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12 Things I Wish I Could Tell Myself After High School Graduation

High school. What a glorious season of life. Maybe the academics part isn’t so glorious (at least it wasn’t for me), but who looks back on their four years in high school with fond memories of studying and homework?

When I was a teenager, academics was a gateway to the better parts of school … friends, girls and sports.

If you can’t tell, I thought I had it all figured out. I thought the world revolved around me (and in a sense it did, sadly). Then I graduated, and surprisingly life moved on. At the time, I couldn’t imagine my alma mater moving forward without my presence.

Fast forward 10 years. I bet you a dog and two cats (neither of which I own) no person at my alma mater remembers my name. With graduations occurring all over the country, I spent some time reflecting on the things I have learned since leaving high school. I want to share those thoughts with you. I would love to travel back in time to give my 18-year-old self some advice and counsel.

Here are 12 things I wish I could tell myself after high school graduation.

1.) A life of entitlement will steal your joy.

You think you are owed something because you happened to be born in America to a family that is not poor and loves you. And I get it. All your friends operate with a sense of entitlement as well. But I can tell you from experience, entitlement robs your life of joy and peace. You are not owed anything.

Your parents don’t owe you a vehicle. They aren’t supposed to pay for your school or help you through college. They choose to do these things because they love you, not because they have to.

The more you can grasp this, the less animosity and frustration you will have toward others. And the more joy you will experience moving forward.

2.) Nothing shapes the trajectory of your life more than your friends.

18-year old Frank. You are about to enter a new season of life. A season where you will make new friends. Choose them wisely. Don’t settle. Your friends will determine your future. Nothing impacts the trajectory of your life like your friends. I know you have a desire to be popular. I know you desire affirmation.

But I beg you to use a filter other than popularity when determining your friends. Look at the motivations of others. Look at the heart of others. Do these individuals love God? There is more to life than popularity and notoriety.

Eventually, your standards will raise or lower to the standards of your friends. Choose friends that make you better, challenge you and raise your standards.

3.) Worth and identity are not found in the car you drive or the clothes you wear.

Other than sex, few things drive your current culture more than money. Even though you don’t technically own anything, you still find worth in the type of car you drive, the house your parents live in, etc. Money is very, very powerful. It can (and will) overtake your life.

Stop allowing the idea of wealth, a big house and a big car to be the catalyst for your career choices. This is a terrible way to choose a career path.

I won’t ruin the story for you, but God is going to wreck your desire to have a lucrative career with tons of benefits … for His glory, of course!

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Frank lives in Jackson, TN with his amazing wife and two boys. He loves black coffee and doing stuff outside like golf and running.