Ask Lauren: Dear 18-Year-Old Me…

Ask Lauren: Dear 18-Year-Old Me...

Those of you who were Laguna Beach fans may have realized that it’s officially been 10 years since my friends and I graduated high school and went off into the ‘real world.’ So crazy! In light of my 10-year reunion, I’ve been doing a little reflecting. I recently received the below question to my email inbox, and decided to share the answer with everyone:

What are three things you wish you could tell your 18-year-old self?

Well, 18-year-old Lauren, here’s my advice…

1. Wear sunscreen!

This is an obvious one. When I was a teenager, tanning was the mode du jour and I was all about getting that sun-kissed (or tanning bed orange…) glow. I felt invincible, and never thought twice about the skin damage caused by UV rays. Nowadays, I’ve learned to embrace my natural skin tone in the hopes that it will mean less wrinkles and a lower risk of skin cancer as I get older. I never leave home without my SPF.

2. Enjoy being young.

They say that youth is wasted on the young, and I couldn’t agree more. When I was 18, I was in a hurry to grow up. Instead, I wish I would have taken a beat to just enjoy being young. So many things are new when you’re that age and the level of responsibility is still low. It’s important to enjoy that phase just like any other.

3. Be an individual.

Being 18 years old means you’re at an age of many exciting changes. For so long you’ve gone to school with the same people, and everything you’ve done is with the same group of friends in more or less the same environment. Then, for the first time you get to go off on your own and make real, conscious decisions about where you want life to take you. You get to choose your school, your major, and what kind of person you’ll become. So when you’re making these decisions, be an individual. It’s the best way to discover who you really are.

There you have it!

What lessons have you learned in the last 10 years?

Share them in the comments.

XO Lauren

Photo: MTV
Categories: Ask Lauren, Contributors, Grow, Lauren Conrad
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  • Cassidy Short

    I TOTALLY agree with the “wear sunscreen” and “enjoy being young”! So many are in a hurry to grow up, you don’t realize how lucky you had it when you had almost no responsibilities :)



  • Jessica Gonzalez

    First of all–congratulations on your milestone! I loved watching Laguna Beach and subsequently The Hills, and yes, I understand where you’d advise your younger self such.

    If I could go back in time, I would tell myself to follow my heart. Many years later, I am finally getting around to doing so, but when I was younger I was heavily influenced by my mom. While I love her and I know she had my best interest in mind, I know now that I need to make my own decisions, even if not the best, learn from them and grow into the woman I am meant to be.

    Thank you so much for sharing!


  • Grace

    I love that throwback photo! Wow, I can’t believe it’s been so long for you already…the wearing sunscreen tip is so important! 😉

    Every Day In Grace

  • Laurel Loves

    I really love this post, Lauren, every word I can relate to as we are of a very similar age. Oh to be young again!!!!

  • Vicky Valencia

    Love this. Good for all of those in high school, the young adults and even the beautiful older (than us) women like our mama’s 😉 I think over the years I’ve learned to love my body. I once read something by Marcia Hutchinson that said, “If you talked to your friends the way you talk to your body, you’d have no friends left at all”. It has taken me years but I’ve learned to speak more positive to myself. It’s tough because we’re all our own worst critic! Also, the sunscreen. I think if you’re a teen, tanning is the thing, ha! I think I’m still learning to love my skin color even though I’m very light. I really like this post. It helps me remember to take a step back and stop trying to analyze myself so much!

  • Lifeplus1

    I wish I could have told my 18 year old self to appreciate the small things in life and that happiness is the key to everything great. My life changed so much once I finally figured that out. I just wish it hadn’t taken me so long.

    V @ Life+1

  • pretty little things

    I love how you posted this!! I’ve been binging on Laguna Beach and The Hills the past few weeks – it never gets old! It must be weird though watching yourself at the age in comparison to where you are now! xo

  • arielle q.

    oh my goodness, I loved laguna beach! it was undoubtedly my guilty pleasure. if I could go back and give myself any advice, it would be to realign my priorities. popularity means nothing ten years down the road.

    love, arielle
    a simple elegance

  • claire

    Ive learned not to rush into relationships im a single mum and im enjoying being a single mum and spending all my time with my Lil girl.x

  • Mrs.K

    My lesson would be:
    1.Dont worry so much about what other people think of you. Life your life and be yourself.
    2. The cool boys in high school isnt really all that cool in the real world. Rather spend more time with your friends.
    3. Your body is awesome. You are not fat!

  • April

    1) You can only ever really count on yourself
    2) College, college, college and live while you are young…go out and do things, see things and then have a family..not vice versa, like I have
    3) You are not promised another day, another minute, another second….make every one count

    • SS

      Love #1. Totally true.

  • Stephi

    1. Stop worrying about what you look like!
    2. Never let people walk over you
    3. Don’t be afraid of the future

    P.s You are such an inspiration and have been for the last 10

  • Wisdom

    I would tell myself that what my parents were telling me was a result of their wisdom and that someday I would try to impart that same wisdom on my kids. As much as you feel that you’re parents just don’t understand…they understand more than you know. Take advice from those who have walked in your shoes!

  • Amanda R. Sheahan

    My Lessons Would be:

    1.) Be nicer to your parents when they give you advice. They actually know what they are talking about.
    2.) Don’t waste your time on that one boy in high school. Your 18 year old self thought he was the love of your life, your 26 year old self knows better.
    3.) Focus on being healthy, not just skinny.

    • Jessica Chauhan

      These are brilliant. Exactly what I would tell myself too.

    • Theophania Cruz

      OMG! The 18 year old boy reference is the number one thing I wish I had known…. Youth wasted on a guy I don’t even know anymore. 29 here with a family still trying to finish college… Because I apparently prioritized a boy over success…. Unwise. Oh well !

      • Dustón McCreary

        Unfortunately that’s all too common among teenage girls.

        • Samantha Brown

          I totally agree but also, hindsight is 20/20 and in my opinion these mistakes are what shape us and if we don’t make them in our teenage years we’ll make them when we’re older and there are more serious consequences.

          Love Amanda’s advice!

          Sam xx
 – how to make the most of your twenties

          • Guest

            I couldn’t agree more. I’m glad that I learned these lessons but If I had the chance to do it over again I would be lying if I said I wouldn’t change certain things. As long as we don’t repeat our mistakes I think we’re all gonna be okay lol

        • Swann

          Although I totally understand, I’ve been with my boyfriend since the age of 15 (I’m 23 now) so I wouldn’t say the efforts we made were wasted! I guess it all depends on the people and situations :)

          • Kerry

            And here I am at 26, married to someone I began dating at 17! I joke that I can’t really knock teenage love because of this (What will I say to my future kids about their high school sweethearts?! Ahh!). However, I did go into it thinking it wouldn’t last. I wasn’t thinking long-term, and I just wanted to enjoy the relationship for what it was. Well, here I am nine years later, still enjoying it! (Though the relationship is much different now!)

      • SS

        Theopania – Brene Brown tells an amazing story about how she thought she had permanently screwed things up for herself because she didn’t finish her undergraduate degree until she was 29 and now she’s a PhD and best-selling author. It’s never too late and you’re doing it now. That’s what’s important.

        • SS

          Theophania – sorry I spelled your name wrong the first time and can’t edit!

      • Sonja

        Don’t beat yourself up; see everything in a positive light, especially if you got beautiful children out of situations you may call ”mistakes”. You’ll make it :)

    • LBOMGthisismysong

      These are great!

    • KT

      Wow, those are seriously the best pieces of advice to share!! Love it.

  • Jennifer

    1. Family is the most important thing in the world.
    2. You look beautiful, enjoy being unique!
    3. Its ok to be weird, explore your interests and do not worry what others will think.
    4. Get an education and do as many internships as you can to discover what you want to do for the rest of your life.

    • Graceful Mist

      I love the lessons you commented! Family, self-confidence and education are important things.

      • Jennifer

        Thanks :) Love your blog!

        • Graceful Mist

          Thank you! How about you? Do you have one?

          • Jennifer

            No but I have a website !

          • Graceful Mist

            I`ll check it out.

  • Michelle

    I’ve learned to view and take on challenges in life as opportunities instead of roadblocks. Changing your mindset to one of optimism and strength instead of pessimism and being a victim promotes better self-esteem, self-worth and a better chance at succeeding.

  • Dana

    Love this and oh so true…

    • Jessica Chauhan

      Love this video! Makes me feel all fuzzy on the inside

  • Angelica

    I think my top 3 things would be:
    1. You are your own worst critic. Don’t spend so much time worrying about what someone will think of you. Be true to yourself. Own it. Love it. Quirks and all.
    2. 9 times out of 10, mom and dad were always right. In my case anyway. I have a deeper appreciation for my parents now that I’m a mom.
    3. I totally agree with the SPF thing. I became an esthetician after high school. I have seen more sun damage and skin cancer than I’d like to have seen. I used to be all about that bronzed tan. Not anymore! Pale is the new tan. Sunscreen sunscreen sunscreen! And wash your faaaaaaaace! (So I guess that’s technically 4 things. Hah!)

  • mandy

    Dont be in a hurry to be an “adult” , cause when u get there its not as good as u thought it would be.

  • Elizabeth @ ChampagneOnMondays

    I wish I could tell my 18-year-old self to make my health a priority! It’s so easy to let workouts and healthy eating slip in college, and it takes a while to make up for that!

  • SS

    Failure is a part of life – it’s what makes you human. Learn to love it. It means something even better is waiting for you on the other side.

  • Jessica

    I’ve learned that it’s okay if you don’t get along with everyone, but that doesn’t mean everyone doesn’t deserve respect. :)

    26 and Not Counting

  • Maria Belen Sisa

    1) Don’t make your main focus in high school a boyfriend! Probably one of the biggest mistakes. More than likely they will not be the one you spend the rest of your life with so spend those awesome four years learning and having fun with your friends.

    2) Appreciate your parents and their advice while you still have them. You don’t really learn to embrace this one until you don’t live with them anymore.

    3) Stop wearing so much make up. Let your skin breath and your natural glow shine through. Less is more :)

    • Graceful Mist

      I love your lessons in life especially 1 and 2.

  • Shelaine Morrison

    I would tell myself a few things
    1) Stop worrying what others think: If I wasn’t so worried about what others thought I could’ve been unstoppable
    2) You are intelligent: I spent a vast majority of childhood and teen years believing I wasn’t smart, nor did I think I needed to be smart. No one ever asked me about my future. It wasn’t until college where I realized I was an intelligent women who was 100% capable of reaching my goals.
    3) Good eating habits: the hardest thing I’ve had to deal with is my nutrition and eating habits. I over ate, ate sweets like crazy and didn’t realize that white bread was not a good “diet” food.

    I’m sure there are thousand more but for now this is what I wish I knew!

    • Graceful Mist

      I`m also struggling with 3. I`m overweight but I`m currently doing what I can so I can be normal.

  • Paige

    mine would be

    1) never choose guys over friends- and on that same vein, don’t be afraid to leave a relationship/friendship that you aren’t happy in or be single
    2) save $$ from your jobs, Christmas, birthdays,etc.

    3) don’t give up on something/ hobby/ a talent just because its “weird” or different because when you’re older you realize being different is a good thing

  • Julie @ Artwork by JM

    I think 2 things I would tell my younger self would be:
    1. Don’t be so hard on yourself! I’ve always been my own worst critic
    2. It’s okay to ask for help sometimes. Stop being so stubborn

    • On the Plus Side

      That is so true. Unfortunately I had to learn it the hard way… But I think in the end, this has made me a stronger person.

  • Laysha

    1.)Take more chances, fewer Regrets. Sooner than later you are an adult already. Chances toward your Future, not Being a Rebet your present teenage life. Get that high responsability job, create & open doors for yourself.
    2.) Always Listen to your Parents. They Do know it all. Remember that bff or bf they didn’t like. Yup! They Hurt u. Parents have a sense for the Future.
    3.)Never 4get your Roots. Morals. Principles. Even if you think it will make you look Nerdy, geeky, goody goody. Acting like a Rebel, bitchy, or like “idgaf” will only back fire you. Keep it real & love being unique & saying I never did that!

    • Laysha

      #1. Future, not just your present teenage life*

  • Kristen

    My top 3 things would be:
    1.] Save your money and learn the ins & outs of budgeting, you don’t always have to have the best of everything….
    2. Stay healthy not skinny, learn what eating right truly is and how working out benefits you (I know in college that 6am kickboxing class sucked) but it pays off in the long run
    3. Don’t take yourself so seriously, live a little but don’t get so buckwild that you make a fool out of yourself. Find a happy medium :)

  • Kels

    1. Learn to be independent at a young age. Not saying grow up immediately and do everything, but learn to make some of your own decisions in high school so that when you are on your own you are not lost and are able to make clear decisions.
    2. Stop comparing yourself to others! As LC says, become an individual. Do not compare yourself to your friend, stranger, or whoever nor try to be like them. Every single person is different, different strengths and weaknesses, as well as looks and personality.
    3. Enjoy your youth. I didn’t really get the whole amazing high school experience. I dual enrolled in college and only had 2 high school classes my senior year. I do not regret it, because everything happens for a reason but I wish I realized that I was still young and had my whole life to continue my education and start a career.

  • Brooke Ariel

    1) Your happiness doesn’t lie in others it comes from within.

    2) Never pursue a boy who doesn’t pursue you.
    3) High School and College are the stepping stones to the rest of your life, so enjoy them and take advantage of every opportunity they give you.

    • glenda

      it took me up to 3 years ago to realise #2. i will be 28 in a wk. some lessons take us awhile :)

  • Amy Breckenridge

    oh i definitely wish i could tell my younger self to wear more SPF and NOT go tanning in tanning beds! if i could turn back time… :)

  • glenda

    my 3 would be:

    1. live a little more. don’t be afraid to break the rules, take risks and get out of your comfort zone.
    2. don’t be afraid to stand up for yourself (honestly still working on this one). it’s okay to speak your mind and let people know what you’re thinking and how you’re feeling.
    3. be happy. don’t worry so much on other people. it’s okay to just think of yourself sometimes and not worry about what other people will think.

  • Sally

    As I am now also 10 years removed from 18, I would have to tell myself:
    1) You deserve to be happy. Do not waste these precious years with a relationship (friend or romantic) that does not bring you joy.
    2) Start your savings account now. Stick with it and while you’re at it, live within your means. You will not regret this 10 years down the road, I promise! (Thanks for the advice, Dad!)
    3)Every career has a starting point, don’t let those rough first years go to waste. To paraphrase Ted Turner: work hard, be cheerful, dress the part, and learn all that you can…One day when you are the boss you can get away with more, earn it!

  • Cheyenne Rae

    My three things I would of told myself is:
    1.) Be More Confident In Yourself More People Like You For You & Not Who Want To Be.
    2.) Speak Up More Because Being Heard Is Twice More Important Than Being Quiet.
    3.) Be More Involved Because It Just Shows Your Social Side More.

  • Jessica Maria

    Such great tips Lauren! My best advice is to find what truly makes you happy. Then chase after it everyday :)

  • OnestilettoAtATime

    Such a brilliant honest post! Please do more of these?

    xoxo One Stiletto At a Time

  • jessica church

    absolutely agree with these! I’m sharing this with my little sister who is 16.

  • 1gymdandy

    FABULOUS advice and WONDERFUL responses!!! Having just come back from a 40+ reunion (yeah, you read that correctly) and wondering where the hell all the years went — I’m in awe of how many of you are figuring things out rather quickly. Still, I can’t help but feel that many will dismiss the right on advice that others shared. What I know now? That life IS short, that at 60, if you take good care of yourself and stay in touch with trends, etc, you won’t FEEL 60 and still feel like a 20 or 30 something year old! But the mirror will reflect differently and you’ll wonder how the years passed so quickly. It’s mind boggling!! You’ll wish you had appreciated your youth more, and taken the sage advice of people who tried to help you – parents, mentors, etc. And if you navigate your life from a place of FEAR you will NEVER know what you can do. Don’t be afraid to “fail” — for it isn’t failure at all, but a chance to learn about yourself and others!! Carpe Diem!

  • Lauren S

    I’m only 20 but I really have to agree with all three points – there’s too much pressure to grow up and conform !!
    Mine would be:
    1) Be brave and stand up for your beliefs
    2) Appreciate those who matter and don’t bed over backwards for those who don’t appreciate you
    3) Relax, have fun, be beautiful

    Lauren x

    Britton Loves | Fashion Lifestyle + Photography –

  • Tessa Salt

    I’ve learned that I should do things when I initially think of doing them, and to be more open about who I am. And that things will rarely be easy but that’s okay…

  • kalesx0

    My Advise to my 18 Year old Self would be similar:
    1 Take better care of my body; my food choices, washing my makeup off ALWAYS before going to bed and getting proper physical activity in daily!
    2. Realize and accept that my friends today may not be friends tomorrow.
    3. Enjoy being young however plan for the future. (I got really sick when I was 18 and it lasted for a bout a year and this was during the start of the recession so finding work after was VERY difficult).

    x0x0 kalesx0

  • Emily

    1. Don’t be so afraid! This is the time to take a chance and follow your dreams.
    2. Learn to trust your instincts. They are almost always right.
    3. Believe in yourself! Anything is possible with enough knowledge and faith.

  • Lauren C

    1) Your friends love you no matter what, there’s no reason to hide who you really are.

    2) Be fearless in chasing after your dreams.

    3) Never tell your friends if you don’t like their boyfriends. They know.

  • Alyssa Rachel

    Thank you Lauren, I needed this! Being 18, I’m still trying to figure who I want to be. Number 3 could not be more true!


  • Ashley of Dream.Live.Repeat.

    I am loving this post as well as other reader’s comments. You guys have awesome advice!!
    I have learned many lessons over the years, and I know I’ll learn many more in the future, but for now, here is what I know to be true:

    1. Trust yourself and listen to yourself. When it comes down to it, YOU are the only person you can trust to be there for you and to do right by you, so really consider your gut instincts; those thoughts are in your head for a reason.
    2. Don’t over-think. While it seems like a direct contradiction to my first lesson, hear me out! I can’t tell you how many opportunities I’ve missed out or at least delayed simply because I spent too much time over-thinking what could go wrong, how best to speak my mind, or making out a pro/con list. Think things through, but not to death.
    3. Take action, whatever that means for you. Explore. Travel. Learn. Live.

  • Jjo2524

    Have fun but Never have so much fun that your not setting yoursel up for the future.The possibilities are endless when your 18 but as you get older its not that way. I know you have a new found freedom and you just want to have fun but keep your focus. 18-21 is get your self together time. If you Do that the rest of your life will be much smoother. Also be true to yourself never let anyone dull your sparkle. Your you for a reason you have your own stamp to put on the world!!!

  • Jade Harris

    My advice:
    1. You don’t have to know what you want to do in the future. There are so many opportunities waiting for you – don’t just focus on what your friends are doing – do what you enjoy.
    2. Don’t straighten your hair so flat every day. Volume is good and a little shape is nice.
    3. You don’t have to be a rebel. Sometimes listening to peoples (parents and teachers) advice can help.

  • sunshine4141

    I would tell my 18 year old self:

    1) Choose a college that you want to go to. Don’t rush into one that you hate then stay there longer because people influenced your decisions and controlled your way of thinking. If you chose the college you originally wanted or transferred to one that make you happy, you would be happy not being so jealous of all the pictures of people you see with large groups of friends. Also, never EVER rush into the first acceptance letter you receive…

    2) Stay true to who you are and don’t let people control you! You can’t let people walk all over you and influence you. People will talk crap about you because you have a different way of thinking but that’s okay because being different is a good thing. You shouldn’t have done things just to fit in. Now, you lost so many opportunities that your 16 year old self told you wanted to do when you wanted to get to college. You are studying something you don’t even want, lost a bunch of friends, and went back to your shy ways because you spend so much time trying to fit in. Now being in my low 20’s, which is still young, I wish I could start college all over again and really take the time to look and think. I want to go back and do all the things I have wanted to do.

    3) Never give up! Even if it takes you longer to get to your goals such as a goal weight or wanting to get back into dance, do it because you are only young for so long. You are only as strong as your weakest link so drop the people who tell you that you can’t do something or aren’t good enough and make sure you stand up for yourself.

  • gemsobar

    everything you said is so true esp about growing up too fast and being afraid to be yourself. but hindsight is a great thing and 10 yrs from now we will see mistakes we made too its all about learning and growing

  • Lisamorgan83

    1. Some people are not what them seem. When you see the real them, let them go and do not look back
    2. Everyone makes mistakes, the important thing is to learn from them. Mistakes make you a better person.
    3. Hold your head up high you will achieve great things in your life and touch the life’s of people who are at their weakest.
    4. Be greatful of what you have not what others have.
    5. Life is short, we only get one chance at it! Live it for yourself not for other

  • Meghan

    1. You are beautiful.
    2. Be happy you can stop worrying now.
    3. Your mom is right. These are no where near the best years of your life.

  • KT

    1. Like a lot of people have posted – I would tell myself to be nicer to my parents at age 18. We’re so close now but I do regret some of the things I’ve said and done in the past. You never know when your parents won’t be around anymore! Always tell them you love them. Hang out with them. They’re actually pretty cool people.

    2. Don’t waste time on someone who doesn’t treat you right. I wasted 5 years on a guy who I kept hoping would change, because he kept telling me he would, and ultimately it resulted in a lot of damaging pain. I’ve been single for a year and as crazy as it sounds, I am shocked at how many nice guys there actually are out there!

    3. Whatever you’re going through, you were once happy before that, and you will smile again. This bit is important to remember when going through a breakup. You lived and laughed before dating him/her, you’ll live and laugh again. :)

  • Jessica (What To Style)

    OMG, I can’t believe there’s already 10 years since Laguna Beach, time flies!
    Actually, I’ve been practicing all those tips for a very very long time, it’s my routine! =)


  • Elizabeth

    My Lessons would be:
    Be nicer to your parents because they know what is best for you and like to see you succeed in life.
    Don’t waste time on that one boy in high school. Your 18 year old self thought he was the love of your life,your 25 year old self can find better.
    Focus on yourself don’t let your dreams crumble.

    • Graceful Mist

      Oh wow! You hit the mark! I so agree that a teenage girl like me shouldn`t really put all the focus in a boy. There`s much more to life than a relationship with a boy.

  • Sofia

    1) Trust mom! She knows what she’s talking about in practically any topic. Ask her advice more!!
    2) It may be flattering that a college aged guy likes you, especially since you’re still in high school, but that should be a red flag. RUN! Run as far from him as possible and dont waste 5 years of your life. He’ll end up giving you an ultimatum of him or college, and this time around choose yourself.
    3) Be nice to everyone. Not everyone is out to get you.

  • C Devlin

    Bravo on #1. As a 30 something mom battling skin cancer, I cannot stress enough to the younger generation, including my daughters, the importance of accepting who you are, your skin tone and SPF.

  • Anna Claire Hogue

    You don’t always have to argue and raise your voice to get your point across.

  • JJ

    1. Trust your parents. They are your guardrails on the highway of life. They have been where you have been and know you better than anyone. And when it’s all over, they are the only ones who will still be there and truly want to best for you. And before you know it they will be gone and you will wish you could ask for their help.
    2. Use your brain when you are young! I wish I had taken risks with my career when I still had “it.” After kids, bills, stress, my memory and knowledge base disappeared. I wish I had used it while I had it!!!
    3. Don’t be in a rush to get married and have kids. I wouldn’t trade my life for anything, but I do wish I hadn’t “settled down” so young. I missed a lot of adventure.

  • Kell

    So glad you put this up! After realising it’s been ten years! So crazy how time flys!

  • ishiibrad

    1) No, really listen dummy I know what I am talking about !
    2) Hello, are you listening yet ?
    3)OK, dummy do it yourself.

    That’s it …Your parents talked until they were blue in the face, Your teachers told you these are the best times in your life and even still you wouldn’t even listen to yourself. That is what makes life life, the good and the bad together. You really wouldn’t know good if you didn’t have bad to compare it with. I remember some of my best times were just after some of my lowest points in my life!

  • Rena

    1. Be kind to everyone and don’t judge others. You never know what someone else has been through. Spread love throughout the world.
    2. You deserve to be treated with respect and kindness. Anyone that doesn’t treat you this way is not worth your time. Follow your heart. Don’t be afraid to move on and over people.
    3. Love life to the fullest. Meet new people and experience new things. Enjoy being young and having limited responsibilities.

  • Casey Q

    1.) Be loving an compassionate to ALL beings. You never know what someone else is going through.
    2.) Question everything/explore different beliefs. Don’t get stuck in the things you think you are supposed to be doing. Don’t worry about social norms and following the popular crowd. Educate yourself on people who are different then you- this helps you gain a better perspective.
    3.) Connect. Stop being afraid to be vulnerable and let yourself feel passionate for the things you enjoy. Passion is what helps us connect to others. And connection to the universe is what helps us feel whole.

  • Kylie Johnson

    1. You have to make your own decisions and do what is best for YOU, not others.
    2. The importance of having respect for yourself and not settle for anyone who doesn’t have respect for you.
    3. Being healthy isn’t only good for your body, but also your mind.
    4. Surround yourself with people who support and encourage you, rather than those looking to hurt you.
    5. Girls need to encourage one another rather than compete with one another.
    6. The importance of a budget.
    7. You have to make sure to take the time to do the things that make you happy, and traveling is so good for the soul.
    8. If a guy ever makes you choose between him and an opportunity, take the opportunity to find another guy in addition to the first opportunity.
    9. Sometimes it is okay to say no, and to stand by that decision no matter what.
    10. Don’t worry. There’s no point in damaging your body by worrying about things you cannot change.

    • Talesha

      Love this so much!

  • Jake Mathews

    You still tan with sunscreen.

  • Elly

    Wear a physical sunscreen! Chemical sunscreen may very well do more harm than good. Sorry to be preachy!!

  • Denina Martin

    I’d add:
    1. Don’t judge people by their appearance
    2. Learn how to communicate with people outside your friend zone
    3. Listen more than speak

    Denina xx

  • LA4ever

    1. You can do what makes others happy, or you can do what makes you happy. Self sacrifice sounds noble, but wasting your life on other people’s ideals is just that: a waste of your life. So be happy. It’s so much easier than it sounds.
    2. Don’t have sex with people you don’t love. My husband was the first man I slept with, but not the only. We broke up for a while and I didn’t think sex was a big deal, but now that I’ve finally gotten my ‘I do’s’ with my soul mate, I wish I could say he was my fist and only.
    3. Be insanely courageous in your faith, whatever that may be. In Christianity there is a story about stepping into the Jordan river, and having faith that God will keep his people safe in the dangerous and rough waters. That is life. There are times you have no idea how you are going to make it through. And then there are times when things look the most hopeless, that’s when you need to have hope. That’s when you need to believe in God, and yourself, and step into the Jordan.

    • Graceful Mist

      Aww. I greatly agree with 2 & 3. As a 16 yrs. old girl, I often find it hard to be comfortable in freely speaking about God even if it often just want to come out naturally without really any intention to force Christianity to people. There are so many people who aren`t believers that thinks believing in God is a ridiculous act. This made me so restricted in the way I mention anything about Christianity. Even though, I still believe that we should have RESPECT to those who aren`t Christians.

  • Emma and Emily

    Loved this! There are so many things I would tell myself.. I would tell myself that none of the ‘drama’ at 18 will be problems when I’m older. I think that covers most of my problems really!

  • Crystal Cassidy

    I’ve learned that God is faithful, and longlasting happy marriages include two people whi work to the greater goid of the team, and choose their battles! 😉

  • Kelly

    Care less about how others view me and more about how I view myself.

  • meanteeth


    • rebmafaith

      Love this!!! With all of the mistakes Lauren made regarding boys, I can’t believe that didn’t make her list.

    • Kerry

      I think the advice to take from that situation is, “Don’t beat yourself up too badly for making mistakes!” All you can do is move forward. She should have gone to Paris, but she recovered – and THEN went to Paris!

  • Nina

    3 things I would tell my 16 year old self:
    1. Compete against yourself in everything you do. Don’t feel guilty or stupid about not taking Honors classes, your grades will thank you and community college is still college-level courses.
    2. Stay true to who you are. Forget about being friends with people who don’t care of your existence. They didn’t care about you now, they still won’t care about you 10 years later.
    3. Find something YOU are passionate about. Boys suck and you hate science, so don’t focus on either of those topics.

  • Genevieve S.

    These are wonderful advice! I recently turned 18 and am now heading into college, and I wondered for a while if there is anything I should know on how to live my life now and enjoy it.

  • Alyssa

    This inspired a whole post for me! Thanks for sharing!

  • Nicole

    Kristin… Ewww…

  • Sarah

    This is a lovely post. The beauty of hindsight hey. I’ve learnt that it’s not just about seeking success in life but finding happiness in the every day. Have a read of my blog post ‘Let’s have a chat…’ and see if you can connect:


  • Graceful Mist

    Great post, miss Lauren! There are also so many great lessons I read in the comments. Even though I`m not yet 18, I`m currently experiencing a confusing and uncertain journey in life. Thank you to those who wrote their lessons in life in the comments. ♡

  • FernandaR

    ..dont be that not choose a guy over paris! ..but i get it when you are younger it seems like that guy is soo important.. that guy i used to think i love i dont even remember him.
    i got caught in the “being skinny” thing and i wish i could tell my younger self it just doesnt matter it really doesnt, being healthy is always first

  • Artangel22

    I’d have to agree with you. Being married and quickly divorced very young…I wouldn’t change a thing. That made me the person I am today.

  • LJ

    Stop always looking forward. Enjoy what’s happening in that moment.

    You’re not invincible.

    Stop being so self-involved. Be aware of people around you. If you think you’re acting like annoying teenage girls, you probably are.

  • Cardelucci

    Make sure you find something you love. It really is true that you never work a day in your life if you enjoy what you do! I got a degree in graphic design, but after working years in the field I have focused my business back on photography as it’s what truly makes me happy to work every day!

  • Paisley

    I love reading all this advice! I find it really helpful especially since I’m 18 and I have no idea where the future will take me! : )

  • Lacey Renee

    Don’t waste your time on the drama and what people think. It’s not worth your time and energy. If you can do that at 18 all your time will be opened up to enjoy it.

  • Patti Servidio

    My Lesson;
    1) Definitely take your parents advice. They really do know what’s best for you. Took me until 25 to learn this one lol
    2) Date a lot. I don’t mean sleep around, i mean explore options and don’t settle!
    3) Don’t feed into the rumor mill. People who say negative things about you whether in front of OR behind your back, aren’t worth your time or grief and probably NEVER WILL BE.
    4) Don’t invest too much time in every friendship, spend time on the ones that matter the most, the girls you see yourself hanging with in 10 years.

  • LaRosa

    My mom discouraged me from joining the military and going to the college of my choice, because I would be away from family. I shouldn’t have listened to her. I’m 31 now, married, and expecting a baby, and even though I’m happy, I think that life could’ve been a lot different had I not allowed her to talk me out of my dreams.

  • Dotty

    Don’t be afraid to live a little. Be safe, but not afraid of life.

  • Jenn Terry

    1. Don’t have people in your life that don’t make you feel good about yourself.
    2. Speak your mind – don’t care if they like it.
    3. Find someone you trust to confide in, living with secrets is a burden. Don’t forget about your mom, she loves you more than you know.

  • Lauren

    1) Take high school seriously. No matter what your classmates or favorite tv shows may tell you, it matters.
    2) Don’t waste your time trying to impress other people. The way they see you isn’t going to matter a year from now and certainly not 10 years from now. Do what you need to be proud of yourself.
    3) Stop being so hard on yourself. It’s one mistake; not the end of your life.

  • Nicolette

    The reunion should be filmed for MTV!!!!

  • Emily Macnaughton

    Hi Lauren, I would like to ask your advice and I hope you choose to feature it in ‘Ask Lauren’ because I am struggling with this issue.
    I am 20 years old, and in my 3rd year of my 4 year double degree, which I am not liking. At all!
    I went straight from school to uni and thought I wanted to study my course of education and science but probably in the last year or so I have realised I have no interest in a career in education. I keep going around in circles on whether to continue with my education degree because I have 3 semesters to go or just defer it and continue with the science alone.
    I am not a quitter and whenever I think about it I battle with the thought of being one, making the wrong decision, or missing out on things because my friends will then graduate before me. Please help me Lauren I am in a rut!

  • Chelzzz

    Do whatever it takes to finish college! Once you have babies it’s very difficult (not impossible) to go back to school. Being a mother is rewarding, but You might end up frustrating your dreams. Follow your dreams and you will feel more accomplished in all aspects of life. Also, go to church and seek God :)

  • jpatt

    don’t be to hard on yourself! you are awesome!!!

  • Paper Doll

    Aw, I love this! I can’t believe it’s been 10 years since Laguna Beach!

    I would tell myself;
    1. Don’t stress about everything so much. Missing one night out with your friends isn’t the end of the world, and your parents making you study doesn’t make them cruel dictators!

    2. Don’t be so dismissive of the advice your parents give, because in a few years you will find yourself shamefully remembering your teenage self and cringing because you realise that your parents were actually right about a lot, and if you listened to them you wouldn’t be in the situation you’re in now!

    3. Don’t try to be something you’re not to fit in.

    4. Do not hide your interests/ intelligence because you are embarrassed, when you’re older you will love these things about yourself.

    5. Sunscreen always and give up those cigarettes NOW! :)

  • Cassie

    I’ve learned that if you really want something, you’ve got to make it happen. :)

  • PINC Internship

    I would tell my 18 year old self:
    1. Learn basic budgeting. Don’t go off and spend every paycheck you have, start a savings acct or find someone to teach you basics of investing.
    2. Your parents have nothing but the best of intentions. Respect their opinions and suggestions, don’t write them off.
    3. Beauty fades dumb is forever. Find a way to always continue to educate yourself. Through reading, podcasts, webinars, workshops, etc.
    4. A shower, a funny film and a good sleep cures all. Sh!t will happen that will make you angry, sad, disappointed, betrayed … but with time those feelings will diminish and those three little acts go along way! Xx

  • Jasmine N. Blanton

    I would tell my 18-year-old self to not worry ever because it never gets as bad as you think, that age doesn’t determine wisdom, no one knows you better than you know yourself, selfishness is good, and that if you get a bad feeling about a guy it doesn’t mean you like him and that if you get a bad feeling about anything it doesn’t mean you should conquer it or feel that you need to change. I would tell her to love what she easily enjoys and to ignore or not be a part of anything that isn’t easily enjoyed, knowing that’s just what naturally makes her feel good and that will bring her happiness throughout.

  • Krissy

    I am turning 21 in a couple of months and within the last couple years the most important I have learned is that at this age (18-21) is a crucial period for most young girls like myself where you just beginning to find yourself, experience new things and figure out what you really want and you should focus more on yourself and enjoying your youth with your family and friends and not become too involved with any relationship that consumes you at such a young age. You really should experience and enjoy your youth before making any serious decision with regards to relationships because most guys at that age are not serious and it does not last ( some do last in rare cases but generally teenage love does not last). This is mainly because you tend to grow up and grow out each other.

  • Sarah Barrett

    I love this and totally agree with Dana – that Baz Luhrman song is brilliant – one of my favourite. I have learnt:
    1. Don’t wear so much make up
    2. Be who you want to be, not who everyone else expects you to be. If you end up doing something you love which makes you happy then your true supporters – friends and family, will be happy for you too. If they aren’t then you need to question whether you need them in your life.
    3. Bad boys tens to stay bad boys.
    4. Don’t stay in a relationship because you feel you have to. Also, don’t stay in an abusive relationship full stop.
    5. Not all your friends will be friends for life, but it’s ok – you will make new friends as well.
    6. True friends are there when you need them no matter what is going on in their lives. My best friend is planning her wedding (it’s next week) and a few weeks ago I ended up in hospital and last week my Grandad died and despite how busy thry are, her and her sister (my other best friend) dropped everything to come see me the next day and have spent a lot of their spare time “babysitting” me when my husband isn’t around so I’m not on my own.
    7. I agree with everyone who has mentioned their parents. When I was a teenager, I thought they were trying to ruin my life, but actually, on reflection, a) they were just trying to do what was best for me and b) weren’t actually as strict as many of my friends’ parents. I also learnt at about 22 after moving home after college that I get on much better with them when we don’t live together.
    8. Don’t take anyone or anything for granted. There may come a time when they/it will leave you.
    9. Be kind to others (Including animals/nature). This ties in with taking things for granted. Help anyone/thing where you can. Even just in a small way is making a difference. Money doesn’t have to be involved.
    10. Karma is a b**ch!!!!

  • Starflykiwi

    As they say, people come into your life for a season, a reason or a lifetime. I definitely agree with that.

  • rhiannonchanel

    Engaged to someone I’ve know since elementary school. But we never dated till our 20s. Getting married in 3 weeks!

  • Renata Valdeolivar

    My lessons would be:

    1) Stop trying to be someone you are not. Embrace your awkwardness because it makes you unique.
    2) Stop complaining about everything, life is too short. Do something to fix what you don’t like!
    3) Be brave enough to cut the people you don’t need in your life, they serve no purpose in it and you know it!
    4) Don’t be so afraid of love, you are in for a big surprise!


  • Brenna Anderson

    1. trust god he knows whats best for you 2. choose your friends wisly it ll benfit you when your older 3. theres no rush to grow up b4 ur time.

  • Erin Reghenzani

    Love yourself and nourish yourself; the rest will fall into place.
    And not to waste time over-analysing situations – if it’s meant to be it simply will! x

  • Samantha

    1. Appreciate your parents! Don’t take them for granted, or anyone that you love for granted – friends, family, pets, significant other.
    2. Eat healthy and exercise – you’ll feel better inside and out based on the foods that you eat! Also, exercising reduces stress and gives you more energy to take on more tasks.
    3. Don’t be afraid to love; don’t fight love. No matter how broken you are, be open to love. Take that risk with whoever is willing to catch you, and even if it results with another broken heart, put a bandage on it and move on – you’ll only grow from loving someone.

  • Devin

    Here are my four I’d tell my teenage self

    1. Take care of your skin.

    2. Don’t stress about the future, I felt as a high schooler I had to know exactly what I wanted to do and I had no clue. Now I’m working at a job I love… But I do hope to be an author or go into fashion someday.

    3. Write things down…… It would be way easier to do that now if I started then.

    4. Take chances.

  • Gwendolyn

    My Lessons Would Be;
    1. don’t sweat the small stuff. I was always letting stupid things bother me.
    2. trust God with everything.
    3. forgive, forgive , walk away. there was a person back then who was mean and deceitful , and I would tell my 18 year old self to forgive and walk away and just let karma and God take care of it.
    4. choose happiness.
    God bless , Gwendolyn

  • KatherineRTCJ

    1. Appreciate your parents
    I lost my Dad last September to cancer and I really wish I’d have not moved out when I was so young and had stayed around. Listening to him play guitar and have the long conversations I really miss these days. As you’d imagine, I now appreciate every moment I get with Mum.
    2. Don’t go crazy over boys, you have plenty of time
    At 16 I moved out to remote Australia with my short term boyfriend. We aren’t as similar as I first thought. 6 years down the track, 2 kids later we are still together but we really went way to fast.
    Along with number 2 I left school 1 year early. I had tried to complete my final year through companys but they had told me it was a waste of time.
    I hope it wont stop me from becoming a real estate agent, I’m slowly getting there though.

  • Nathalee C Laing

    Did you regret not going to Paris on the Hills?!

  • Kristen M

    Yes yes & yes!

  • Dorottya

    I am now 20 and I remember when I was watching this show on mtv! That was my “life” and I always wanted to be like you! Well I live in central Europe my life is exactly different like your was! 10years later I started to watch the show again and just realized how my dream was so different like now. Thanks for being a good person Lauren! Thanks for all story and just who you was and who you are! I am really love you! Hope we can meet one day!
    Dorottya from Hungary, Budapest.

  • Antonietta

    I learned not to take any crap from any guy. Believe me if I knew then what I know now i would do things so much differently

  • ItsEwelina

    Make mistakes but Learn from them !

  • Hollie

    The girls that are nasty to you in high school will not rule your life forever and you will become more successful and happy than them. Smile and wave at the bullies and know those girls are going nowhere fast and majority will end up fat

  • Jenny Kulp

    As a Melanoma survivor, #1 makes me smile & I couldn’t agree more. Your answers are dead on. Being yourself & growing into your future person is absolutely important. Being you, defines you.

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  • Jennifer

    I always tell myself: “At that moment in time, I thought I was making the best decision.”

  • Lisa Carlsen

    1. Watch what you spend. Just because you have a great job and money coming in doesn’t mean that it will always be that way. 2. When you’re in a committed relationship, focus on the positive characteristics of your mate. 3. Spend more time with your children. That time just flies by and the next thing you know, they are all grown up and on their own.

  • Kristi Beth

    I would tell my 18 self to stop being so worried about the future. And I would second the sunscreen comment!


  • Tiffany

    Fear is a normal emotion to have but don’t let it stop you from trying new things. Ten years ago fear stopped me from a lot of things. Fear of what others would think, fear of getting hurt, fear of the unknown! Embrace it and let it ride!

  • Sevrina Phillips

    I’ve watched you since laguna beach. …I think you are an amazing individual and it would be awesome to meet you one day!!!! I’m 28 and would definitely have alot to say to myself…#1 would be enjoy life!!!!



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