16 Things I Learned While I Was 16

16 Things I Learned While I Was 16

How the sixteenth year of my life grew and shaped me as a person.
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1. You don't know everything about everything

... and that's okay. Be open to suggestion and learning more about the world.

2. There is no such thing as wrong timing

The boy who steals your first kiss might not end up marrying you but he will teach you so many lessons about love, life, and yourself. He was the right one for that time, and there will be other right ones for other times in your life. Everyone enters your life for a reason and everyone walks out of your life for a reason.

3. Love is a choice

You can feel love towards someone and show them affection, but truly loving someone is choosing to love them every day despite the chaos of life and the moments you don’t feel as close to their heart. You love them every day, you choose them every day.

4. Heartbreak hurts

Having your heart broken will feel like the worst pain you’ve ever felt, but you’ll come out of it a stronger, more resilient person with a new level of self awareness.

5. It's okay to cry

It’s okay to be sad, but don’t dwell on the past. Open your heart back up and fall in love with life, it’s a wonderful gift.

6. Forgive others

Let go of the past. There is not one person who hasn’t made mistakes and done things they regret, you included.

7. Letting someone go doesn't mean you don't love them

It just means you learned how to love them differently and in a way that doesn’t break your heart.

8. Live in the now

Do not focus on “someday I’ll be happy” , “someday I won’t be heartbroken”, “someday I’ll be successful”. Go out and be happy today. Take the love you stored up in your heart for the boy too dumb to chase you and give it to the people present in your life. Pour it out upon others. There is no limit on how much you can love someone, you have so much to give. Love endlessly and strive towards success and what makes you happy.

9. Junior year is important

Develop a strong work ethic and get good grades because even though college seems far away, those grades will help pay for your tuition, and your strong work ethic will be valued by employers when you’re in search of a job.

10. It's okay to take a mental health day

I promise you won’t fail algebra if you miss a day of class. Your mental health is more important than your GPA.

11. Celebrate your accomplishments

Treat yourself to a new shirt when you ace a math test. Take off work to go out on a Friday night after submitting a research paper. Acknowledge your achievements and embrace them.

12. Value your time because it is fleeting

Spend every moment doing the things you love with the people you love. Go out mini golfing with your family on a Friday night instead of staying in and watching Netflix. Go adventuring with friends instead of staying in on a Sunday afternoon. These are days you will never get back and memories you’ll cherish throughout the years.

13. Be there for your friends

You will make the world of a difference in someone’s life if you take the time to listen to them and reassure them that they are valued and everything will be okay.

14. Start off every morning with devotions

Even if you have to wake up a little earlier, spending time with Jesus, the one who loves you the most is the best way to start off your day.

15. Don't put your friends on blast on Twitter

... or any social media, for that matter. Don’t put your acquaintances on blast on Twitter. Walk up to people and handle the situation by having a mature conversation, it’s more effective and worthy of respect.

16. Look good for yourself

Dress up for school because it makes you feel more confident, not to impress anyone else. Curl your hair and do your makeup because it makes you feel beautiful, or go naturally. Do whatever makes you feel like the confident and beautiful person you are.

Cover Image Credit: Grace Jicha Photography

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When You Make A Girl An Aunt, You Change Her World In All The Best Ways

When you make a girl an aunt, you make her the happiest girl in the world.

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My brother and his wife recently blessed our family with the sweetest bundle of joy on planet earth. OK, I may be a little bias but I believe it to be completely true. I have never been baby crazy, but this sweet-cheeked angel is the only exception. I am at an age where I do not want children yet, but being able to love on my nephew like he is my own is so satisfying.

When you make a girl an aunt, you make her a very protective person.

From making sure the car seat is strapped in properly before every trip, to watching baby boy breathe while he sleeps, you'll never meet someone, besides mommy and daddy of course, who is more concerned with the safety of that little person than me.

When you make a girl an aunt, you give her a miniature best friend.

There is something about an aunt that is so fun. An aunt is a person you go to when you think you're in trouble or when you want something mom and dad said you couldn't have. An aunt is someone who takes you to get ice cream and play in the park to cool down after having a temper tantrum. I can't wait to be the one he runs to.

When you make a girl an aunt, she gets to skip on the difficulty of disciplining.

Being an aunt means you get to be fun. Not to say I wouldn't correct my nephew if he were behaving poorly, but for the most part, I get to giggle and play and leave the hard stuff for my brother.

When you make a girl an aunt, you give her the best listening ears.

As of right now I only listen to the sweet coos and hungry cries but I am fully prepared to listen to all the problems in his life in the future.

When you make a girl an aunt, you make her the best advice giver.

By the time my nephew needs advice, hopefully, I will have all of my life lessons perfected into relatable stories.

When you make a girl an aunt, you make her a number-one fan

Anything you do in life sweet boy, I will be cheering you on. I already know you are going to do great things.

When you make a girl an aunt, she learns what true love is.

The love I have for my nephew is so pure. Its the love that is just there. I don't have to choose to show love every day, I don't have to forgive, I don't have to worry if it is reciprocated, it is just there.

When you make a girl an aunt, you make her the happiest person in the world.

I cannot wait to watch my precious nephew grow into the amazing person that I know he is going to be.

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Goodbye School, Hello Real World

I'm ready for ya!

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It's starting to hit me.

I've been in school, year after year, since kindergarten. Maybe even pre-school!

Now, I'm about to graduate with my bachelors in communication and I couldn't be more proud of myself. I'll say it. I often sugarcoat it or suppress it but d*mn it. I'm going to applaud myself. It was hard work. It took a lot of motivation, determination, (caffeine), and willpower to get to where I am today. I worked my ass off.

That being said, I can't help but think... What is life without due dates? What is life like without scrambling to turn in an assignment that's due at 11:59 PM? What is life like with actual sleep? Sleep? I don't know her.

Like I keep telling my boyfriend and my parents, I don't have it all figured out. At least not right now. But I will, and I'm in no rush to land my dream job right now. If anything, I want to take a year to myself. I want to travel. I want to sleep in if I d*mn well please! I want to read as many books as I want. I want to write till my fingers fall off (OK, maybe not that).

You get the jist.

I'm free. I can do and be whatever I want. And you know what? That's terrifying.

I'm lost. I've followed this structure for so long. Now what?

I don't have all the answers yet. But for now, at least right at this very moment, I'm so thankful to have been able to receive such an amazing education. And to be able to say I'm graduating with my bachelors in communication at 21 is an accomplishment in itself.

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