18 Things I Learned in 18 Years
Start writing a post

18 Things I've Learned In 18 Years

The biggest secrets about growing up.

7
18 Things I've Learned In 18 Years
Paris Mercurio

Two weeks ago, I turned 18. Do I feel like an adult yet? Not really. But I have definitely learned a lot in the past 18 years that I'd really like to put out there, so here we go!

1. If you don't feel confident, just pretend to be. Eventually, you actually will be.

This one took me a while to catch onto, but it's absolutely one of the most important things I've discovered and want to pass on. I was a pretty shy and insecure kid throughout most of the middle and high school. I always thought that confidence was something that came from within, that some people were confident, and other's just weren't (and that I was simply a member of the latter group). Recently, it occurred to me that this is not the case at all! In fact, most people are not naturally super confident. The majority of us have our fair share of insecurities and nervousness- that's just human! The true key to confidence is just pretending to be confident until you actually are.

2. Your given environment might not be the right place for you, and that's okay.

It's okay to feel out of place, or like you don't quite fit in. The important thing is that you never water yourself down or compromise your originality to fit into a mold. Hold onto your true self and try your best not to lose yourself in the idea of who you're supposed to be. If you keep searching, you'll eventually find the right place.

3. Say yes to everything you can. Stay open to all opportunities!

This seems like a given, but it actually took me time to realize. Every time you say yes to anything, you're opening up a world of new possibilities. So try to stay open to trying new things, even things that may seem daunting or out of your comfort zone. You never know where something will lead you!

4. If it won't matter in five years, don't worry about it for more than five minutes.

A very wise friend of mine said this to me one-day last year when I was stressing out over a quiz. At the time, the simple statement felt so legendary to me. How had I not thought of this before? This little philosophy gave me permission to stop feeling too anxious about everything, so I decided to adopt it as my own. Since then, I've been much less stressed about everything. My quality of life has seriously gone up, and so have my grades! Who knew that when you stop worrying so much, you actually have a clearer mind?

5. There is no perfect high school experience. Just do what you enjoy.

For a while, I struggled with the idea that my high school life wasn't like what I'd expected from watching movies and TV. I even worried that my life wasn't as exciting as the lives of other people my age. Now I know that there is no one right way to go through high school! If you're worried about missing out on a "typical" high school experience, whatever that might mean to you, I suggest that you don't worry. If anything, just try a lot of different things to find out what you really enjoy.

6. Nobody is ever paying as much attention to you as you worry they might be.

This is just a basic rule of thumb. You'll know when it applies.

7. Embarrassment is the world's greatest bonding tactic.

I learned this while trying to bond with coworkers at my first job: if you can manage to casually throw in something mildly embarrassing about yourself, people will warm up to you much faster. Most people feel a little bit vulnerable and shy when first meeting other people, so divulging a personal anecdote does wonders to cut through the tension and anxiety, making the whole situation so much more comfortable. It'll also make the other person feel like you trust them and want to be friends with them!

8. The most freeing thing you can do is stop caring what other people think.

THIS. IS. SO. IMPORTANT. It's a hard thing to do, but it makes everything so much easier.

9. You WILL make mistakes, and that's okay. Try not to regret anything.

I always say that I have no regrets because every choice I've made, mistakes and all, have brought me where I am today and made me the person that I've become. I think that mistakes are inevitable and important. How else will you truly learn?

10. If you're contemplating taking a chance, just take it.

If you're thinking about taking a risk, ask yourself, "If I don't do this thing, will I look back and wish I had?" If the answer is "yes" or "maybe," do it.

11. Try your best to be happy wherever you are in the present moment.

It's easy to say that you'll be happier when something happens, when something begins or another thing ends, etc. But it's so much better in the long run if you make the conscious choice to find happiness wherever you are right now. If you're unable to control your environment and situation, then you just have to make the best of it!

12. Not everyone dates in high school, and that's not a bad thing.

My middle school self expected to have had multiple boyfriends by now. Needless to say, that didn't really go as planned. Actually, I haven't had one real, official boyfriend yet. I used to worry about that, but it's really no big deal. I have so many friends with varying levels of experience with romance and dating. Some have much more than I do, some have less, and nobody really cares that much! I've learned that it's so important to trust the timing of your life. If the right person hasn't come along, then it's probably just not the right time.

13. Trying to be like someone else never works, so just be yourself.

Self-explanatory.

14. It's important to make an effort to truly understand yourself.

You might be thinking that this is obvious, you already understand yourself fine. But do you really? Sometimes, I don't even realize I feel a certain way about something until I take a moment to truly check in with myself. I do this by journaling and turning off distractions (phone, I'm looking at you) for a little while, usually before I go to bed, so I can just be alone with my thoughts.

15. Comparing yourself to others is useless and will only make you sad.

Everybody is different and everybody is wonderful and interesting in their own way! Don't waste your time comparing yourself to other people. If everyone was the same, life would be terribly boring.

16. The hardest thing you will have to do is learn to love yourself the way you are.

I still haven't gotten there, but I've gotten a lot closer.

17. Nobody really has the answers. We're all just making it up as we go.

All it takes is a little improvisation.

18. Childhood goes by insanely fast, so hold onto it for as long as you can.

For the past 18 years, all I wanted to do was grow up. Now, I just wish I had a little bit more time to be a kid. Enjoy it while it lasts.

Well, there you have it: 18 things I learned in 18 years. Hopefully, these will help someone out there!

Report this Content
This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
Swoon

23 Pandemic-Approved Date Ideas That'll Send Sparks Flying From Six Feet Apart

There's a safe way to date right now and yes, it includes masks.

156318

While some people would rather opt out of dating altogether during the pandemic so they don't have to wear a mask on a first date, others are choosing to listen to both guidelines and their heart in order to find love during the time of coronavirus (COVID-19).

Should you be one of the individuals welcoming romance right now, there are pandemic-approved dates you can go on that still adhere to guidelines (and yes, you'll have to wear a mask).

Keep Reading... Show less

I didn't believe the notification when it came through to my phone: Ruth Bader Ginsburg had died from complications due to cancer.

Keep Reading... Show less

In our patriarchal society, men hide from their feelings, but toxic masculinity is literally killing men. They swallow the pain and move on so that they can look, feel, and act "tough."

But, strength is derived from asking for help and voicing your struggle and, trust me, working on your mental health is one hell of a struggle. The real way to "man up" is to acknowledge the downfalls in unjust societal norms. Mental health problems do not mean that a man is weak, they are neurologically-based disorders that require professional treatment.

Keep Reading... Show less
Swoon

11 Things Your Boyfriend Should Do Before He Drops $499 On A PS5

Let's start with spending less time gaming and more time with you.

10216

Scrolling through Twitter this week had me rolling on the floor laughing as I read some of the hilarious tweets from ladies who, whether in a relationship or not, shared reactions to the news that PlayStation 5 is on its way

As this "buy your boyfriend a PS5" joke takes off across the internet, let's just say, there are a few things your BF should be doing before dropping $499 on the new gaming system — or, if the tweets are real for some, before you buy it for him as a gift.

Keep Reading... Show less
Politics and Activism

Sorry, But 'I Don’t Care About Politics' Is Not A Valid Excuse For NOT Voting

The younger generation of voters is so crucial to the upcoming election because our vote is going to shape the world that we are about to enter as adults.

32963

When I ask my friends if they are voting this term most of them respond with "no" followed by an explanation of "I don't care enough," "It doesn't affect me," or "I don't keep up with politics," etc. I get it, as a college student I know that there are many other things to be concerned about like school, relationships, work, and friends. I also understand that keeping up with politics can seem like trying to keep up with an over-exaggerated reality show that has way too many seasons. Not to mention most news stations and websites are biased so it's hard to decipher if what you hear is true or fake.

However, despite all of this annoyance, as the next generation of Americans, we have to remember that we owe it to ourselves, our families, and to our futures to care.

Keep Reading... Show less
Tasia Sli

Tasia Sli and Anna Yang met in quintessential New York fashion at a chic rooftop event, inquisitive Yale grad Anna gravitating towards model/entrepreneur Tasia.

Keep Reading... Show less
Photo by Anna Hernández-Buces

"Do you have big parties on Cinco de Mayo?"

Keep Reading... Show less

Two of my favorite things in life are reading and books. Obviously, they go hand-in-hand. In my life, I've realized that there is nothing better than learning about the current world or getting fully immersed in another world. Reading can inspire, teach, and entertain you.

For me, the feeling of opening a book and smelling that fresh book smell can't compete with anything else.

Keep Reading... Show less

Expecting mother and wife to singer/songwriter John Legend may have accidentally slipped up and revealed the gender of her and Legend's third baby today on her Instagram story.

Keep Reading... Show less
Lifestyle

20 Books About Latin And Hispanic Heritage Absolutely Everyone Should Have On Their Bookshelf

Any ally of the community needs to be reading these incredible reads.

10003

I go through phases when it comes to what I like to read. I am typically reading two books at any given time: one serious nonfiction and one escapist fiction novel to have on hand and open up depending on my mood.

What remains consistent, however, amongst most of my fellow bibliophiles is a desire to try new and different authors and genres. I, as an Indian woman, have been partial to reading books written by fellow Indian and Desi writers since I first got a library card.

Keep Reading... Show less
Health and Wellness

I Asked 46 Women What They Thought About The Term 'Plus-Size', And Here's What They Had To Say

It's 2020, where change is inevitable and norms are not only questioned, but challenged.

5501

We live in a world where it's become customary to push boundaries, break rules, and question standards upheld by society. Though try as we might, some of these standards are harder to conquer than others — body image is one of the top contenders.

For years, the body positivity movement has pushed for the acceptance of all marginalized body types not represented or celebrated in the media. Recently, we've gotten better at appreciating and accepting all body types, but one thing that's still lingering is the stigma of body image in the fashion industry — more specifically, the term "plus-size."

Keep Reading... Show less
Netflix

Many popular TV shows are holding off premiers until spring, so most people are relying on their television subscriptions to get them through a socially distant fall semester.

Thankfully, Netflix was busy filming this past year because there is a ton of new original content coming in the near future. From mysteries to romances, here are some of the best new shows you have to check out this year:

Keep Reading... Show less
Entertainment

Taylor Swift Sang 'betty' At The ACMs And It Was The Perfect First Live 'folklore' Performance

I guarantee that Inez is spreading rumors about how fire this performance was.

4420
CBS

The Academy of Country Music Awards were last night and the performances were wonderful, but Taylor Swift's live version of "betty" from her newest album "folklore" really took the cake for me.

Keep Reading... Show less
Health and Wellness

9 Reasons I Unfollowed All The Fitness Influencers On My Instagram Feed

I don't need to feel bad about myself because of who I follow on social media.

3167

Throughout quarantine, something that a lot of us picked up on was working out. With all the free time, it seemed like the perfect opportunity to work on that "dream bod" you've been wanting for years, or to just feel good about yourself.

A common way to stay motivated and keep yourself on-task is to follow fitness influencers on various platforms. For some people, yes, this can be a healthy and helpful way to keep your drive. In other cases, however, this can do more harm than good.

Keep Reading... Show less
Facebook Comments