone and utilities cut off for non-payment. Life experience requires just that; Experience. Your parents' couch will probably still be there when you inevitably bankrupt yourself and have to live on vending machine Cheetos bought with scrounged change from a friend's couch. So get out there. Fall on your face and get it done with already. All these thirty year olds who are just starting to get out in to the real world make me wanna puke.
Pearl #3. Do all that crazy shit. Get a job in Alaska. Play in a rock and roll band. Get married then annulled in Vegas Ala Britney Spears. Now is the time. Once you have kids is NOT the time. So do it now. P.S. Don't have kids yet. Not yet.
Pearl #4. One should waitress at some point. It keeps you humble.
Pearl #5. Just because you're doing all that crazy shit, doesn't mean you've lost your head completely. You know what's right and what's stupid. Stay away from the really stupid stuff. Your adult self will thank you for it. No regrets. It's all about the journey.
Pearl #6. Know that you are loved and that I have plenty of Cheetos.