What I've Learned In 18 Years

After eighteen trips around the sun (almost nineteen, scary thought), I'd like to think that I am just a little bit wiser... or have at least learned a few things about life.

1. Write Everything Down

The greatest and wisest advice I've ever been given. No explanation is needed. Have a bad day? Write it down. Go somewhere unforgettable? Write it down? Anything. Write it down. Years later, you're going to want to remember everything.

2. Visit Your Grandparents

No matter how busy you are...take the time to visit your grandparents while they are still here for you to visit. Some of the greatest lessons I have learned in eighteen years have come through afternoons spent on a porch swing with my grandpa. They're your best friends for life, and love you unconditionally. The stories, the love, the wisdom; cherish it.

3. Not Everything Has To Be Perfect

One of the toughest lessons that I've come to learn is just that... not everything has to be perfect. Your grades are not everything, not being the best is entirely acceptable, and failing; failing is part of human nature.

4. Be On Time

If there's anything I've taken from my grandpa, it is to always be on time. The man is at least twenty minutes early for everything. It makes you look responsible, put together, and shows that you care. "A slip every once in a while is perfectly ok, but for the most part get on with it and be where you need to be when you need to be there."

5. The World Is So Big...

There is so much on this planet to explore, and you learn so much by traveling it... even if you're just looking down at the Atlantic Ocean from your airplane seat above. Waiting until I was eighteen to leave the country, I believe I appreciated my travels more. I was old enough to realize the opportunity I had been given to see the world. The people, the languages, the cultures; you begin to see just how wide our world is, and just how much there is to see. See it.

6. Value Your Character Over Your Reputation

Being a good person costs absolutely nothing. Be kind every chance you get, love others without limits, and don't always wait until someone is watching to do something kind or someone else. In the end, being kind will always get you further in life, even if you don't think it will at the time.

7. Eat The Snickers Bar

No questions. In the choice between eating the Snickers (or whatever candy you prefer) or not eating the Snickers...always eat the Snickers. While you're at it, eat the ice cream cake too.

8. Look At The Sunset

Not just look at it in the ordinary sense. Truly look at it, take a picture of it, memorize the colors. Is it bright red? Or is it orange? Or is it a big beautiful combination of both? Either way... look at the sunset.

9. People Will Always Be More Important Than Things

50 years from now are you really going to remember the lip gloss you begged your mom for at the store when you were seven? Probably not... what you are going to remember are your parents, your siblings, the friends who became family, the people who were always there for you. You make time for the people who matter... and you love them with everything you have.

10. Cherish Everything

Every experience, every person...be grateful.

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