ifIknew is a health initiative for young adults that uses a multi media approach, including social media and in person programs, to address the contemporary issues that impact the well-being, self-image, careers, and relationships of people in their 20's and 30's.

If I Knew is a prevention education project that raises awareness about risky behaviors that can profoundly impact lives.

Take Your Time

When you are in your early 20’s and a high school soon-to-be senior approaches you to talk about sex, your instinct is to pretend you’re going under a bridge, have lost cell reception, and can’t hear him (even if he’s right in front of you).

Enter last Friday. A teen mentioned something about losing his virginity before his brother did, and I just stopped him. The words of wisdom (labeled wisdom by him, by the way) I left him with were the following: take your time; wait until you are ready; you are not running on someone else’s time clock. More than that, don’t let peer pressure convince you that losing your virginity by the end of high school will open the gates to respect and popularity.

Dating is not a race. Take your time getting to know the person – their heart and their mind. You don’t have to instantly declare your relationship status, have sex, or meet each other’s parents. Slow down and really open your eyes to the person in front of you and simply see where it goes.

Also, know yourself when you look in the mirror. Millennials have a thing about defining ourselves – not a bad quality. But before you begin a relationship, know who you are as an independent person. Take your time understanding yourself and exploring the world around you. When you know yourself, you can do anything.

Before I left the teen, I told him a story I’d heard about someone’s first sexual experience. This person only had sex because he was told by “the populars” that he was stupid and inexperienced. When he went back and told “the populars” he was no longer a virgin, they called him stupid once again. Why? Because none of them had ever had sex.

The biggest lesson anyone at any age can learn from this story is that being yourself and taking your time are the best things you can do for yourself, your heart, and your future. Whether its sex, a relationship, or the pressure to date, we can all afford to slow down, look objectivelyat the circumstances before us, and realize that maybe we don’t have to do things the way everyone else does.