By the time you are reading this, I will officially be 22 years old. This year has been such a huge roller coaster, but I can say that I am so comfortable with who I am as a person. I'm definitely not a life expert, but I have learned a lot in this past year. Here are just a few of the main things I learned that have impacted my life.
1. A smile and a simple hello can do so much.
I'm a person who loves people! When I walk pass someone I try to say hello with a smile. I never realized how much of an impact I was making until someone specifically came up to me and said, “ I've been struggling with depression, but everyday I walk pass you, you say hello and smile. Thank you because it made my days a little brighter.” Never stop smiling or greeting people because you can impact them in such a positive way.
2. You are allowed to feel whatever you feel.
Some days you will be happy, on days like these embrace your happiness. On the contrary, you'll have days that are not so good. You might feel sad, on days like these cry if you need to. You might even feel angry, let yourself be angry and vent. Allow yourself to feel any emotion because holding it in may not be the best for your health.
3. People leave your life.
People come, and people also go. Sometimes they go for good. It'll be hard to accept, but eventually you'll realize that they are the ones missing out. Don't blame yourself for their actions, it's not worth it.
4. Meeting new people is great.
Sometimes you'll meet new people, and you might never see them again. Sometimes you meet new people and you connect instantly and next thing you know, they have become a part of your daily life!
5. Social media does not define who you are.
Don't post that picture for the likes, but do it because you want to post it. The number of likes you get on a selfie doesn't define your beauty. The number of likes you get on an accomplishment, does not define your success.
6. Finding things that give you inner peace can make life easier.
This summer I went to the beach more than I have in the past. I found that just sitting in the sand and looking into the water brought such a sense of peace. I also realized that playing music also brings me to that same peace. It's important to find your type of peace because life can get stressful.
7. Take risks more often.
Don't back away from something because you think that it's not going to work; take a risk. Some of the best decisions come from taking a risk.
8. Being alone and being lonely are not the same thing.
Feeling lonely is horrible. Here you are surrounded by people, but you feel so isolated. You feel unwanted and you need support when you are lonely. Being alone is when you do things for yourself. It another way of isolation, but you're content. I've learned that there is nothing wrong with wanting to be alone. Sometimes it's good to take time for yourself, and be alone as long as you're not lonely.
9. Take every opportunity to build people up and encourage them.
When you spend more time building people up rather than knocking people down, you'll see how incredible people can turn out to be. Sometimes others need encouragement from you, so don't let an opportunity like that pass away.
10. Your grades and test scores do not define you.
It took me way too long to realize that of course grades are important, but in no shape or form do they define how smart you are. If you don't do so good on a test, keep trying, but don't let it define you.
11. Capture your memories.
My favorite way to capture memories is by taking photos and videos of my adventures. I love doing this because although I won't forget these times, I can still have something to show others and look back on in the future.
12. Work after your dreams.
I used to say “go after your dreams”, but in reality you have to work after your dreams. Keep working because that's the only way you're going to get there. Yes-- dreams happen in your sleep, but if you work after them they can become a reality.
13. Learn to move on.
All that baggage from your past, let it go. You are going to have to learn to move on. Learn from your mistakes, and take anything negative from it, and leave it all behind.
14. Don't be so serious all the time.
Unleash your silliness and make goofy faces. Life's too short to be anything but happy. Be silly and never completely hide your inner kid.
15. Take lots of breaks.
It can become easy to overwork yourself. Don't be afraid of breaks, they worth it in the end. Sometimes you just need time for yourself and to clear your mind.
16. Love your friends.
I love my friends to no end. They are the ones who are always there for me and always want to spend time with me. Without them, life would be boring. Most importantly I'm lucky I have friends that I love. Never stop loving your friends.
17. Be honest with your family.
It's important for you to be able to feel comfortable asking your parents questions or going to them for help. I hope that parents in these situations listen when their child needs them because I know that all that child wants is to have an honest relationship with their parent. Making an effort to be honest with your family helps.
18. People are jerks.
Some people will try to tear you down. They might talk bad about you behind your back. There's not much you can do about this besides accept that they are just mean. People can be mean for no reason, don't let the haters get you down.
19. Don't be so hard on yourself.
You're going to have bad days. There have been times when I've thought, “ Why is this happening to me?” Or “Is something wrong with me?”. The truth is nothing is wrong with you. You will get through it because other people have been though your situation too.
20. Do things that make you happy.
Go take that spontaneous adventure with your friends, continue to work after your dreams, spend time with family, whatever makes you happy keep those things in your life. As for the things that don't, let them go.
21. Don't give up.
Whatever your goals are right now, don't give up. Keep pushing no matter how hard it gets. Keep setting goals no matter how big or small, and make an effort to accomplish them. You'll get there, so don't worry. I don't Know where I would be today if I would have given up on my goals.
22. Learn to love yourself.
Everyone has insecurities about themselves. Don't hate yourself for everything you are not, but instead learn to love yourself for everything that you are. Embrace the things that make you different; they are beautiful. Don't ever give these differences up,but learn to love them. Once you do, you'll start loving yourself.