I am 19 years old. Wow. Even writing those words down scares me a bit. I remember my 13th birthday like it was last year, and my inner self keeps denying the fact that I am a full year past "adulthood."
It just doesn't feel real yet, and I suppose it never will.
The past 19 years of my life (the ones I remember, of course) have been absolutely crazy. I've been around the world, met hundreds of people, experienced countless feelings and accomplished some of the most incredible achievements.
The most amazing thing of all, however, is that I've learned. I've learned how to live the way I do and how to do the things I do. Most of these things I've taught myself, which makes them even more special to me.
1. Taking yourself seriously is not nearly as fun as lightening up a bit and enjoying yourself
There is a time and place for being professional, but being with your friends isn't one of them. Laugh a little, crack a joke or two. You'll be so much happier.
2. Your mom is your best friend
She is always there for you, and she always will be. She also is brutally honest with you and sees the beauty in you when no one else does.
3. If your friends aren't there for you through the good and bad times, they're not your friends
This sounds obvious but really think long and hard about the people you call your true friends. Are they there for you through everything? If not, drop them. They're not worth your time.
4. High school means absolutely nothing
Anyone who tells you that high school is the best four years of your life is lying. It's a good time to experiment and find your passion, but other than that, graduate and leave it in your past. Popularity is pointless.
5. Having two or three close friends is so much better than having five plus friends and not being extremely close with any of them
All you need in life are a few people to help you through the good and the bad. Plus, it makes Christmas shopping so much easier, don't you think?
6. You are the best you there is on this planet
Although you'll go through times where you feel useless and constantly upset, there is absolutely no one like you, and that is the most beautiful thing in the world. Always know this and never let it slip your mind for a second.
7. Do not take your life or opportunities for granted
There is someone out there who would kill for what you have, so don't you dare get cocky.
8. Hard work comes through when talent fails
When I was a freshman in high school, one of the most amazing choir directors I've ever worked with told me that talent can only take a singer so far, but those who work for the voice parts they have will get so much more out of the experience. But this applies to so much more than singing. Working hard is always better than relying on pure talent.
9. Learning by doing and seeing is so much more valuable than learning in a classroom
Get out and see the world. Watch people. Notice how the universe works. It's so much more beautiful and powerful when you witness how this world functions rather than sitting in a classroom and taking notes on it.
10. Being mature and professional will get you further than being irresponsible and stupid
Sure, it's good to loosen up a little bit and have fun sometimes, but handle yourself well. Be the one people say, "They deserved that" about. Not the one people say, "How did that happen?!" about.
11. First impressions are important
But they're not everything! Making a good first impression on someone (and them making one on you) is important, as that's probably what will stick with you (or them) for the longest time. However, you may get a chance to prove that impression right or wrong, so carry yourself accordingly.
12. Don't do work or activities you hate just to add them to your resumé
Companies and colleges will be able to tell when you joined something just for the heck of it versus when you participated in something you actually care about. Also, it's exhausting to work on something you're not passionate about. So not worth it.
13. Your mom and your friends can see red flags before you can
If they're telling you that one boy is trouble or the decision you're about to make is a bad one, trust them. They know you better than you know you.
14. Follow your heart
Do you want to pursue a major you love but that makes no money? Do it. Have you found something you are passionate about? Keep working at it. At the end of the day, you are your number one priority, and making yourself happy should always be your number one goal.
15. Your mental health is so important (so listen to yourself!!)
If you feel as if you need any help regarding your mental health, get it. You will thank yourself later. And P.S. — receiving help for your mental health is so OK! Don't be embarrassed--you're allowed to get support when you think you need it.
16. Voicing your opinion is better than keeping quiet
Your voice matters, and it deserves to be heard by anyone who chooses to listen.
17. You're allowed to be sad, but never let it consume you
Sadness is an emotion, and you're allowed to have emotions--you're a human after all. But never let it take over your life. Always remember that if you won't remember it in five years, don't be upset about it for more than five minutes (although that is dramatic, you get the point).
18. Eat whatever you want
Food isn't meant to be stressed over. Food is meant to bring people together, fuel our bodies and bring us happiness. Screw the calories, you deserve that extra cookie.
19. Love with every bone in your body
Don't half-ass it. Love and love hard. Yes, it makes you vulnerable, but I promise you it is worth it.