19 Things I've Taught Myself In The First 19 Years Of My Existence

19 Things I've Taught Myself In The First 19 Years Of My Existence

I've learned how to live the way I do and how to do the things I do.

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.

Cover Image Credit: Abigail Borin

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To The Girl Who Had A Plan

A letter to the girl whose life is not going according to her plan.
“I am the master of my fate: I am the captain of my soul.” - William Ernest Henley

Since we were little girls we have been asked, “What do you want to be when you grow up?” We responded with astronauts, teachers, presidents, nurses, etc. Then we start growing up, and our plans change.

In middle school, our plans were molded based on our friends and whatever was cool at the time. Eventually, we went to high school and this question became serious, along with some others: “What are your plans for college?” “What are you going to major in?” “When do you think you’ll get married?” “Are you going to stay friends with your friends?” We are bombarded with these questions we are supposed to have answers to, so we start making plans.

Plans, like going to college with our best friends and getting a degree we’ve been dreaming about. Plans, to get married as soon as we can. We make plans for how to lose weight and get healthy. We make plans for our weddings and children.

SEE ALSO: 19 Pieces Of Advice From A Soon-To-Be 20-Year-Old

We fill our Pinterest boards with these dreams and hopes that we have, which are really great things to do, but what happens when you don’t get into that college? What happens when your best friend chooses to go somewhere else? Or, what if you don’t get the scholarship you need or the awards you thought you deserved. Maybe, the guy you thought you would marry breaks your heart. You might gain a few pounds instead of losing them. Your parents get divorced. Someone you love gets cancer. You don’t get the grades you need. You don’t make that collegiate sports team. The sorority you’re a legacy to, drops you. You didn’t get the job or internship you applied for. What happens to you when this plan doesn’t go your way?

I’ve been there.

The answer for that is “I have this hope that is an anchor for my soul.” Soon we all realize we are not the captain of our fate. We don’t have everything under control nor will we ever have control of every situation in our lives. But, there is someone who is working all things together for the good of those who love him, who has a plan and a purpose for the lives of his children. His name is Jesus. When life takes a turn you aren’t expecting, those are the times you have to cling to Him the tightest, trusting that His plan is what is best. That is easier said than done, but keep pursuing Him. I have found in my life that His plans were always better than mine, and slowly He’s revealing that to me.

The end of your plan isn’t the end of your life. There is more out there. You may not be the captain of your fate, but you can be the master of your soul. You can choose to be happy despite your circumstances. You can change directions at any point and go a different way. You can take the bad and make something beautiful out of it, if you allow God to work in your heart.

SEE ALSO: To The Girl Patiently Waiting With An Impatient Heart

So, make the best of that school you did get in to. Own it. Make new friends- you may find they are better than the old ones. Apply for more scholarships, or get a job. Move on from the guy that broke your heart; he does not deserve you. God has a guy lined up for you who will love you completely. Spend all the time you can with the loved one with cancer. Pray, pray hard for healing. Study more. Apply for more jobs, or try to spend your summer serving others instead. Join a different club or get involved in other organizations on campus. Find your delight first in God and then pursue other activities that make you happy; He will give you the desires of your heart.

My friend, it is going to be OK.

Cover Image Credit: Megan Beavers Photography

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