After having lived 19 years, I've found that I've learned some very valuable life lessons. To celebrate my recent birthday, I thought I'd share some of the most important things I've collected along the way.
1. Reading is essential.
Reading is something I should be doing daily, but I don't. It takes my mind off problems I can't solve in the moment, and it clears my head just enough to be productive. Not only that, but it usually lets me learn a thing or two.
2. Writing helps with just about everything.
I like to journal, and while I don't do it as much as I'd like to, it definitely helps when I do. Whether it be writing lists or pouring out my thoughts onto paper, letting my brain dump out it's contents helps with anything from stress to healing.
3. I do actually need rest.
Resting doesn't necessarily mean sleeping, but more like downtime. Instead of slamming my day full, I have to make sure I have time to sit back and let my mind unwind, especially at the end of my day before bed.
4. I can't please everyone all at once.
It's pretty obvious. I may want to make everyone happy and have every intention of doing that, but in the end at least one person won't be satisfied. Not everyone will like me. It's the way we as people work, and I have to accept that.
5. It's important to remember the things that make me happy.
Thinking about the things that make me happy obviously make me happy, but they also help me maintain a positive attitude in any circumstance.
6. I can't do everything all at once either.
This kind of goes along with the resting thing, but it goes without saying that there is not enough time in the day to do every single thing I want to do. I have to choose which things to do first and second and so on, and sometimes that isn't fun. Waiting to experience things that seem fun never is, but in the long run it's saved me a lot of exhaustion.
7. Being genuine counts.
I'll admit, I have a serious problem with putting on a show. I want people to think I have a great life, and it causes me to be a little fake in the process. To combat that, I to make sure I'm actually straight-forward and honest instead of embellishing details. Let's be real, none of our lives are as great as our Instagram posts say they are.
8. Jumping into conflict head on doesn't resolve anything.
I'm the type of person who likes to immediately enter conflict while I'm still upset because I just want to get it over with. Sadly, that's not the healthy way of doing things. I have to push myself to wait and think before I take action.
9. And neither does avoiding it altogether.
Meanwhile, while I'm letting my emotions settle out, I also tend to just let it go instead of resolving it. This leads to bitterness and resentment that only harms my relationships in the future, so I really have to be intentional about keeping myself accountable in conflict.
10. Live life in the moment.
I often find myself chasing after future plans instead of enjoying the one I'm living out right now, and it always ruins the experience for me. I now know that in order to fully live the life I've planned, I have to first let myself live in the moments I have right now.
11. My social life isn't everything.
I'm very much so a people person. I want to have tons of friends and lots of things to do with those friends. I literally never want downtime. Usually, I can handle a really involved social life, but recently I just can't handle doing so much stuff. Between classes and visiting home, I'm physically and emotionally drained. I have to remind myself often that my social life can be put on hold to rest and take care of business.
12. I'm not defined by my relationship status.
I wanted a love life from the second I realized they existed as a kid. I realize now that it really wasn't important at the age I was at, or even when I was old enough to actually date. Don't get me wrong, romantic love is seriously great when it's with the right person. I have a boyfriend that I love very much, and he treats me so much better than I could've ever dreamed up as a kid. I'm so grateful to have found someone so great, but never could've done that had I not stopped searching so desperately. I'm just glad I realized that in time.
13. Happiness and sadness will come and go.
Seasons of life are rough. There will be times when I'm sad, and there will also be times when I'm happy. They'll be crazy and all over the place, but they'll also grow me more than I can imagine.
14. Prioritization makes life so much easier.
This one's pretty self explanatory, but also very valid.
15. Knowing my motivators encourages growth.
I always grow the most when I'm motivated to do so, and knowing what exactly motivates me has been so imperative in my life, especially recently.
16. I want to be a teacher.
All my life and all most of my friends' lives we've been asked what we want to be when we grow up. Many of us have figured that out, but some of us still haven't. I'm very happy to declare my great passion for teaching, and realizing what I've been called to do brings me a lot of joy.
17. I can't always get everything I want.
This may sound extremely spoiled and kind of arrogant, but I really do usually end up getting the things I want. I've been very blessed to have so few disappointments in my life, but recently I stepped back and really considered the fact that eventually there will be a day that I get let down big time. It really humbled me to look at it from a different perspective.
18. Genuine friends matter so much.
I spent a lot of my life chasing the approval of people who honestly don't matter as much as I thought they did. I wanted to have a large group of friends who all loved me, but in the end the majority of them didn't care very much. The cheesy saying, "I'd rather have one true friend than many so-so friends" reigns so true in my life now, and I'm so grateful that have have not one but a few genuine close friends.
19. I'm not done yet.
While I have learned all of these things, it's important to note that a lot of them are just on the surface level. I still have to work on implementing most of them into my life daily, and that's something we can all agree on. Not only that, but there are so many more things that I've yet to learn or even consider for my life in the future. Right now, I'm just focusing on what I know I can improve on.
Nineteen years sounds like such a long time, but I'm honestly just getting started. I feel grown up, my life is in my own hands, and I'm pursuing an education in a field I love. I can't wait to see what else I get to learn.