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The biggest mistakes I made at 18 years old

By - Richard - 2nd July 2021

The biggest mistakes I made at 18 years old.

This weekend marks exactly 24 years since I left school. I’m slightly stunned by this.

This milestone has got me thinking about that time in my life when I had just turned 18 years old and I had the whole world in front of me. It was a special time and anything seemed possible.

In this video, I look at the five biggest mistakes I made when I was 18 years old and reflect on a particularly exciting time of my life.

If you have recently turned 18 years old and you’re figuring out what to do with your life, then I hope that my experiences / mistakes are ones that you can avoid.

Mistake 1: I was planning my life around somebody else.

On reflection, this was a fundamental mistake. It’s hard if you are in a relationship at 18, but this is the time in your life where you need to put yourself first, to work out what you want to do, and where you want to go.

Mistake 2: I wasn’t making stuff.

I was inspired by so many people, by filmmakers and musicians. I had a love of French New Wave cinema and Film Noir, but I wasn’t doing anything with this. Inspiration is nothing if you don’t act on it.

Mistake 3: I cared too much about what people thought of me.

“When you’re 20 you care what everyone thinks, when you’re 40 you stop caring what everyone thinks, when you’re 60 you realise no one was ever thinking about you in the first place.”

I love this quote and I think it is so true. Now that I’m in my 40s I’m happy to be in front of camera and start up a YouTube channel. The thought of doing this a few years ago would have filled me with dread. But I’m ok with it now and this is incredibly liberating.

I just wish I had cared less about what people thought when I was 18.

Mistake 4: I spent my money on things, not experiences.

Aged 18, I spent all of my money on music and films. My collection was my pride and joy. It’s not until you get older that you realise that having experiences and creating memories is a far better way to spend your money.

Mistake 5: I didn’t document my life more. Smart phones have made documenting our lives much easier. This is something that I now spend time doing every year for my family and those closest to me.

I have wilderness years between the age of about 18-22 where not many photos or video clips exist and I wasn’t writing about my experiences. I really regret this.

About the Author

Richard Nicholls - Managing Director

Before launching Swift Films, Richard worked as a broadcast TV director and editor, working on programmes for the BBC, ITV and Sky.

A multi-skilled and technically-minded filmmaker, Richard is equally at home coming up with creative concepts as he is on location filming or pulling footage together in the edit suite.

Richard is a member of Independent Producers Scotland and has a love of cats, football, chocolate and Film Noir (in that order).