She is not the only one you will ever love or will love you
At that age, we make mountains out of molehills and molehills out of mountains and we can’t tell the difference, not until years later when the damage is already done and fully irreversible. If I’d known this, I would have been kinder not only to her, but to myself, because that’s the thing about heartbreak, it’s the unkindness you heap on yourself that hurts more.
Your parents were right 90-95% of the times you thought they weren’t
Truth is, I was a self-righteous, headstrong, stubborn teenager – even if I knew this, for sport I would’ve dug my heels in. I probably would have been slightly more polite about it, though. My poor, long-suffering parents.
Do a varsity sport
I was athletic but never played on a school team for a number of reasons. I like to think I would have developed better habits: getting up earlier, eating better, having a solid gym routine… I also would probably have been more in touch with my body. None of these are things I don’t have and do now, but a little head-start would have been nice.
Go away to college – no matter what
Despite the ability to have 20/20 hindsight, there is very little I would actually change of decisions I made the year I turned 17. This, however, is one of them. Going away to college wasn’t so much about the learning process; I would have learned anywhere and my personality would have allowed me to make the connections I needed for my career anywhere, as well.
But, I missed out on a key opportunity to gain an emotional independence from my family. I still did, eventually, but it took much longer than it should have.
Plus, dorm parties. I would have liked a few of those.
Make more mistakes
Success can be a destructive cycle, too, did you know that? When you get it right a little too much a little too quickly, it becomes easier to stop taking risks. The easy path because “the” path because why put yourself in a position where you could fail?
I’m not afraid of failure, but I wish I had made more mistakes when I was younger. Destroyed a few more relationships; dated and not shacked up; drank a little too much; legitimately crashed a car or two… Sounds stupid, maybe a little reckless, but make your mistakes when you’re young enough to recover from them and let it all go in the past.
Make more mistakes; it’s okay, won’t be the end of the world and probably will make an awesome first date story. Really.