5 things I wish I knew then

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Author: 
Brittany, Speak-Out Youth
Source: 
Speak-Out Youth Newsletter #2

Hello all, I decided to write this article in the hopes to help those young people who are currently in the process of aging out or who will be aging out fairly soon. Aging out for me was a daunting process as I didn't have a lot of help and I feel as though this advice could have saved me a lot of trouble and tears.

1. Failing is the best way to learn

Failing is the best way to learn. I always had a hard time with accepting this piece of advice. But when one turns nineteen and has to grow up very fast the only way we are going to learn is to fail. Failing is inevitable as we are young and we have many things to learn and the only way we are going to learn is to make mistakes and learn from them.

2. You don't know everything

No one expects you to know everything. Don't ever pretend to know everything. Learning is a big part of life and it's totally okay if you don't know everything. That's what we have family and friends for so when you don't know something use your resources wisely. Don't pretend to know everything because this is where mistakes happen. I hated taking advice from others as I thought that I knew everything. But thinking like this got me into a lot of trouble and I've since learned to ask if I don't know something.

3. Setting goals and creating road maps are really good ideas

Limiting your creativity and options because you've set them in stone is mentally and emotionally dangerous. When I turned nineteen I had a specific direction that I wanted my life to go in however I had to learn to be open to change and to be open to the fact that the direction of our lives can changed at any moment. I also learned that following one path because you believe that it is the "correct" way to go can be very detrimental to our emotional stability especially in the course of failure. 

4. Nothing worth having comes easy

Relationships take work. Customers take work. Building a team takes work. If it's easy, it's often not worth having. Surviving the first year after turning nineteen was not easy. I thought that it would be a piece of cake and that everything would work out perfectly. This is far from reality. Life in general is not easy and it's even harder when you're aging out of government care. I have to continuously work hard to pay for things like post secondary and putting food on the table. Just remember that nothing in life comes easy and if it does I would take a step back and decide if that's really the best option for you.

5. No one succeeds on their own

Growing up in a foster home I learned to do everything myself as I had to be very independent. I realized when I aged out that I couldn't handle everything on my own. There have been many instances where I have had to ask for help because I was overwhelmed and that is 100% okay. Asking for help is nothing to be ashamed of because there are so many valuable lessons to be learned and the only way we are going to learn them is if we ask for help.

Connect with other youth in and from care and youth adoptees at speakoutyouthzone.com.

Get more resources for youth aging out of care at AgedOut.com.