A lot of people would argue that a 19 year-old hasn't lived long enough to know what life is really about. I would have to strongly disagree. In my 19 years, I've experienced love, loss, heartbreak, accomplishments, and setbacks. Each and everyday, I am faced with something that forces me to grow as a person. I would not call myself an expert on this topic, far from it actually. But, here are some things that I've found to be true.
1. Life isn’t fair
Totally cliche but unfortunately accurate. Life is not fair, and quite frankly, it can suck sometimes. You can make all these plans and backup plans and backup plans to your backup plans, and then they completely get thrown out the window due to things beyond your control. THAT’S LIFE, SWEETIE! Unfortunately, there really is not a way to avoid this. Life goes on whether we are ready for it to or not.
2. People will hurt you
Friends, family, significant others all have the power to hurt you and that can be scary because chances are that they will hurt you and you probably won't see it coming. It's easy to fall into a routine with someone, but the minute that routine breaks, doubt creeps in. Doubt in their loyalty. Doubt in their true intentions. Really just doubt in the relationship. One thing to remember is that if someone truly cares about you, they will not outwardly hurt you. Actions speak louder than words. They can say all the right things, but if they don't act on their words, then they are just words.
3. There is no such thing as perfect
My professor would always say "you can't chase perfection, you'll never catch it" and that really hit me. I think we all strive to reach perfection, but how do we really determine what that is?
4. "Dressing well is a form of good manners"
One of my favorite quotes from Tom Ford... We should all strive to have that "dress for success" mentality. Admit it, wearing certain outfits give you more confidence, so why not wear those outfits everything?? Also, you don't know who you'll see throughout the day. First impressions are everything. It's better to be put together and ready to present yourself to anyone, rather than explaining why you're wearing yesterday's outfit.
5. Private dance parties are a must
Step 1: create a playlist of all your favorite songs (don't forget the throwbacks)
Step 2: invest in a really nice speaker OR sound-cancelling headphones
Step 3: crank it up and DANCE IT OUT!!
6. "Me" time is necessary
In college, it is hard to find time, let alone space, to be by yourself. but trust me, it's needed. Whether you notice it or not, you are exhausting yourself with the constant need to be around people. Make time for yourself. Go for a walk. Go for a drive. Go to the gym. Go shopping. Take up gardening. Knit a sweater. Do something that you enjoy!
7. Its okay to keep some goals a secret
Sometimes it is better to keep somethings to yourself. Set some goals. Keep quiet about them. Grind until you reach them. Shock the world. And clap for yourself.
8. Always keep an umbrella nearby
This is more so a helpful life tip than anything. Invest in an umbrella or three (they have a real bad habit of growing legs and walking away). Keep one in your room, in your car, and even in your backpack. So, when that rainy day comes, you'll be prepared.
9. Cherish your body
You were born with the body you have. All the imperfections and flaws are what make you unique. All your beautiful features make you stand out. Own them both. Don't go comparing yourself to other people either. That is a bad habit, and honestly not healthy. Embrace yourself for who you are. YOU ARE AMAZING! YOU ARE BEAUTIFUL! YOU ARE ONE OF A KIND!
10. Your feelings are always valid
It's okay to cry when you're upset (Yes, even when Derek Shepard dies on Grey's Anatomy). Don't let others try to talk you out of whatever it is you are feeling. If you need to wallow in self-pity for an hour, then do that. But when that hour is up, it is time to get back to business.
11. Don't take yourself too seriously
Seriously, don't take yourself too seriously. Nobody is perfect (lesson #3). We all make mistakes. Laugh at them, and more importantly, learn from them.
12. Be optimistic
Live life with a "glass half full" mentality. Miracles happen everyday. good things come to those who wait for it. When you are faced with difficulty, you say "challenge accepted."
13. Karma is real
Have you heard the expression: "you get what you get and you don't throw a fit?" Actually, you get what you deserve and you only have yourself to thank/blame. A good rule to follow is the "golden rule." Treat others how you would like to be treated. Do that, and wait for the good karma to come your way.
14. Family first
Family has your back no matter what. They will accept you, support you, push you, and most importantly... love you. Don't take them for granted. Call them frequently. Send them pictures of your life's adventures. Go visit them. Tell them you love them.
15. Live by moments, not by a lifetime
Don't be so focused on the future that you forget to live in the present. Take full advantage of every single day you get. Make the most out of it.
16. Never tell a kid that their dreams are unrealistic
Remember when adults would ask you what you want to be when you grew up? The typical replies were: astronaut, president, princess, unicorn, etc... I hope they supported you and even said you'd make the perfect unicorn. Because no dream is too big, especially for a kid.
Now that we're technically the "adults," it's our turn to ask kids what they want to one day. Don't you dare crush their dreams and tell them they won't be able to do whatever it is they want to do. The world needs more unicorns.
17. Compliment a stranger
I don't know about anyone else, but someone of the best compliments I've received came from complete strangers. Maybe it's the fact that they have no obligation to compliment me, let alone acknowledge me. If my day can be made by some lady complimenting my eyes, then I'd like to do the same for someone else. Putting a little bit of kindness out into the world can go a long way.
18. Pray when all else fails
Lesson #1 - life isn't fair. We all face hardships, losses, obstacles, burdens, difficulties, etc. 85% of the time, those things are completely out of your control. That's the time to pray about it. Pray long... Pray hard, and trust in God's timing.
19. You can't please everyone
It is literally impossible to make everyone happy, so don't even try. For starters, do what makes you happy. If that involves making other people happy, then great! If not, then oh well.