On my eighteenth birthday, I had all my friends over to my dads house for a big pool party. We were about to graduate from high school, and it felt so nice to have all of the people who were close to me in the same place before we all left for college. Things were about to change — in a big way. After all of my friends left, I was driving to meet a friend for dinner and suddenly burst into tears. I didn’t want to be eighteen. I couldn’t help the sadness that came over me as I physically felt a chapter of my life close and another, unwillingly, open. Quite honestly, I’m still learning to be okay with this new chapter of my life. Just like a brand new book, the newness of the story yet-to-be-told is equally enticing and daunting.
I’ve had a love/ hate relationship with my birthday ever since. Not the day itself but the getting older part. While this all seems very dramatic, which it was, I am choosing to embrace this instance and learn from it. For the past week or so, I’ve really been thinking about what I want twenty to look like. I don’t want twenty to be as irrelevant as everyone says. I want it to be exciting! A lot of people say that after twenty-one, there are no more exciting birthdays that you have. This is so sad to me because birthdays are meant to celebrate the exhilaratingly beautiful life you’ve lived. Shouldn’t every birthday be as exciting as the one before?
Most people don’t think this deeply about birthdays, but I’m not going to apologize for that. You signed up for it when you clicked on the link to this post 😉 So, I decided to compile a list of some of the best advice I’ve been given and most important things I’ve learned in my twenty years on earth. I know I don’t have the key to the universe and that I’m young, but I’m just using this post as a celebration of all that I have learned 🙂 Enjoy!
1. Don’t pay too much attention to what anyone says about you.
They talk because they’re bored with their own lives. On the flip side, be aware of the times where you’re “bored” and fix them. Fast.
2. Learn to be self-aware!
I think this is so important in just about any area of life. I’ve taken a ton of personality tests over the years whether it be for school or just for fun. I really enjoy seeing how my results play out in real life. As dumb as it sounds, I really feel like they’ve made me more self-aware.
3. A clean room = A clean mind.
4. Make everyone you talk to feel like the most important person in the room.
There is seriously nothing worse than being excited to talk to someone and them totally writing you off.
5. Have a forgiving heart.
Everyone deserves a second chance. I don’t know about third, fourth, and fifth chances, but everyone makes mistakes. Grudges do not do anything positive for your life — they just make you feel, I hate to use this word but, icky.
6. Trust your intuition.
I really don’t feel like I need to explain this one.
7. Don’t let ANYONE take up more of your thoughts than necessary.
As a young woman/ man, you should be focusing on YOU. Save your stress for something more important.
8. A smile can go a long way.
9. Be nice to homeless people.
They’re just as much people as everyone else.
10. Use social media correctly.
You’re not supposed to sit there obsessing over every single flaw in a photo of yourself before you post it. Odds are, no one will notice anything. Also, don’t obsess over anyone else’s Instagram. I know this is cliché, but remember… it’s a highlight reel!!!
11. No one has a monopoly on sadness.
Everyone’s got their own shit, so everyone is entitled to be sad sometimes.
12. Be passionate about something. Anything! EVERYTHING!
13. Don’t beat yourself up for feeling sad.
I’m not saying you should just wallow whenever something upsets you, but around this age, you experience emotions much deeper than you ever have before. It’s okay to feel how you feel!
I used to resent reading when I was young because of how much we read in school, but now I crave time alone with a book – as stupid as that sounds. It’s a chance to escape from reality for a bit in a healthy way (a.k.a. a way that’s not using your phone).
15. Don’t look forward to things so much that you forget to relish the moment you’re in.
This is some of my favorite advice I’ve ever gotten. I know it’s hard not to get excited about Christmas, a date with a boy you like, a beach vacation, etc., but you will miss a lot if you don’t enjoy the anticipation. It really is the best part.
16. Everything is better in the morning.
17. Be comfortable being alone.
I’m extremely extroverted, so this is really hard for me and something that I work on constantly. You’re stuck with you for the rest of your life! Might as well get to know yourself a little.
18. Everyone should go to therapy.
No, therapy is not for the clinically insane. Everyone has stuff going on in their lives, and everyone can benefit from speaking with a professional.
19. Empathize don’t Sympathize.
20. Learn to be okay with change.
This is the most important lesson that I’ve learned and am still learning. Seasons of change are definitely the hardest times for me. Quite honestly, I hate change. I don’t like feeling unstable and out of control, and I don’t like the uncertainty that comes with change. I don’t even like the idea of accepting change. There is a type of grieving process that happens for me when something big shifts in my life. However, change is inevitable, and the sooner I can live by that, the happier I will be.