18 Life Lessons I Learned In My 18 Years That Helped Shape Who I Am Today

18 Life Lessons I Learned In My 18 Years That Helped Shape Who I Am Today

...19, I hope you can top this one.

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As I approach 19 years of being alive, almost two decades (what the heck?), I have learned a few things from my first year of being an adult, other than being able to buy cigarettes and lottery tickets. Some of these things were positive, others negative, but all of them have one thing in common, they have shaped me to be the person I call myself today.

1. Putting yourself first is not a bad thing.

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I wish I had known before I turned 18 that sometimes putting myself first is what is vital to my mental health. This does not mean being selfish 24/7, but sometimes we all need to say no to someone for the sake of ourselves.

2. Falling down the stairs will not matter a year from now.

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I wish I had known before I turned 18 that busting my ass on the stairs in school would be something everyone forgot about the next day.

3. Making yourself laugh is vital.

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If no one else is laughing at your joke, laugh at your own. You are probably more funny than you think.

4. Say yes to new adventures.

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5. Don't settle for him.

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There is a whole life ahead of you to fall in love with your soulmate, don't think your flaky high school lover will automatically be your husband after college.

6. Your parents are just as confused as you are.

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Before I was 18, I often wondered why my parents restricted me from some of the things I wanted to do, or didn't understand what I did when I did it. They are just as confused as you are, and they are slowly learning how to parent as you are learning how to grow as a young adult.

7. You'll miss your high school friends, a lot.

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To all my high school besties, you made me the person I am today. Thank you.

8. College is hard, grab a helmet.

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College is a new challenge to take on, not only academically, but also socially and emotionally. Be prepared for new changes happening around you every day, ready to tackle them head-on.

9. It's okay to miss aspects of high school.

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Visiting your old teachers everyday might be a stretch, but it's okay to send a thank you email to your favorites that changed you for the better.

10. If you feel uncomfortable, leave.

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Do not feel like you need to stay in a situation because its what everyone else is doing. If something doesn't feel right or it doesn't feel like you, leave.

11. Listen more, speak less.

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Trust me on this one.

12. Always make time for family.

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You won't know how hard it is until you don't have them.

13. Ask for help.

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Help is not something you should be afraid to ask for. We all need it sometimes.

14. Grades do not define you.

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My senior year English teacher told us this at the beginning of the year, and I thought it was absolute bullshit. Eight months later, graduating amongst everyone else in my class, straight A students and straight D's, we were all here, throwing our caps in the air, together, as ourselves, not our grades.

15. Be honest.

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You will thank honesty in the end.

16. As long as you put in your best effort, you did well.

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Do not let a mark you get determine how well you did. If you put in as much as you could, you did well. Be proud of yourself.

17. Do the hard things first.

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Get all the hard things out of the way before it piles up.

18. Count your blessings.

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When you move away to college, you will have a huge amount of new positive experiences, but you also lose some of your favorite things about home. So gorge on your favorite homemade ice cream, go cliff jumping with your high school besties, and take everything one step at a time.

So, all in all, I've learned many valuable lessons in my 18 years of living. Some of them I had to learn the hard way, but I wouldn't change a single thing about the way my life is going, plus how I learned these lessons.

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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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To The High School Senior Wishing She Could Fast-Forward To Graduation, Careful What You Wish For

Don't wish this time away.

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As the last stretch of my freshman year of college stands before me, I've been thinking a lot about where I was a year ago today. I've thought about how fast the time has gone, but also how much has happened in that year.

A year ago, I decided what college I was going to and was getting ready to graduate, and honestly counting down the days until graduation. Senior year was almost over, and I couldn't wait to walk across that stage, get my diploma, and FINALLY get to start my real life. However, now that it's a year later I honestly barely remember all those little moments and it feels like literally a world ago when I was in my high school and making my Senior Board full of pictures of my childhood. And part of me wishes that I hadn't wished all that time away.

So, to my high school seniors out there — I encourage you to cherish all the memories you are making. I encourage you to spend time with your parents and savor the meals you have with them and enjoy the conversations where your mom asks all the mom questions about your day, and your dad tells a story from his childhood that you've heard a million times before. I encourage you to appreciate the friends you have, and whether or not you plan to stay friends with them after graduation, be grateful for the time with them in this season and the role that they played in your life.

I ask you to look around your high school, stop and stare at the walls that you've probably been praying to get out of for a few months now and appreciate the memories and times you've had in those buildings. Whether or not high school was a great time for you or a bad time, it was a time of growth and the place where you matured and made mistakes and succeeded.

Seniors, enjoy these last few months because before you know it you'll blink and it will be a year later and you'll be miss those days that you complained about, those teachers you rolled your eyes at, and those friends that you shared that time with.

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