As my baby sister turns 17 this week, I started reflecting on my life when I was her age and wondering what I would have done differently. I figured out all of the mistakes that I don’t want her (or any other 17-year-old girl) to make, and came up with 17 important things to keep in mind at 17.
- Don’t accept anything less than you deserve. Know how much you’re worth and never settle.
- Be nice to your family. No matter what’s going on, they love you and only want the best for you. Appreciate all the time you have with them.
- Senior year doesn’t have to be stressful- make it whatever you want it to be.
- College applications are a pain- get them done early. Seriously, you’ll thank yourself later.
- You don’t need to have everything figured out yet. 17 is the age where everyone is pressuring you about what you’re going to do with your life, but it’s okay if you have no idea. Things will fall into place at the right time.
- He does not define you. How a boy treats you is not who you are. Don’t lose yourself trying to impress him.
- Never let anyone tell you that you can’t. Prove them wrong.
- Have nights worth remembering. Go out every chance you get, because you won’t make memories sitting home alone on a Saturday night.
- You are also allowed to have nights to just sit in your sweats and binge watch Netflix- sometimes that’s much more appealing than going out.
- You are allowed to do whatever it takes to make yourself happy. Sometimes you need to put yourself first because it’s what’s best for you. Understand how important your own happiness is.
- Loving yourself first is the most important thing. Before you trust someone else with your heart, learn to trust yourself. Remember this today and every day after.
- Never let anyone or anything keep you from seeing your self worth. Get rid of toxic people and toxic relationships- you’ll be so much happier.
- Getting your heart broken is not the end of the world. Allow yourself a 12-hour grieving period to cry, eat terrible food and watch terrible movies- then get it together and remember who you are.
- Don’t focus on what other people think of you or what they expect you to do. The world is full of people who think they have you on a tight leash- don’t give them the satisfaction.
- Stop comparing yourself to other people. “A flower does not think of competing with the flower next to it. It just blooms.” Being different is beautiful.
- Do more things that make you smile. Figure out what makes you excited to be alive and go for it.
- You are stronger and capable of so much more than you think. Push yourself now, thank yourself later.
This is the time in your life when it’s most important to remember who you are and what you want. Don’t lose yourself before you even find yourself. Here’s to a year full of happiness and adventures!