18 Reflections I Make At The Age Of 18

18 Reflections I Make At The Age Of 18

It was a reflective year, to say the least.

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I have one week left of being the age where I learned the most about life and myself.

18 was my most reflective trip around the sun. My eyes had to be open more because I was experiencing everything by myself and that left so much room for thought. I never stopped learning and I never stopped growing, I just let this year be a trial run at adulthood. I saw so many things in a new light and my awareness is better than it ever was. I know I'll never be this young again and I let that spark a lot of my decisions, and I experienced a lot of firsts. Some things I learned may be a bit late, and other things I found may make me wise beyond my years, I'm just proud of myself for being as thoughtful as I was.

1. Not much changes with adulthood.

Life only changed when my outlook changed. No one started seeing me any differently because of the year I was born. I established myself as mature before I was 18, so the age never mattered. Becoming a legal adult is all hype depending on what you're willing to do with it. I never bought lottery tickets or cigarettes, just cold medicine.

2. Defiance is my super power!

I always allowed myself to be fueled by being told I can't do something. Now, I've realized how great of a trait that is. Success stems from defiance. I will push myself as hard as I can go just to prove someone wrong.

3. Friends are everything.

Lovianna Blackwell

The friends that last through even the first little stage of adulthood are so important. Distance, time, stress, and new lifestyles can cause a lot of separation, but it doesn't have to. And the best and most permanent friends know that.

4. Boys aren't anything.

Even at 18, boys are still only that: boys. What I have done and what I haven't done pertaining to boys doesn't affect anyone but me. It just doesn't matter. It's something I'm still learning, because there are expectations and standards, but I have to set them for myself. I can't base them on what anyone else is doing.

5. I'm allowed to treat myself.

Lovianna Blackwell

We grow up hearing "money can't buy happiness," but it can certainly buy things that make you happy. And every once in a while I learned it's best to treat myself to something, like a fancy Ice Cream Sunday, to make myself happy. I was always so scared to spend money, but I learned how to save and budget so I can enjoy more.

6. I have to tell people I miss them.

When I was younger, I hated calling anybody. I reminded myself, "the phone goes both ways." But then I realized that I can't expect anyone to call me because I miss them. I cant believe it took this long to figure that out. Now I value long conversations with the people I miss.

7. I know a lot about myself.

Lovianna Blackwell

I value who I am and my opinions and my voice. I have always spent so much time on my own. I never felt lonely, just independent. There was never anyone I had to answer to. But when I got to the point where I was the most on my own, at 18, I adjusted well. Some others didn't. They never got the chance to be themselves, by themselves. People were envious of how comfortable I was in my own skin. I thought I came off as narcissistic, but I didn't. It changed my whole outlook of thinking independence was a bad thing.

8. I never want to be the same person I was yesterday.

I started noticing all the little changes I could make. I have so much control over my fate if I just make adjustments and never make the same mistake twice, and I make a mistake every day. So, as long as I learn every day, I can be an improved person tomorrow, and every tomorrow after that.

9. Say "yes" to things that scare me.

Lovianna Blackwell

As long as no harm comes from doing something, I can say "yes" to it. I was afraid of needles, but I got a piercing. And it was invigorating. Now I'm not afraid to agree to things that freak me out a little.

10. Also know when to say "no."

This was a big one for me. It doesn't take a lot of convincing to get me to agree to things. There are times I had to learn that I couldn't help everyone all the time, that I had to focus on me first because of my grades and my sleep matter. Saying "yes" is important, but not if it will have a big impact on something else.

11. Never accept defeat!

Lovianna Blackwell

This specifically pertains to college, but I do not let myself give up anymore. I realized how hard I can work and so I work that hard. If something is worth all the effort I have, then I'll give it. With that being said, I also know when to hold back on things I can't handle. But I've realized I only have to work hard because it's for what I want.

12. The only person I can expect things from is myself.

I am the only person I can hold to a higher standard because I know how far I want to go, and I'm the only person willing to work that hard. I expect a lot of myself because I know what I'm capable of.

13. Netflix will always be waiting, so I need to focus now on the things that won't.

When my anxiety would kick in, Netflix in bed was my safe zone. It got to a point where I wouldn't do much else aside from class. Then I convinced myself to do things that weren't permanent like hanging out with friends and going on trips, because Netflix is something that won't ever go away. It was a helpful reminder to live in the moment.

14. Numbers are so unimportant.

At 18, I finally realized how meaningless numbers are in the grand scheme of things. Weight was just a number tied to my body, time was just holding me back, my GPA isn't in competition, and things like followers and likes could not be any less important than they are made out to be. They hold so much significance in society, and I stopped taking that.

15. Good shampoo is worth splurging on.

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Thankfully, "Queer Eye" debuted this year! I learned everything about beauty and a lot about life from Jonathan Van Ness. The thing that stuck for me were the dangers of sulfates in shampoos. They are so bad for the hair, and now I spend the extra few dollars on sulfate-free shampoo. I remind all my friends to treat their hair with the care it deserves, and I'm basically a spokesperson for "Queer Eye" now. Not to be dramatic, but it kind of changed my life!

16. The importance of voting!

Adults preached the power of voting the whole time I was growing up. I understood that, but it didn't affect me yet. I never felt like I had any say in anything until the time came where I could register. And registering to vote was the coolest thing ever. There isn't a lot to look forward to about turning 18, but as someone who loves for her opinions to matter, that was a big deal.

17. Life is still just beginning.

Lovianna Balckwell

There are so many things I have yet to figure out or accomplish. Rome wasn't built in a day, so I know my life won't be either. It won't even be nearly completed for a while. I take my time and give myself space to learn as I go.

18. I had a lot to learn.

By no means did I think I had it all figured out, but I let myself think I knew a lot more than I did. I started college a year early, at 17, and I grew up faster than I really planned to. And I did that to myself. I'm thankful I did, though, because it gave me the opportunity to grow more and learn all these amazing things I may not have this year. With just a week left at 18, I feel more accomplished than I ever thought I could.

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9 Reasons Crocs Are The Only Shoes You Need

Crocs have holes so your swag can breathe.
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Do you have fond childhood objects that make you nostalgic just thinking about your favorite Barbie or sequenced purse? Well for me, its my navy Crocs. Those shoes put me through elementary school. I eventually wore them out so much that I had to say goodbye. I tried Airwalks and sandals, but nothing compared. Then on my senior trip in New York City, a four story Crocs store gleamed at me from across the street and I bought another pair of Navy Blue Crocs. The rest is history. I wear them every morning to the lake for practice and then throughout the day to help air out my soaking feet. I love my Crocs so much, that I was in shock when it became apparent to me that people don't feel the same. Here are nine reasons why you should just throw out all of your other shoes and settle on Crocs.

1. They are waterproof.

These bad boys can take on the wettest of water. Nobody is sure what they are made of, though. The debate is still out there on foam vs. rubber. You can wear these bad boys any place water may or may not be: to the lake for practice or to the club where all the thirsty boys are. But honestly who cares because they're buoyant and water proof. Raise the roof.


2. Your most reliable support system

There is a reason nurses and swimming instructors alike swear by Crocs. Comfort. Croc's clogs will make you feel like your are walking on a cloud of Laffy Taffy. They are wide enough that your toes are not squished, and the rubbery material forms perfectly around your foot. Added bonus: The holes let in a nice breeze while riding around on your Razor Scooter.

3. Insane durability

Have you ever been so angry you could throw a Croc 'cause same? Have you ever had a Croc bitten while wrestling a great white shark? Me too. Have you ever had your entire foot rolled like a fruit roll up but had your Crocs still intact? Also me. All I know is that Seal Team 6 may or may not have worn these shoes to find and kill Osama Bin Laden. Just sayin'.


4. Bling, bling, bling

Jibbitz, am I right?! These are basically they're own money in the industry of comfortable footwear. From Spongebob to Christmas to your favorite fossil, Jibbitz has it all. There's nothing more swag-tastic than pimped out crocs. Lady. Killer.

5. So many options

From the classic clog to fashionable sneakers, Crocs offer so many options that are just too good to pass up on. They have fur lined boots, wedges, sandals, loafers, Maryjane's, glow in the dark, Minion themed, and best of all, CAMO! Where did your feet go?!

6. Affordable

Crocs: $30

Feeling like a boss: Priceless

7. Two words: Adventure Straps

Because you know that when you move the strap from casual mode chillin' in the front to behind the heal, it's like using a shell on Mario Cart.

8. Crocs cares

Okay, but for real, Crocs is a great company because they have donated over 3 million pairs of crocs to people in need around the world. Move over Toms, the Croc is in the house.

9. Stylish AF

The boys will be coming for you like Steve Irwin.

Who cares what the haters say, right? Wear with pride, and go forth in style.

Cover Image Credit: Chicago Tribune

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The Burning of Notre Dame

As the world looked on in horror, the 800-year-old cathedral threatened to burn to the ground, but I felt a different sort of fire igniting.

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It's unlikely that this is the first article you've ready about the burning of France's Notre Dame Cathedral. It's a national landmark that has stood, in some form, for 800 years and we, as a world, were forced to watch it burn for nearly a day and a night. It was devastating to a multitude of people, not only the French nation.

I was watching a live stream of the cathedral's burning, stuck between horror and disbelief, when another feeling entirely began to creep over me. I read the headlines sprawled across the top of the screen, "Notre Dame Burns", "Gothic Structure Nearly Lost", "Will They Rebuild?" and started to wonder where we place our value in everyday life. I understand and appreciate the fact that Notre Dame is a treasure from a different time entirely, it holds more history than the whole of younger lands like the United States and Canada combined, but still, doubt circled in my heart and mind.

After the spouting flames had died to their last embers, a torrent of posts began to flood multimedia platforms like Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and everything in-between. People began to communicate their relief that the inner sanctuary was unharmed, that the fire hadn't damaged the twin towers, etc. They touted that God had spared dear Notre Dame in her darkest hour. I disagreed, but not for the reasons you might think.

We, as a culture, as a world, place too high a value on historical religious items whilst we shun the Power to which we owe their creation. The historical value of a place like Notre Dame is unmistakable, I pray that the French government will make every effort in her restoration so future generations can understand her place in history. But...I pray, more so, that the tragedy of the burning of Notre Dame serves a higher purpose; to bring those who have fallen away from Christ back from the brink.

We need to understand the value of our religious history, but not allow it to control us. Some might say the burning of Notre Dame was the conflagration of a dying era. Maybe it was. Maybe it wasn't. I think God used the pillars of fire that emerged from the cathedral's center as a beacon to bring our eyes back to him. Disasters unite nation to nation, people to people, and He wants us to unite in our adoration of Him.

I'm amused when people describe Christ as a softy, a push-over, a weakling. Because I know better. The flames that wreathed Notre Dame were a testament to His strength. Through them, He was shouting, "Come back to me! I am here! Forsake your sinful ways and find redemption in Me!"

I think John the Baptist had the right of it in Luke 3:16, "...I baptize you with water. But one who is more powerful than I will come, the straps of whose sandals I am not worthy to untie. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire."

Christ is the fire.

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