Even though I am young, I have gone through countless scenarios that have taught me worthy lessons that deserve to be shared with the world.
1. Live in the Moment
Initially, I feel like this is a saying that is used widely across social media platforms and is probably on a lot of girl's Instagram photos. But until sophomore year, I didn't fully understand the meaning of this. That is until I met one of my best friends, Audrey Howe. She is the first person to ever show me what this meant. If there is our jam blaring at a party, you best believe she is screaming jumping up and down on her way to the dance floor. And of course, I am right behind her. She taught me to just live whole heartedly because why not?
2. Stand Up for what you Believe in
This lesson started with figuring out exactly where my beliefs stood and gaining confidence within them. One of my beliefs is that love is love. I will continue to stand up for that and constantly support anyone that is within the community. If you truly think something, you have a voice and you should use it! Regardless of what the people surrounding you are thinking, you have a right to your own opinion.
3. Family is Forever
I am fortunate enough to have THE best family in the world. Oops sorry everyone else. What I have taken from this is that your family is only going to be under one roof all together for so long. Siblings will start moving out and your parents nest will eventually be empty. So do not take this for granted. Instead of going out every Friday night, stay in and watch a movie with your parents. Answer when your grandparents calls because they genuinely want to know about what is going on in your life. Hug on each and every family member when you see them because you never know when that will be the last time.
4. Start Everyday with a Smile
The question that I get asked more often than anything is, "How do you stay so positive?" Something that comes easily is being optimistic in every scenario. I have found that it truly makes every memory a lot happier than it would've if I didn't have that mindset. I always wake up every single day smiling and finding something to look forward to. Now, my life is not always eventful. But it could be the littlest thing such as wearing a cute outfit, having spaghetti for dinner, or watching the Bachelor with you parents. It helps me get through the day. Life is truly so good when you start appreciating the little things.
5. Be Kind to all Employees at Stores, Restaurants, etc.
Now that I have personal experience with working retail and at a restaurant, this statement means so much more. The fact that certain people have a mentality that these employees are beneath them absolutely disgusts me. They are people just like anyone else and they deserve the upmost respect. If your waiter forgot to add 4 lemons instead of 2 to your ice water with no ice or whatever you weird request is, give them a break. Use your manners that your parents taught you and kindly ask them for what you need. Just remember that they are grinding getting that coin and are humans with emotions too.
6. Surround Yourself with People that Make you a Better Person
This is definitely a hard pill to swallow because of the fact that your friends are not truly improving you as a person. Now I am not saying to go drop all of your friends. But I do think that the people you surround yourself with definitely reflect who you are and give you a certain reputation. I have found mostly all of my true friends through theatre and I recommend joining a group that interests you. All I know is that if you don't leave hanging out with your friends without your cheeks hurting from smiling and your stomach aching from laughing, then I would invest in some new friends.
7. Stop Comparing Yourself to other People
This specific lesson took me the absolute longest to get through my head and now every once in a while, I still have to remind myself of this. Especially with the constant temptation of social media and everyone looking so perfect in every post. Thankfully, my mom opened my eyes to the fact that I will never be anyone else but me and that is perfectly okay. To not only acknowledge my flaws for what they are, but instead loving them because of the fact that they make me different than everyone else.
8. Take the Risk or Lose the Chance
What comes to mind when I think about this lesson is when regarding relationships specifically. There are countless instances where my friends will think a boy is cute or they like them and sometimes they never end up confessing how they feel. You never know what could come out of it. Maybe he is feeling the exact same way and you end up dating. Or maybe he replies that he is not into you whatsoever which sucks, but now you have clarity and are able to continue with your day without worrying about the "What if's." Sometimes taking a leap of faith goes a long way.
9. Treat Yourself
I am one of the biggest supporters in this lesson and stand by this whole heartedly. Whether you are wanting to eat some ice cream even though it is bad for you or you really want a shirt even though it is expensive, DO IT! Every once in a while, everyone needs to reward themselves. You don't have to have a reason too. That's the best part. Even if that ice cream will be demolished in about 42 seconds, buy it and enjoy it for those 42 seconds! That is what makes life so sweet!
10. The Prettiest People are Kind
Regardless of how symmetrical someones face is, fashionable their outfit is, flawless their makeup is, and whatever else could be used to define "pretty", that is no where near what makes someone a pretty human. Just because you have a pretty face doesn't mean you are a pretty human. I have learned that the more genuine someone is to other people are truly so much prettier than the ones that say and do nasty things. So don't go worrying about your appearance because your heart shines through so much more than any makeup or clothing could.
11. Do Not Lower your Standards
I have always been someone that has such high standards for myself. Simply because of the fact that I have fully realized my worth and that I will not settle for less. My parents have raised me to be a powerful, independent woman that does not find her worth in the opinion of boys. I have gone through a bumpy road realizing that but now that I do, I am not wasting my time and not getting hurt in the process. It has saved my heart from so much ache and has given me so much confidence.
12. Believe in Yourself
Like my mom says, "You should be your own biggest fan." Being in performances and having to go through countless auditions, this advice could not be more true. This could be taken into so many different scenarios such as talking to a boy that you like, taking a Chemistry exam, or even just attempting wing eyeliner. You are strong, powerful, and capable of so many amazing things. The moment that you start to turn that mindset into a reality, you will be astonished to see what amazing things you start to accomplish.
13. Don't Change Yourself for Anyone
Throughout middle and high school, this was especially a key lesson that was so hard to learn but so worth it. I think the biggest factor that went into this was this made up thing that consumed our lives called popularity. We all thought that in order for kids to like us, we would've had to change ourselves. What I have taken from this into my future is simple that if you feel like you are walking on eggshells talking to someone or constantly checking your appearance, then I would consider meeting new people. Do not change yourself for anyone, the true friends will love you for who you are.
14. Roll the Windows Down and Jam
I can already feel some adults rolling their eyes while reading this one. I am sorry but this is one of the best feelings in the world. Especially if you stick your arm out the window. That hits different. On a real note, blaring music with my friends is something that has made my life feel as though it is moving in slow motion and I am able to take in every second. Just thinking about this makes me so happy. If you have never tried it, I would definitely recommend.
15. Appreciate the Authority Figures in your Life
Now that I have grasped the attention of all the adults reading, I have learned to appreciate each and every one that has influenced my life and who I am. Growing up, it is the easiest to assume that our parents and teachers are getting on to us because they are either bored or want to see us suffer. But I have found it is so much the opposite. Not only do most of them hate punishing kids, but they do it because they truly care about you and want the best. I am so thankful that I have had so many authority figures that have positively affected my life.
16. Be Unfazed by Judgement
This is definitely something that is easier said than done. To think that people are constantly judging you regardless of what you say or do could make you feel very uneasy. I have taken this and now it provides a weird source of comfort. I am going to do and say what truly makes me happy without even thinking about what other people have to say about it. It's almost like putting on noise cancelling headphones in your brain. You jam out to what every music or thing that makes you truly happy. And even though you know that people are surrounding you with noises and words of judgement, you should continue to block it out and jam out with your life.
17. Count my blessings
When something does not go your way or when you feel like the world is crashing down on you, remember to look around and take into account your blessings. I have lost family members, gone through countless boy problems, and even just little problems like ripping my pants in public. Whatever you are going through, there is so many reasons to be thankful for. I always like to remind myself of my amazing support system that surrounds me. Or that I am able to do what I love which is perform. Or that there is a roof over my head and food on the table every day. Or even just something as simple as the fact that I am still breathing.
18. Everything happens for a reason
This is definitely a cliche saying that would be quoted on some families wall in their living room, but it cannot be more true. Like most people, I have gone through my fair share of tough times. Throughout all of these times, I have continuously learned more things that is improving me as a person and I am thankful for every single one of them. This is the quote that I live by and it helps me get through whatever life throws my way.