Today, June 22nd, 2017, I turn 19 years old. 19 isn’t a very significant number, really. I can get into bars in Champaign (where I attend university), but that’s about it. I don’t drink, so I actually don’t care about bar-legality. It isn’t 18, when you’re finally considered an adult, you can vote, get tattoos and piercings, and buy lottery tickets. It isn’t 20, when you go from being a teenager to a young adult escaping teen pregnancy. It isn’t 21, when you can legally drink, and go to 21+ concerts. It isn’t 22, my golden birthday. It’s just 19. Nothing too notable, but for me this past year has been a year of a lot of growth. I actually feel like I’m an adult in many aspects. It’s weird. 19 may not be the most special milestone, but it’s still a stone worth celebrating. Here is a quick list of 19 important life lessons that I’ve learned in my 19 years of life thus far.
1. Spending time alone is essential; learning how to enjoy it is too.
2. You’re never done learning. Forgive yourself, because you’re supposed to make mistakes.
3. Be yourself and be true to yourself – you’ll never be happy if you don’t do this.
4. Clear communication is one of the most important parts of any relationship.
5. Never forget to count your blessings.
6. “Always stay humble and kind,” as Tim McGraw once said.
7. You look equally beautiful with and without makeup because you are a beautiful soul.
8. It is so important to call and FaceTime/Skype your loved ones, no matter how near or far. Family is what life is all about.
9. It’s completely acceptable to change your mind about people. Saying goodbye to people who have hurt you is extremely difficult, but extremely liberating.
10. You’ll make the best friends when, where, and with who you least expect.
11. It is so cool to be wildly passionate about things. Look for people who get that special spark in their eyes when they talk about what they love. Be one of those people.
12. Don’t do it for the picture – do it for the feeling, the memory, and the experience.
13. You can never say “thank you,” or “I love you,” enough times.
14. You can be doing the coolest things, but that doesn’t matter if the people who surround you suck. Your experiences really are only as good as the people you share them with.
15. Listening to good music can help you out of your lowest lows and help you enjoy your highest highs.
16. Do things that scare you; that nervous butterfly feeling in your stomach helps you grow so much more than you know.
17. Love your parents – you really have no idea how much they do for you every single day.
18. Don’t measure your success by looking at others – you’re great regardless of what your peers are doing.
19. Breathe. You can do it.
Cheers to many more years and lessons to come,