I have spent the last couple of weeks reflecting on my youth, and to say the least, I have learned a lot. In 18 years, I have been immersed in a variety of situations and experiences that have shaped me into the person I am today. Here are a few thoughts that I've gathered over the years.
1. Do not live in regret.
You are still to young to regret what went down in the past. Do not worry yourself with things that you can not control, but instead focus on the future and the things that you can change.
2. Be kind.
You never know what someone else is going through. Pay it forward in the drive through, or practice random acts of kindness. A few kind words or actions can make someone's day or even change their life.
3. Make an effort to get along with your family.
They aren't always going to be around, so do not take them for granted.
4. Don't give in to peer pressure.
Do the right thing. Don't do something just because others are doing it it. Many people will even grow to respect you for standing your ground.
5. Don't try to grow up so fast.
Everyone grows up in time. Your teenage years are meant to be a time of self-discovery and learning, so just sit back and enjoy them. Growing up comes with responsibility, and it isn't all it's cracked up to be.
6. Listen to your older siblings.
They've been in your shoes. They know you, and they know your parents better than anyone else. Most of the time their advice is spoken out of experience that you don't have. They most likely have something useful to say.
7. Always humble yourself!
Put your life into perspective. The things that you take for granted may be things that someone else is praying desperately for.
8. Save your pennies.
Your parents' money won't be around forever. Paying for your own clothes, your own phone, and even your own tuition are things that bring you closer to your independence. Embrace it.
9. Read often.
Find books that you like to read and spend some of your free time away from the screen. There is so much you can learn from a story.
10. Watch the news.
We obviously live in a very heated political climate.
Don't be clueless about politics purely because you are young. You are old enough to vote, so go register. Learn about all the laws and candidates you can vote on.
Your generation is the future.
11. Choose your friends wisely.
It is better to have a few close friends rather than several friends who hardly care about you and your wellbeing. Good friends are hard to find, but when you find them, never let them go.
12. Go on some local adventures.
Find things that are unique to your area. Explore. Appreciate the nature that is all around you.
13. Trust in God.
People might let you down, but God never will. He will be your light in the darkness. The moment you put your faith and trust in God, your life will change forever.
14. Invest in concerts.
Seriously, go see a concert. There is nothing like live music. Concerts will be some of the best money you ever spent, and the memories will last forever.
15. Don't worry too much what others think of you.
Not everyone will like you, so it is important to develop healthy self-esteem. Plus, there is nothing as attractive as confidence.
16. Get out of your comfort zone.
Do something crazy. Go zip lining, or skydiving. Do something that makes you nervous.
17. Smile as much as possible.
It's infectious. People will ask why you smile so much, and you can tell them what makes you happy
18. Be patient.
It may not always seem like it, but things will work out the way they are supposed to.