With my nineteenth birthday looming I can't help but think about all of the changes that happened in my life this year. I went to college, joined a sorority, finished my first semester, started a new job, reconnected with old friends and lost connections with many. Since I've had so many changes it's only natural that I begin to think about what I have learned as well.
1. Time is valuable- appreciate it when people give it to you and do not let other people waste yours. Time is valuable. Let me repeat, time is valuable. You will never get time back. When other people give up their time for you, appreciate it. On the other hand, don't allow people to waste your time. Your time is valuable and you deserve people in your life who know that.
2. You cannot replace hand made gifts. I have accrued many hand made gifts over nineteen years and they are still my favorites. There is something so special about knowing someone took their time to make something especially for you.
3. Always be yourself. You are different and that's okay. Everyone is different and that's what makes the world go round! People who do not accept you for who you are, are not worth your time. You are awesome and deserve to be around people who appreciate you for who you are.
4. Don't sweat the small stuff. As someone who has sweat the small stuff for her entire life I can say that it is definitely not worth your time (see #1). I have just started to learn to let the small stuff go and I am extremely grateful. It is not worth your time.
5. Work hard for your money. My mama has always taught me the value of a dollar. I've learned to save more than 20% of my income, shop at thrift stores, and reuse until I can't anymore. There is nothing more satisfying than working hard for your money and spending it wisely.
6. Forgive- it is hard, but necessary. Not forgiving someone who hurt you is like drinking poison and expecting the other person to die. Forgiving someone is not easy and it may seem easier to forget that they have done you wrong, but it is a part of life. The sooner we all learn this lesson the better. It's something I still struggle with daily, but I am learning it.
7. Stop waiting for the perfect moment to do something- make the moment perfect. I have always been someone who "waited for the right time". I've learned there is no time like the present to make a change, tell someone how you feel, etc.
8. Take mental health days as needed. My mom has let my brother and I take mental health days for as long as I can remember. You only get one body, so you have to take care of it. Some days you just need to lay in the bed, watch Netflix, and eat cookie dough from the tube, and that's okay. No one was made to go 24/7; even the creator of our awesome universe took a day off to rest.
9. Seek for help when you need it. I have always been Miss Independent, but going to college this year has taught me that even though I may want to, I cannot do everything on my own. It doesn't matter if you need help in a class, with a situation in your life, or just choosing what color to paint your nails, seek out someone whose opinion you trust and ask them for help. There is no same in asking for help, no one can get along without help from others.
10. Call your parents. You have two wonderful people who are chock full of life experience at your disposal that love you unconditionally. Your parents gave up a part of their lives so that you could have the best one possible. No matter what kind of relationship you have with your parents take the time to call them. Not a day goes by that I don't talk to my mama or my daddy and I wouldn't want it any other way- they have helped guide me through so many life choices and I don't even want to imagine what my life would be like without them.
11. Know your tribe and love them hard. Knowing your tribe is essential to knowing yourself. Your tribe will protect you, love you, and tell you like it is when needed. Know these people in your life and NEVER let them question what they mean to you. No person is self made.
12. Be nice to your siblings. My mama has always said, "Be nice to your brother, There are plenty of people in this world who will be mean to you, love each other." Sibling relationships are a complex thing, but I am so grateful that I have a little brother to share my life and chores with. I want to make it a point in my life to always keep a good relationship with him and I encourage you to do the same.
13. Pretty is as pretty does. Another quote from my awesome mama. You can be pretty but if you have a mean spirit or heart that erases it all. To be pretty, one must act pretty. You can't be mean and expect people to excuse it because you're pretty on the outside.
14. Learn your gift, and use it. Everyone in this world has a gift, and I mean everyone is good at something. My gift is making people feel comfortable, and while some may not see that as a gift I am eternally for it. I have been able to help many people through difficult situations, and I have found a profession that will allow me to use my gift every single day by helping young children become confident in themselves and learn their gift. I have always said that at the end of my road I want to be able to say, "Lord, I took the gift you blessed me with and used it clean up."
15. Stop comparing your life to those you see on social media. Social media is a highlight reel of people's lives. Everyone struggles, but most people don't share their struggles on social media, instead they share the great stuff. Don;t compare their highlight reel to your life.
16. Never settle for less than what you deserve You, my friend, are worth more than diamonds and rubies and deserve a life that reflects that. Never settle for less than that.
17. Be opened minded. Another quote from my mama (are you seeing a pattern here?) "I want you to become more open minded, but not so open minded your brains fall out." I have always seen the world in black and white, I didn't believe in grey. When I went to college I soon learned that the world was a lot more complex than I had originally thought. Be open to people whose opinions differ from yours, you will learn more in five minutes with them than five hours with like minded people.
18. Class never goes out of style, Write thank you notes, be gracious, know your limits. 'Nuff said.
19. Love yourself. As someone who has always struggled with being comfortable in her own skin I can say that this is the most important lesson I've learned in my nineteen years. I am so much happier since I started to love myself, I may not like everything about myself (ex: my temper), but I love it because it makes me who I am.
I am so blessed to have seen nineteen years and I cannot wait to see the changes that are made in my life this coming year. Bring it on, nineteen, you have a lot to live up too!