25 Lessons 2018 Taught Me

25 Lessons 2018 Taught Me

I truly am blessed to see another year.

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This year was a very difficult year for me for so many reasons, but through the ups and downs, I discovered myself....... From losing my grandpa, friends, organizations and life plans, to finding my passion, my faith, myself, and a group of girls who truly bring out the best in me.

This year was full of heartbreak and extreme lows, but so much love and extreme highs. During my darkest moments I was able to find light in the unlikeliest of places; from people to music to faith. I learned so much this year and have grown immensely. I truly am blessed to see another year.

1. Be selfish

When we spread ourselves too thin, we forget about us. Set time aside for you to reconnect and center yourself so you can really be your best in other areas.

2. Chase YOUR dreams

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Break barriers. Believe in yourself. Let people say "they're crazy." and prove them wrong. Big dreams mean big leaps and big failures, but also big successes.

3. Love others more

Loving others more than they love you can bring you pain, but it also brings so much happiness. Sometimes people need love more than you know.

4. It's okay to not be okay

You're going to have good days and bad days. You don't have to have it together 24/7. Reach out when you need help. Its okay and there are so many resources.

5. Where God guides, He provides 

If you feel a true calling and a tug at your heart, listen to it. Listening to Him was the scariest thing I've ever done but it has been so rewarding. He won't fail you. Its scary at first but accepting all that God has in store for you can bring some rewards.

6. I am who He says I am

Society will always have comments about who you are and who you should be. One thing that will never change is the beauty God sees in you and what He says about you. The world sees you through a filter of judgment and false standards. He sees you through a filter of love and grace.

7. Enjoy the little moments 

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Take time to sit back and enjoy your time. Enjoy the little moments of laughter with friends, or crying sessions with your roommates. You'll never get those days back.

8. Spend time with loved ones

I would give anything for one more day with my grandpa. I had no idea that the last time I saw him, would be the last time I'd hear him say "I love you, darling." You never know when it's your last day, or someone else's. Cherish your precious time.

9. Do what makes YOU happy

...and do it unapologetically. Live your life. be who you want to be. Don't live with regret. We only have one life to live, so take hold of the reigns and enjoy the crazy ride.

10. Support live music

Artists are struggling trying to chase their dreams. Grab your friends and go dance and sing your heart out. Who knows, you might discover your new favorite band, or meet the love of your life ;)

11. Stop staring at the mirror

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Imperfections make you perfectly you. Physical beauty is temporary. Inner beauty is timeless.

12. EAT!

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One or even five cookies won't hurt you. Don't over restrict yourself. Everything in moderation.

13. Rest your body

Skipping the gym for a few days, or even a few weeks is okay. Just get back up and keep going. Your body is capable of much more than you think.

14. Your journey is unique 

Stop comparing yourself to everyone else. Your strengths and weaknesses are unique to you. Your plan will use those.

15. You're never too far gone for God

He is full of grace, mercy, and love. He waits with open arms welcoming us home. He doesn't see your scars and bruises. Your brokenness is welcome in His kingdom.

16. Let it go

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Don't hold onto things or people that are bringing you down. surround yourself with things that truly bring out the best in you.

"As iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another." Proverbs 27:17

17. Admit your mistakes 

Be humble. Nobody is perfect. There is always room for improvement.

18. Show grace and forgiveness 

Towards others, AND yourself. Forgiving others allows you to begin to heal. It really isn't for the other person, it's for you. Everybody makes mistakes. Don't dwell on yours. Use it as a learning experience. You're only human.

19. Love yourself 

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I always say "How can I expect someone else to treat me right if I don't treat myself right?". I buy myself flowers every other week or so. It's a self-reminder that I am worthy and that there is beauty in all different sizes, shapes, colors, and seasons.

20. Don't tell people how to treat you

Stand up for yourself, but don't get bogged down on why someone isn't treating you how you want. Some people just don't show love in the ways we want to receive it. (Some just aren't mature enough to realize how their actions affect you.) A friend recently said to me "Well do {they} know that's how you want to be treated?" My response was "no... but I'm tired of telling people how to treat me. Because some people treat me amazing without me saying one word to them."

There will be good people that come into your life that automatically respect you and show you love.

21. You are enough 

...and not just "enough for the right person." You are enough for Him. The world may never see what HE sees but that's okay. You are loved. You are chosen. You are far more than enough.

22. Step out of your comfort zone 

Sometimes stepping out onto the edge is where we get the best view.

23. Say "yes!"

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Stop being so worried about things that don't matter. Go out. Have fun. Take spontaneous day trips. Enjoy your life!

24. Say "no."

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It's okay to say no. You can't spread yourself too thin. Don't be pressured into something you don't want to do.

25. Failure builds character 

When we fall we have two choices, stay down or get back up. Each set back provides an opportunity for growth and learning. You discover how strong you really are. Sometimes God has to break us in order to build us.

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10 Abnormally Normal Things About College

Some stuff just doesn't fly in the real world.
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College is a weird, weird place. For whatever reason, the young adults who are supposed to be cultivating their minds with all of the worldly knowledge available to them, seem to get away with quite a bit using the justification "it's college." Even the best students live abnormally while on the alien planet that is a university. So, while to us college students it may just seem like another day, here are ten things that are only normal in college.

1. Straight up theft.

In the future, if I walk into my forty-something-year-old neighbor's home and see a collection of stolen signs, stuff from the local restaurant, and property from the construction site down the road, I would definitely be concerned about the character of my neighbor. However, in college, people proudly display campus signs, traffic cones, or dining hall napkin dispensers that they have impressively commandeered - it's a cheap decoration and a great conversation starter.

2. All-nighters.

Maybe with the exception of parents of little babies, very few people willingly stay up for close to 24 hours on end. In the real world, if a friend came to you and said that they literally did not sleep the previous night, it's completely logical to be worried. On the other hand, when a friend in college says that he was up all night you laugh a little, give him an understanding pat on the back, and walk with him to the coffee line.

3. Atrocious eating habits.

Sometimes you don't have time to eat. Sometimes you order pizza at 2 in the morning. Sometimes you eat three dinners. Sometimes you diet. All I can say, is thank goodness that our metabolisms are decently high at this age.

4. Breaking and entering.

In high school, you hopefully knew everyone who entered your home. After college, hopefully, that's still the case. However, when you live in the middle of thousands of bored college students, people knock at your door, walk into parties, cut through your yard, and stop by without invitation or hesitation. It keeps life fun, but still not normal.

5. Calling mom when stuff goes down.

I really doubt a time will ever come that I don't need to call my mom for guidance on how to do something. But, hopefully the frequency of those calls with go down a little bit post-graduation. Maybe after four years of doing it on my own, I'll know how to fill out government forms, cook real dinners, and get stains out. But for now, I'm going to keep calling while I still can without seeming totally pathetic.

6. Being intoxicated at weird times.

Drunk at noon on a Friday is the quintessence of an alcoholic at any time - unless it's college. Not that this is necessarily a good thing, and it certainly doesn't apply to everyone, but there aren't many other places where people would instantly assume someone is intoxicated if they're acting even a little weird. I've even seen people drink in the library....

7. The messed up dating scene.



There are people who meet the love of their life at college and live happily ever after. They are people who meet the supposed love of their life at college and never talk to them again after Sunday. There are people who use Tinder. Hormones are high, freedom is bountiful, and football players are cute - what else needs to be said?

8. A warped sense of time.

The career I'm pursuing will require me to be at work by 7 am, five days a week. I am fully aware of this. Now, will I enroll in an 8 am next semester? Absolutely not - I'm not a demon. In college, nights often start at 10 p.m., dinners are eaten at 4, and mornings can begin anywhere from 8 to 2. We don't get that whole 9-5 idea.

9. Costumes... for no apparent reason.

High schoolers have a dress code. Adults have dignity. College students have fun. Here, people will wear a corn costume to get on ESPN, a fanny pack to get into a fraternity, or a tutu to match a theme party. Is it actually a weird thing, though? No one even blinks an eye.

10. Insanely close friends.

Name another point in your life when you live with your friends, study with your friends, drive with your friends, eat with your friends, go out with your friends, and even grocery shop with your friends. I'll wait. At college, it's easy for friends to seem like family because you're with them constantly. Love it or hate it, it's weird about college.

So, enjoy this weirdness while you can - it won't last forever!


ALSO SEE:

Uncensored Roommate Confessions!

Cover Image Credit: Matthew Kupfer

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Part 1: Necessary Changes

One of my favorite movies is "Fried Green Tomatoes" with Kathy Bates. In the movie Bates' character Evelyn Couch says, "Someone helped put a mirror up in front of my face, and I didn't like what I saw one bit. And you know what I did? I changed." I know the feeling.

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I looked in the mirror over the weekend and didn't like what I saw.

The person I saw looking back at me is petty, selfish, manipulative, and unattractive. It wasn't that I hated what I saw, but I definitely didn't like what I saw either. It's a surreal feeling, looking at yourself through a critical lens, and it doesn't make you feel good in any way shape or form.

The image that I see of myself is not how I want others to perceive me. I want to be someone that people look at and see kindness, compassion, strength, and confidence.

I have enough general life experience to know that these types of changes aren't going to happen overnight, and not all of them will be physical; most of these will have to happen from the inside, from within myself.

When you find out you are all broken and damaged, it's hard to know where to start putting the pieces back together. I figured the best place to start would be the most literal: my actual insides; so, I decided to embark on a deep-cleansing journey to get all of the toxins out of my body, from the inside out.

I found this book on 10-day green smoothie detox stashed away in the dark corner of my bookshelf. The science behind it seems accurate and legitimate. By eliminating certain foods, your body is able to detox itself off of chemicals and foods that are slowing down your metabolism; the smoothies are specifically designed with combinations of foods that help restart your metabolism. Part of the detox process is getting rid of all dependencies on caffeine, alcohol, and sugar.

Every day you are given the recipe for a specific smoothie; you make the smoothie (about 40 ounces) and sip on it throughout the day whenever you get hungry. Every smoothie is a combination of leafy greens, water, fruit, and flax seeds. If you do happen to get hungry throughout the day, you are encouraged to eat raw nuts, hard boiled eggs, and a wide variety of crunchy green vegetables. There is also a detox tea that you have first thing in the morning, but other than that no other beverages are allowed except water.

I know that this is only the beginning of a very long, emotional, and draining journey. But I think I'm at the point in my life where I have to make these changes. I have to put my pieces together, I have to become a normal functioning adult, I have to find out who I am. I think that this is the perfect way to start.

For the next 10 days I am going to be documenting my experiences, how I'm feeling, what my emotions are doing, and any results that I see.

Stay tuned!

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