My Parents Didn't Hand Me Everything And I Am A Better Person For That

My Parents Didn't Hand Me Everything And I Am A Better Person For That

I learned that getting to work for the things you want and giving them to yourself is a far better feeling than receiving them from anybody else.

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I'll never forget the day I found out that if I wanted gas money, I was going to have to get a job and work for it myself. I was freshly 16 and so mad at my parents. How was I supposed to juggle high school and a job? How was I supposed to keep a social life? How the heck was it fair that everyone else's parents were paying for their gas but I had to work for mine? I had so many questions, but I wanted to drive more than anything, so I begrudgingly applied for my first job.

I'm now 21-years-old, working part-time to afford my college education, and I am so thankful that my parents didn't hand me everything I wanted when I was growing up.

I'm thankful because I learned young what it was like to be proud of yourself. I learned that getting to work for the things you want and giving them to yourself is a far better feeling than receiving them from anybody else. I learned that people respect you when you're young and you're working, which, in turn, makes you respect yourself even more. I'm thankful because I get to wake up look at all of the things I've earned on my own and feel proud because I did that myself.

I'm thankful because I learned to appreciate every little thing that someone does for me. Small random acts of kindness from friends and family mean so much more when you aren't handed those things every day. Family offering to help with the cost of gas for the week, friends who buy you lunch, and random gifts mean so much more when you don't get them all the time.

I'm thankful because I learned to show up and work. I learned independence. I learned that sometimes, you're just going to have to show up to class tired because you worked late. I learned that sometimes, you're going to have to go without. I learned that sometimes, people won't understand, but that's OK because you'll also meet people that do understand. I learned that there will always be people with more than you, but that doesn't make their life any more full than yours.

My parents have spoiled me in ways that money can't buy. They've loved me enough to let me see a little bit of struggle but have always been there to pick me up if I ever needed it. They've stressed work ethic and accountability, which is something I've found that my generation lacks. They've shown me that you don't need to rely on people to do things for you because you can always do it yourself.

I'm thankful because my parents have always given me everything I needed, but not everything I wanted.

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The Truth About Young Marriage

Different doesn't mean wrong.
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When I was a kid, I had an exact picture in my mind of what my life was going to look like. I was definitely not the kind of girl who would get married young, before the age of 25, at least.

And let me tell you, I was just as judgmental as that sentence sounds.

I could not wrap my head around people making life-long commitments before they even had an established life. It’s not my fault that I thought this way, because the majority opinion about young marriage in today’s society is not a supportive one. Over the years, it has become the norm to put off marriage until you have an education and an established career. Basically, this means you put off marriage until you learn how to be an adult, instead of using marriage as a foundation to launch into adulthood.

When young couples get married, people will assume that you are having a baby, and they will say that you’re throwing your life away — it’s inevitable.

It’s safe to say that my perspective changed once I signed my marriage certificate at the age of 18. Although marriage is not always easy and getting married at such a young age definitely sets you up for some extra challenges, there is something to be said about entering into marriage and adulthood at the same time.

SEE ALSO: Finding A Husband In College

Getting married young does not mean giving up your dreams. It means having someone dream your dreams with you. When you get lost along the way, and your dreams and goals seem out of reach, it’s having someone there to point you in the right direction and show you the way back. Despite what people are going to tell you, it definitely doesn’t mean that you are going to miss out on all the experiences life has to offer. It simply means that you get to share all of these great adventures with the person you love most in the world.

And trust me, there is nothing better than that. It doesn’t mean that you are already grown up, it means that you have someone to grow with.

You have someone to stick with you through anything from college classes and changing bodies to negative bank account balances.

You have someone to sit on your used furniture with and talk about what you want to do and who you want to be someday.

Then, when someday comes, you get to look back on all of that and realize what a blessing it is to watch someone grow. Even after just one year of marriage, I look back and I am incredibly proud of my husband. I’m proud of the person he has become, and I’m proud of what we have accomplished together. I can’t wait to see what the rest of our lives have in store for us.

“You can drive at 16, go to war at 18, drink at 21, and retire at 65. So who can say what age you have to be to find your one true love?" — One Tree Hill
Cover Image Credit: Sara Donnelli Photography

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Your Relationship With Your Parents Changes Over Time, Here's Why

Four ways in which your relationship with your parents change from age eighteen to twenty-two.

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Over spring break I had time to think about all the different ways in which my relationship with my parents has changed throughout college. We've definitely had our ups and downs, but as graduation grows closer, I take time to note how far we have come. From freshman to senior year of college I have undergone a drastic change in how I appreciate my parents.

At eighteen, I wanted to get as far away from my parents as possible. I was going to college in order to be independent, study, and hopefully make a career for myself. Nothing could stop me and no one could give me advice. I was stubborn and hungry to explore the new life that awaited me. I didn't realize how hard it would be being on my own for the first time ever. I had never even been to camp let alone moved to a different state not knowing a single soul. I was happy for the new opportunities but quickly realized how much I had been sheltered. Initially, I resented my parents for my little life experience going into college but as the years have passed I realized I can't be so immature to put my lack of knowledge on them. As an adult I now make things work and advocate for myself. Your struggles as an individual humble you so you can come back together better and stronger than before.

Here are some ways in which the relationship between you and your parents change:

1. You don't live together 24/7, so you appreciate time spent with them.

When you're not sharing a space with your parents and they are not there to nag at you about chores, you finally get to know them as people. As an adult yourself you begin to relate to them in ways that weren't possible in childhood.

2. You realize what is worth fighting over and what is not.

You have learned how to live on your own and set boundaries. As an adult, you come back home knowing what can be improved upon within the relationship and what are things you can let go.

3. You have experience with adulthood now and can understand how really great they are.

Adult struggles are real and now as someone older and wiser, you have experienced a great many. You then begin to realize how your parents took on all these responsibilities plus the responsibility of raising/providing for you. You don't know how they did it, but suddenly you're mad at sixteen-year-old you who fought them on everything.

4. They are your biggest support system in wanting you to achieve your dreams.

There is no one quite as invested in your dreams like your parents. When you have no one to turn to and nothing to give you that extra boost of motivation, parents are there. They may not be perfect but they love you more than anyone so call your parents.

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