Similar to a good chunk of the internet, the past ten years I have grown from a 10-year-old child to a young adult, making this decade truly one of the most special I'll ever have in my life. Instead of posting the best memes or a Top 10 Kardashian Moments of the Year article, I decided to compile the lessons I learned each year; but looking back makes me realize that I've come very far, hav e a long way to go, and that time does go by fast, huh?
2010: Treat people with kindness.
Not only is it a Harry Styles song, but I did learn the most valuable life lesson in fifth grade. I wouldn't stop picking on the kid who sat in front of me for the entire year, and even though I really don't remember whether it was because I had a crush on him or felt that comfortable calling him Freddie Benson all the time, I felt awful for not knowing if I really hurt his feelings or not once the school year ended. We follow each other on Instagram now, though, so I guess there's no hard feelings! (Haha, right? Also, it's so me to still worry about this almost ten years later.)
2011: Growing up is hard, but the people who matter will get you through it.
Entering the middle school phase of your education is the worst turning point of life (at least in the early stages), so having really good friends will get you through this nonsensical drama-filled time. I was lucky enough to have made a stuck by friends I've had since kindergarten, and even made some new ones, that would last me to where I am now. I was too young to really grasp the importance of surrounding yourself with the people that'll make you your best self back then, but I'm glad I adopted that mindset even before high school.
2012: Enjoy being young— even when you get older.
I was always too mature for my age, combined with the contrary fear of not wanting to grow up, so much so that I thought once you turned 18 you've had to mentally become an "official adult" (I know, I'm insane). Simultaneously, I discovered the phenomenon that is One Direction around this time: hung up posters, went on YouTube every night, started reading fan fiction, the whole lot. What was so amazing to me, though, is that they were so silly at 18-20 years old. I realized from them, for the first time, that I didn't have to grow up so fast, or even at all; I could keep the youth alive inside of me my whole way through life.
2013: Do not stop believing in the impossible. Ever.
Not only did a boyband make me realize the importance of keeping my youthful side intact, but they also resurrected a dream inside of me that I didn't think I wanted anymore. I loved singing ever since I was really little, but I decided to quit choir two years prior when I didn't like it anymore. After revisiting that old dream of mine (that "I literally want to be Hannah Montana on Disney Channel" dream), I realized that it was something I wanted to try again. I joined the choir again, got a few solos in some songs and even auditioned for my first musical. I learned the power of hope and faith through all of this and because of them... so thank you, One Direction.
2014: Your mind can be your worst enemy, but your best motivator.
I experienced my first serious case of anxiety my freshman year of high school, so much so that I skipped a gym class to go see the school therapist to figure out what was wrong with my brain. I got really inside my head with what my childhood friends were thinking of me (or, really, what I was thinking they were thinking of me) since we played volleyball together and I wasn't doing as well as them. My friends were so supportive when they found out I visited her, and they remained that way throughout high school which I am immensely grateful for. The therapist gave what I was going through a name, which I have since forgotten, but it is something I still struggle with to this day but have somewhat overcome since. With this, however, came some huge strides in my music career. I performed as a salt shaker in "Beauty and the Beast" and performed in my first talent show with the help of my best friend with the newly acquired confidence I naturally gained over that last year. My brain proved to be the enemy that drew a fictional line between my friends and I, but it also kept telling me to keep pursuing this dream of mine— crazy, right?
2015: Travel is a necessity in life.
There still has never been a time where I traveled as much as I did this year: I went to Hershey Park, Chicago, Disney World, Boston and Wildwood all within the span of six months— in which two of these places I've never been before, and one was the first trip I went on without any family. I specifically remember crying on the deck of my pool with my sister saying how scared I was to leave for a week, and she told me that it would probably be the most fun I'd ever have; to this day, it's one of my favorite memories ever and even poses as some inspiration for my study abroad plans for this summer. I saw and experienced some of the most exciting things that year, and I owe it to the great venture that is traveling.
2016: The bad times will happen, but the good times will be worth all of the struggle.
Junior year is, as they say, the hardest year of high school, and I soon figured out how that wasn't a lie either. If taking two AP classes and stressing about prom wasn't enough, I was also going through a weird inner struggle, too. I even had my biggest breakdown to date about college applications that fall. However, 2016 did turn out to be one of the best since this was a year where I experienced prom, won the talent show in first place with singing Adele (!), got cast in my first lead role had one of the best summers ever, and where I solidified a lot of friendships I still have today.
2017: Change is a constant, so make sure to live in the moment.
With graduating high school and starting college, I grew in so many ways in 2017. I learned to never take a moment for granted because things (and relationships) could change in an instant. Sometimes I really do wish things were just as fun and simple as this year was, but little did I know what was in store for me for the following year. I even rediscovered the importance of music in my life (yet again) after not keeping it within my studies starting college; from this realization with my newly found love for musical theatre by playing Audrey in "Little Shop of Horrors," I realized I seriously wanted to make my music/theater dreams come true.
2018: When people say life is crazy, it really is.
I'd like to think 2018 was broken up into three stages: the first was pretty similar to 2017 and I was confident in completing my first year of school. The second phase was more than unexpected and I experienced falling in love with my best friend— I was the happiest I'd ever been and finally had the summer romance I always dreamed of. Then, in the final phase, that relationship ended sooner than expected, mixed with helping a friend of mine go through her biggest obstacle yet plus almost failing a class, so the end of 2018 proved that I was in a whole other place than where I began the year. Life truly is a rollercoaster.
2019: Success can't happen overnight, so enjoy the ride.
So after the whirlwind that was last year, I decided to make this year's resolution all about personal growth. 2018 did end on some positive notes, with getting a callback for my first audition for a major production at school as well as landing an interview for my first internship. I wound up getting it and meeting some pretty amazing people, even making two good friends inside of it and having a longtime dream of mine come to fruition from one of them. Besides last year, I've gone through the most self growth ever: with going through probably the toughest experience I have gone through to date as well as learning the most in school, my internship and my first acting class, I am definitely a different person now than when the year started. I also learned the value of this growth, and how my dreams cannot simply happen overnight (as much as I would like them to), and I'm still in the process of learning this right now. Perhaps learning this lesson will be my resolution for 2020 after all!