Learning is what growing up is all about. I am beyond grateful for every mountain I have been forced to climb and every valley I've had the pleasure to walk through gracefully. I have learned more in 19 years than most learn in a lifetime.
1. Self love is crucial
There are almost eight billion people in this world and yet there is not a single person out there exactly like you. Every single flaw you look at in disgust when you stare at yourself in the mirror each morning is what makes you who you are. Every single characteristic you dislike about yourself is what actually makes you irreplaceable. You're one of a kind. That's your superpower. So all the love you so freely give to everyone else needs to go to yourself some days. Put yourself at the top of your to-do list every day. You have got to learn to love yourself.
After all, self-love is the greatest middle finger of all time.
2. In time you will understand that their leaving was a gift
It might be an ex-best friend. It might be an ex-boyfriend. Whoever it is, they left you. You didn't leave them. They lost someone that would have crossed oceans to make them happy, whereas you lost someone that never valued your kindness. Your heart will break for a while and you'll want to drown yourself in alcohol and sad music.
Don't. Take no more than three days to grieve and then bounce back to being the amazing person you've always been. There are so many more people out there waiting to give you the love you deserve.
3. Be unapologetically you
People are either going to love you or hate you and there is absolutely nothing you can do about it. Everyone is unique in their own way. Some days you're going to blend in with the crowd, and on others, you're going to want to be a cupcake with extra sprinkles in a world full of muffins. As long as you love who you are, that's all that matters at the end of the day.
4. Everyone is going through something they don't talk about
Every single person you pass on the street has a life of their own. A life just like yours. A life that contains love, heartbreak, loss, death, excitement, and adventure. Out of those things just listed you never know which one the person that just accidentally bumped into you in the grocery store is going through. Be kind. Everyone is dealing with something in their life, big or small.
5. Make the first move
If you really want to talk to a certain person don't lay in your bed waiting for a text from them. Start the conversation first. If you really like the guy that sits in front of you in your calculus class, tell him. It shows how brave you are, and will most likely end up being the story told on your wedding day. Don't wait for your friends to ask you to hang out. If you really want to go do something, text the group and if you picked the right friends at least one them will be down for a fun night out.
6. Communication is key
Never assume someone knows what you're thinking. Everyone perceives things differently. Everyone has different views. Tell the other person why you're happy. Tell the other person why you're pissed off. Be vocal about everything. No one can read minds.
7. Everything is temporary
Believe me when I tell you every single thing on this earth is temporary. There's not a thing on this earth that won't change, including yourself. Try not to get attached. The day will come when you have to say goodbye to the thing you thought would never leave and your heart will break. So take it from me and love from a distance. It doesn't take a lot of strength to hang on to something, but it takes a heck of a lot of strength to let go. Believe me.
8. Keep trying. You can only get better
Did you burn that toast? Get another piece of bread and try again. You didn't make that free throw? Shoot again. You didn't meet your step goal today? There's always tomorrow. No matter how many mistakes you make or how slow your progress is, you are still ahead of everyone who isn't trying. Have perseverance.
9. Never be ungrateful
I am very guilty of sometimes being ungrateful for the things a lot of people would love to have. Being in college has really opened my eyes to the fact that I live a pretty darn good life that others don't get the pleasure to live. Everything you own can be taken away from you in the blink of an eye, so come back down to earth and realize you're lifestyle is a privilege, not a right.
10. You can never eat too much chicken
Ask any one of my family members and they'll tell you I could eat chicken 24/7. If I was going somewhere to eat after I left my great grandma's house she would always tell me to eat some chicken for her. I could really write a whole article about how great chicken is. Breakfast? Chicken and waffles. Lunch? Chicken strips. Supper? Chicken casserole. Grilled, baked, fried, it's all amazing. You can put it on a sandwich, in a salad, or just eat it plain. Either way, you can't go wrong.
11. Character is everything
We live in a world that puts a major emphasis on fame, success, money, and popularity, but none of that holds a candle to a person that has deep character. Go deep in kindness. Go deep in courage to do the right thing. Go deep in humility. Go deep in grace. Be upright in what you say and do. Strive for personal integrity.
12. Hard work pays off in the end
Nothing worth having in life is going to come easy. When you were little you always had big dreams that you promised yourself you would make come true one day. Now get off your butt, and go make your younger self happy. Dreams don't work unless you do.
13. It's perfectly fine to stay in on the weekend
Sure, going out is almost always guaranteed to leave you with some unforgettable memories and a night full of laughter, but the process that leads up to the going out part is so tiring after a week full of working. The process of taking a shower, putting on makeup, deciding what you're going to wear, doing your hair, and then actually leaving the comfort of your home is a major struggle sometimes. I might be a teenager, but I almost always prefer a night in some comfy clothes, take out, and a good movie over a night on the town.
14. Change is scary, but it's so important
Change can be really scary. But it's okay to be scared. In life you're often going to be given two choices, one of which is most likely going to bring you out of your comfort zone. It's important to always go with the choice that scares you the most, because that's the one that is going to help you grow. Being scared only means you're about to do something really freaking brave. Don't stay somewhere you know you don't belong just because you're scared.
15. Loss teaches lessons
If you think about it, life is pretty funny. Often times it takes losing something to know how valuable that certain thing was to your life. Other times, breathing fresh air never felt so good.
16. You don't have to have it all figured out
There's going to come a time when you're going to stop and take a look around and realize a lot of your friends are at a different place in their lives than you are. Maybe they already have a job and you're still in school. Maybe they're married and you're still living the single life. Maybe they already have three kids and you're still a virgin. You're going to look around and think that everyone else has life figured out. Trust me, they don't. They're just really good at pretending that they have it all together but in reality they're just as lost as you are. Don't measure yourself by others.
17. Know what you deserve and never settle for less
I don't care how much you love them. I don't care how dreamy their eyes are. I don't care how much you love their laugh. I don't care if they drive the nicest car in the parking lot. I don't care about any of those sorts of things. Stop falling in love with words and start falling in love with actions. They need to be willing to drive five hours to see you for one. They need to know that when you say you're not hungry, that you're actually starving. They need to know you still prefer iced coffee when it's -3 degrees outside. They need to know every little quirk about you and love them because you deserve that. Nothing less. NOTHING.
18. Take responsibility for your actions
If you failed a test and know good and well you didn't study, don't blame the teacher. If you can't pay your bills stop living above your means. If a relationship ended badly, ask yourself if there were any red flags that you may have chosen to ignore in the beginning of the relationship. Stop playing the victim and own your mistakes. It's the only way you're going to learn from them.
19. Most importantly, make Jesus your foundation
Every house needs a foundation and every life needs one, too. Life comes with good and bad days. Some days you're going to have a smile plastered on your face and on others the big bad wolf is going to come and try to blow your house down. When this happens it's important to make sure you have a strong foundation. With Jesus as your foundation, you're guaranteed to have a strong one.
A lot of people may think that teenagers aren't even close to having life figured out. I can absolutely agree with that, but I'd say if you've managed to get half of these things through your head then you're pretty wise for your age.