“I’m a young man turning 18, and I feel a lot of pressure to leave on a mission now. But I’ve decided to wait a little while. Is that OK?” New Era, July 2019, 43.
Every worthy, able young man should plan to serve a mission. But when to leave on a mission is a decision you should make after counseling with your parents, your bishop, and most important, your Heavenly Father. As President Thomas S. Monson (1927–2018) said, “I am not suggesting that all young men will—or should—serve at [18 years old]. Rather, … this option is now available” (“Welcome to Conference,” Oct. 2012 general conference [Ensign or Liahona, Nov. 2012, 4–5]). If you’re ready and able to serve as soon as you turn 18, you’re certainly welcome to do so. But if you have good reasons to wait a little while, that’s a perfectly valid decision as well. Social pressure should not play a role in your decision, whether it’s pushing you to serve as soon as you’re eligible or not to serve at all.
No matter when you decide to serve, make sure you have a definite plan. Plan what you’re going to do with education, work, and mission preparation. Then get those who love and care about you to help you carry out that plan. The Holy Ghost will guide you as you pursue your righteous goals and desires to serve God.