17 Life Lessons I Have Learned Over 17 Years

17 Life Lessons I Have Learned Over 17 Years

Better late than never, right?

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In the seventeen years that I have been alive, there are certain lessons I have learned (the easy way, or the hard way), that I believe are crucial for every young adult to keep in mind. Hopefully, these do's and don'ts will help you make the right decisions and achieve your best self.

1. Being confident isn't being cocky

It's not conceited to have confidence. In fact, being confident about who you are and what you stand for makes you extremely attractive. There's something so alluring about a person that is reassured by themselves. Moreover, psychological studies have shown that people who are confident achieve their goals quicker and have a higher change of success.

2. Be a good friend (to yourself!)

3. Don't be a clout chaser

Instead of chasing popularity, it's more important to evaluate the kind of friends you want and searching for those individuals. You don't need to be best friends with everybody, you just need to find your people.

4. Lowering yourself won't make you even, but it does make you stupid

Choosing to lower your morality and do something petty won't make you even with the person you're trying to best. Instead, doing so will just make you feel stupid later, trust me.

5. It's okay to say no.

This can be one of the hardest lessons to implement, but is one of the most important ones.

You can say no to studying one day for your mental health. You can say no to hanging out with someone if you just want to stay home. You can say no to situations or people that make you uncomfortable. You are under no obligation to agree, smile, and laugh it off.

6. Being vulnerable and getting hurt is a part of life

Yes, life is hard. There are days when it feels like the world is against you, and nobody is your friend.

Even though there are experiences and betrayals that make you feel as though you never want to be open or intimate with anyone again, you cannot let those experiences define every single person out there. There will be people worthy of your trust, and there will be situations where you can let yourself go and be vulnerable.

As difficult as it is to remain rigid and cold, it is even more difficult to be vulnerable after being hurt. But vulnerability shows a sort of inner strength and resilience that you cannot lose, even though it seems like the "best choice".

7. Crushes aren't worth it

Crushes are so tiring. The constant ups and downs of having a crush: the pain when he or she finds someone else (or even flirts with them one time!), and the elation when he or she speaks to you is simply not worth it.

While crushes are inevitable and hard to avoid, just remember that in five years, none of it will matter. Live in the moment and take each day as it comes!

8. Stop, Pause, Breathe.

When everything gets a little too much, it's crucial to distance yourself from the situation and just... breathe. Take a break and re-evaluate why you are here. What is your purpose? What are your goals?

Taking mini-breaks is key to being able to accomplish everything you need without driving yourself crazy. It also helps immensely during arguments that may escalate quickly and lead to you losing your cool.

9. Everything happens for a reason

When life as you know it is crumbling around you, it can be tempting to break down and feel helpless. However, after many trials and tribulations, I have realized that everything does indeed happen for a reason, even if it is a reason that you cannot see at that time.


Give it a few days, months, or even years, and it'll all even out. Trust the universe, and trust in your ability to get better.

10. Even an upward road has speedbumps

Even when you are implementing measures to change your life positively and grow as a person, you will have days when you feel as though nothing is going right, and everything is falling apart. This doesn't mean that you aren't growing.

Everyone has off days, and it doesn't mean you won't bounce back and recover. Even an upward road has speedbumps, you just have to keep going.

11. It's okay to cut people off for your mental health

While arguments are a healthy part of any relationship, it is important to know when to cut people off as well.

When someone starts posing a danger to your mental health and happiness, it is okay to remove them from your life immediately.

Don't be afraid to let people go, for only when you let them go can new, more compatible people take their place.

12. Listen.

A quite talkative person, one of the most essential lessons I have learned is to listen. Not only does listening to someone demonstrate that you genuinely care about them and what they have to say, but you also learn exponentially more just by paying attention to someone.

But listening to the words that someone utters is just the beginning. Listen to their body language- what are they trying to communicate with their crossed arms and knitted eyebrows? Are they speaking in a high tone with excitement? Are they resisting talking about something?

Paying attention to these non-verbal cues tells you more about a person than their words ever could. Listening can help you identify people you want to spend more time with, as well as warning signs blaring that someone isn't for you.

13. Invest in yourself

We invest in cars, property, stocks, and jewelry, but rarely do we invest in something so imperative to our lives: ourselves. Investing in yourself means that you work on improving different aspects of yourself, like taking care of your health by getting eight hours of sleep and eating healthy, or by enhancing your appearance by getting your hair done.

Spending time and money on improving yourself will prove to be extremely beneficial in the long run. You will see yourself transform into a better, more authentic version of who you are with time. You are the most precious thing you have, so take care of and invest in yourself immensely.

14. There's always a reason to be positive

Life is hard. Sometimes it feels like nothing is going right, but there's always something that you can hold onto to get you through.

When you're having friendship problems, think about the family that supports you no matter what.

When your calculus grade is tanking, think about the dance recital you have coming up later on in the week.

There's always a reason to hope and believe that tomorrow will be better, even if it is as basic as a sunny day, or a good sandwich.

15. There's always something better, there's also something worse...

Smoking kills, but comparison tortures one to death. Schools often put students into competitive situations in terms of academics, extracurriculars, and sports. However, while it is great to compete, constant comparison is detrimental to your health.

There is always going to be someone prettier, smarter, or more talented. That's just how the world works.

There is also always going to be someone less attractive, not as intelligent, or not as skilled as you. And that's okay.


We all have different skill sets and should continue to do what we enjoy and what we're good at. Regardless of comparison, understanding that you are who you are is key to bettering yourself without the lingering feelings of inadequacy that comparing yourself to an Instagram model or even the valedictorian of your high school can bring.

16. Authenticity is attractive

While it may be tempting to catch onto the same culture and style as people around you, resist the temptation and stay yourself! Maybe you're shy, but that's okay. Maybe you're talkative, but that's okay. Maybe you're weird, but then again, isn't everyone in one way or another?

Stay true to yourself. The people that will be drawn to you will like you for who you are, and not a falsely constructed version of what you think society wants you to be.

17. Be good, even when everyone is not

It can be hard to stay good. When those around you are doing things that violate your morals and beliefs, it is tempting to just follow the crowd and conform. In my experience, however, staying true to what you believe in and doing the right thing anyway proves rewarding in the long run.

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Mother Nature Needs Us, Grow A Pair And Help Her

In only 11 years our carbon pollution needs to be cut in half... and we aren't doing our part.

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The Earth is dying.

Did that catch your attention? I would sincerely hope it would, but I'm afraid it's a message that too many of us have become desensitized to. How many times have you scrolled through your Twitter or Facebook feed only to barely skim your eyes over the post after post of messages similar to this one? Exactly.

It's pretty easy to like a few motivational pictures on Instagram about saving the ocean, to retweet a thread showing you images of wildlife we've harmed with our careless waste, or to share that video of Bill Nye setting a globe on fire and yelling at us to get a clue. What's meaningful and useful, however, is actually putting forth the effort to make a change. Actions speak louder than words; so far it seems that we're just all talk and no walk.

You might believe that you can't make a difference, that you making any contribution at all will not help in the grand scheme of things. That's such a sad and pessimistic way to think. Every contribution, no matter how big or small, is a step in the right direction. It's not even just your actions that will help, but you will also be setting an example for others. Your decision to make smarter, more environmentally friendly choices can and will inspire others to follow your lead.

There are a number of small and incredibly simple ways you can become more sustainable and help the planet. Here are a few examples, just so you can get the idea: stop using plastic straws and utensils, use reusable containers/water bottles/travel cups, stop drinking cow milk, try to eat at least one vegan meal a day, recycle, use bamboo toothbrushes, and try using bar soap or bar shampoo in the shower. These may all seem like silly or even pointless changes to some people, but they really do add up. Especially when these small changes turn into a lifestyle.

Want to know something bigger we can do than just recycling and avoiding using single-use plastics? Here are a few examples of policy ideas that governments can start enacting to make a difference: putting restrictions on air conditioners with high global warming potential or requiring a limit/reduction of HFCs, transition to electric only transportation, creating more walkable communities so it is easier to live without cars, create policies that restrict food waste (such as bans on throwing it in landfills or fees if you do), and establish a carbon tax.

There is a multitude of choices that we have to pick from. Big or small, we can make a change to help our planet before it's too late. Start making changes in your own lives, encourage others to do the same, and start getting on legislators to make and push policies that matter.

Mother Nature needs us. We're all that she has and we've let her down for far too long.

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The Movie Watchers

The Types Of People That Watch Movies

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This past weekend I saw the movie of the life time, Avengers Endgame. It was the culmination of 10 years in the making and no there will not be any spoilers in this piece of writing. I however noticed the same trends that occurred each time I went to the movies. The I saw the same people, however they were just in different bodily forms. When my eyes were not glued to the screen out of sheer anxiety and thrill, I managed to catch a quick glance at the type of people that plague our good theaters.

To start off, there are always those people that are good people and don't disturb the movie experiences of others. These are the quiet people, the ones who keep their eyes on the movie and focus on nothing else. These are the people we should all aspire to be, with their bloodshot eyes from not blinking as to not miss a single moment of the movie. While I am not always the Eyes Glued To The Screen movie watcher, I can say with assurance that I am a somewhat follower of this rule. I think everyone should learn from these people.

Next comes the traditional On My Phone Like A Idiot in the movie movie watcher. This is by far the most annoying of all the people that come to a movie. Like I came to be entertained and I paid good money for this, I didn't pay 14 dollars and 31 cents to hear some girl gossip on her phone to her friend about how her boyfriend didn't bring her flowers or some middle aged man attempt to close a business deal while his kids were watching the movie. Either leave your business at home or for the courtesy of others, at least leave it outside the theater. No one brings me more anger than these people just because they don't know any common courtesy or manners.

If your at the movie, you might get hungry or thirsty so its normal for people to bring in some food, most typically being popcorn. This is fine and all but don't chew so loudly that it sounds like Jurassic Park to the person next to you. Or don't sip up your drink in such a way that it makes the people around you wonder how your mother raised you. I call this person, the Slurper. Just, be chill and watch the movie. At least your not like the On My Phone Like An Idiot where you're an inconvenience to the whole theater.

Movies are a great way to get distracted from the horrors that are our personal lives. They are solace for some people, giving us a place to escape from reality. So please, don't disturb the kind movie goers who just need a break from that relentless school, job, or even family. Just give them their peace. So sit down, turn off your cellphone, and enjoy the movie.

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