As another year comes and goes, it doesn't seem possible how time flies by so fast. It honestly feels like just a few years ago I was dancing or playing Polly Pockets with my sister and her friends, when in reality it was at least ten. You will never really believe anyone when they tell you that you won't know where the time went until you look back and can see it for yourself. Each birthday I never quite feel any older, but as I look over the time that has passed I can see myself aging. The question everyone always asks, "Do you feel any older?" Well after looking back and seeing all that has happened in 19 years I can say I do. Wow, 19 years I have been on this Earth and it actually seems really long when you think of it. I can only imagine how people feel when they hit 30 and above! As I look back over the years, I can find some important things that I have learned and figured they are important enough to share with y'all.

1. Always say please and thank you.

Something so easy but yet often lost in people's growing up and growing old. Manners should always be a concern and just makes encounters all around better. When being polite, you will not only be seen as a person with manners, but will be taken more seriously and considered at a higher level than others who don't. So when you think of it, be kind and use manners.

2. Don't forget to say I love you to your parents on a daily basis.

Your parents are who brought you to this Earth and have raised you to who you have become -- you certainly didn't do it all by yourself. They have put themselves flat out for you and have always tried to love and give unconditionally. A reminder each day just how much you love them is something simple that will mean the world.

3. Admit you're wrong when necessary.

I mean who actually ever wants to say that they are wrong? No one. But at times it is exactly what you need to do. As much as I hate it sometimes and most everyone else probably does too, it can be just what is needed. You are not educated and excellent on every subject/event/et cetera that has or is happening. In some situations and places you may be the one who is in the wrong and all that can solve that is by apologizing and admitting so.

4. Stand your ground.

Going off of number 3, sometimes you may be completely right! If someone is trying to talk down to you or tell you that you have done something wrong and you truly know that is not the case, don't take it! Stand up for yourself in all situations and don't ever let anyone put you down. When doing so however, don't be rude or unkind. You can stand up for yourself and set things straight without being a complete meathead.

5. Do not lie.

We've all done it before, even me. Everyone always say little white lies never hurt anyone, which may be true from time to time. But that may lead to even bigger ones and have yourself wound up in your own web of lies. Honesty is the best policy. Even though it may suck at times to own up to something you tried lying about, or having to be honest to a person even though it will hurt or offend them, in the end it is the best to just speak the truth and get it over with.

6. Save your money.

If you haven't realized that money is valuable at this point in time, open your eyes and ears! Even before I started working and making money for myself, I knew it was something to be valued. Sad to say, but everything in this world costs something. From groceries, to gas, to school and more. Try to look at things with a want vs. need perspective and that can get you headed in the right direction. Always try to set some money aside and keep building that fund instead of spending it as soon as you get it.

7. Family over anything.

Personally, I am very close to my family and always have been. They are what I value most, even more than money. Family doesn't have to mean immediate either-- it can include anyone you hold close to your heart. Sometimes life can get busy or you'll have to make choices that aren't the easiest. I know that I value my family as number one and realize that in an instant things can change quickly. This is why I always choose them over anything else, whatever that may be.

8. Looks don't mean everything.

In today's world, it seems that looks mean a lot in all aspects of life. The look of a person, your belongings, you name it. Don't judge a book by its cover honestly will always be relevant and an important piece of advice for life. Don't choose who/what you like or dislike because of how they/it looks. Also don't be embarrassed by looks whether that be your possessions, yourself, or who you associate with. Looks aren't everything and if you haven't realized that yet then you may want to start reconsidering your view on things.

9. Forever really doesn't mean till the end of time.

Best friends forever. I'll love you forever. We'll always be together. On and on and on. Whoever came up with the childhood saying B.F.F.s just set everyone up for failure. It is an anomaly if you things do last forever. Most of my friends who at one point in time said "forever" are barely existent in my life now. And to the ones who are, I hope you continue to be. Yet don't be let down when forever doesn't pan out. Try to be happy in the moment and appreciate what you have. Each birthday is a tell tail sign of who you really should stay concerned and care about, and sadly each year that dwindles down. Don't let that get you down though, take it in stride and be happy with where and how you are.

10. All things are meant to be.

Again tailing off of the previous point, I truly believe all things are meant to be. Yeah this saying sucks when it comes to something sad or frustrating. But all things are truly meant to be, the reason behind it just may be hard to see at first. Sometimes the reason may not become evident at all. However from good times to bad, all things happen for a reason and are meant to be in your life. Believe it or not, some things are meant to occur and will only add to you as a person.

11. Keep organized.

Life is hard enough, don't make it any harder by having clutter in your life! This may just be me being a neat freak from time to time, but it honestly makes every angle of life better. From your home, to your job, friends, family, paperwork, anything you can think of. Try to stay on top of things and know where/what everything is.

12. Take time for yourself.

Sometimes you just need you time. It makes perfect sense that you need some time for yourself, don't feel bad for needing it or taking it. Some people may not always understand, but that is because they don't do it for themselves when they need it or feel it is unimportant. In all honesty, I would go crazy if I didn't take some time for myself here and there, it probably is why some people do! Do so before you become overwhelmed. Think about you, where you are in life, what you want, and just breathe and relax! You don't always need to think about life, as long as you can sit and watch a movie, read a book, take a nap, just something once a week you will thank yourself.

13. School and grades are not everything.

Whether it be school and grades, work, or something else you value, it is not everything in life. There are other things that are important and you should take time for them. If all you do is concentrate on school or work 24/7, you'll miss the joys of life. Taking a step back or time off from time to time will not kill you. Everything will work out in the end, remind yourself that.

14. Try to worry as little as possible.

A worry-wart I am. Through all my 19 years I think I can say that I constantly worry about things, whether they are in my control or not. Worrying may feel necessary at some points but all it is doing is breaking you down inside. Most things you worry about are out of your control. Try to not think about it and just let things work out as they do. "That's how the cookie crumbles." Sometimes you just have to wait and see and life will work itself out as it should.

15. It's okay to treat yourself more than just from time to time.

Everyone always says treat yourself from time to time, why wait so long in between?! It is perfectly okay to treat yourself a lot. I don't mean eat ice cream sundaes the size of your face every day. But if you feel like having a small dessert every night, do it. Or want to go shopping and buy yourself something nice here and there? Do it. Honestly all in all, you do only live once. Do what you want and as long as you are happy and healthy, all is good.

16. Don't live with regrets.

Wouldn't it be nice if humans had nine lives too? Well sorry to burst your bubble but it isn't so. I can tell you full heartedly that I hate the saying YOLO. But in all reality you do only live once. Don't live your life with regrets of I wish I did that, or I should've said or done this. Life can end at any moment as sad and terrifying as that is. Don't be the person who doesn't do things out of fear or any other reason. I know that when it is my time to go I won't want people remembering me as someone who didn't take risks. Whether it be interactions with people or anything, from now on I will make sure to not regret anything.

17. Smile and laugh often.

Yeah life sucks at times. But don't let that overshadow all the greatness of it! Someone once told me it takes more effort and energy to frown than smile. Whether this be true or not, it is something that I have always thought about. Nothing can seem that bad when you have a smile on your face or can laugh about it right?

18. Find the positive's in everything.

Not all is good, but there is always good in something. I constantly tell myself to live by this rule and find myself failing to do it after a while. If I can find one good out of something bad, then it really can't be that bad after all. Find something good, don't feel bad for yourself and look on the bright side of things. Life is all about perspectives, make sure you have the right one.

19. Do what makes you happy.

Dance freely, sing loudly, laugh often, smile constantly, love full heartedly. Who cares what people have to say? You are you and be completely proud of that. Always do what makes you happy and don't feel bad for doing so. Don't live life to please others all the time, you can say no when you need to. There is a reason that yes and no are both words. Be you and be happy at all times.

19 years isn't a lot in relation to 50, 80, 90 and so on. But I will say that in my 19 years of living I feel I have experienced a lot of aspects of life and have begun to grow into the person I want to be. I know right from wrong, what I want in life, what makes me happy, and what is important. 19 years and I have my head on straight and can now smile and feel no regrets on anything I have done as I look back. It may have taken a bit to get to this point of happiness but I am here now and there is no turning back. Cheers to 19 years on this Earth. Cheers to being happy and having people in my life who make me that way. Here's to a life filled with joy and happiness and for appreciating all that is to come. To the future and much more.