I thought it would be a good idea to share some of the things I’ve learned on my way to turning 19. It definitely feels a little strange to be going into my last year of being a teenager, but at the same also a relief. Being a teenage can suck sometimes, but it also has its merits.
I’ve also been appreciating that my life will probably never be this “easy” again- soon I will have to start searching for internships and eventually a job. Soon I’m going to have way more responsibility than I do now, but also more freedom to decide where I’m going to steer my life.
Anyways, here are the 19 things I’ve learned by the time I turned 19.
- Your worth is not measured by how well you do in school. This one took me a long time to figure out, but trust me on this- no one will care about your high school GPA or what you got on the ACT.
- You are never alone. No matter what you are going through, there are others out there who have been through something similar. Even if you can’t find someone who hasn’t, there is always someone willing to talk to, whether it’s a family member or a therapist.
- Listen to your mom/dad. They know what they’re talking about.
- Boys can be mean. Boys can say some really dumb stuff. The important thing to remember is that what they think does not define you. And one day you will find a boy that isn’t mean to you (I know it’s possible because I found one).
- Girls can be even meaner. The problem with mean girls is that they don’t tell you straight up what they’re thinking about you. Instead, they tell everyone else. Here’s a secret: most likely they’re jealous of you.
- You will find your real friends. It may take longer than you think, but once you find them, you know.
- Don’t worry about what everyone else is doing. Focus on you. You are the most important person in your life. Only your progress matters.
- Stop hating your flaws and trying to change yourself to fit someone else’s definition of beauty. Just remember: every model/celebrity you see is photo shopped or retouched in some way.
- Embrace the quirks in your personality. Don’t cover up parts of your personality in fear of others not liking you (unless you tend to be overly blunt, that’s not always good).
- Learn how to let things go and not get hung up over the little things. Learn how to shake things off and not take things so personal. I still struggle with this.
- Don’t be afraid to ask for what you want/need. I’m still trying to get better at asking for help and asking for what I want. People can’t read your mind, so you will need to speak up. It will be scary, but worth it.
- Be kind. You never know what’s going on in someone else’s life.
- That being said, don’t be too kind. Don’t be a doormat. Don’t let others take advantage of you.
- Learn to forgive people. You’ll be much happier if you do. One of the biggest steps I took in my life is when I finally was able to let go of the hurt someone had continually inflicted on me, and forgave them.
- Practice your creativity. Whether it’s through writing, drawing, photography- find a way to blow off steam. Netflix doesn’t count as creative, sorry.
- Don’t settle for someone who doesn’t treat you like you should be treated. Please never settle for someone who treats you as less than enough. You need to realize when it’s time to step back, whether in a relationship or a friendship.
- Go to bed at a decent time if you know you have to wake up early. I’m really bad at telling myself when it’s time to go to bed. For me, there’s always something I could be doing instead, even when sleep is probably my best option. But sleep is vital to normal functioning, so make sure you’re getting enough hours somehow.
- Don’t worry too much about money. Money is here to serve you, you are not here to be a slave to money. My mom has drilled this into me. Most people who know me know that I’m selfish with my money, so I’m also still trying to learn this. My mom has always told me that money comes and goes- so you might as well enjoy what you do with it, as long as you don’t spend money you don’t have.
- Don’t be afraid to try something new. I love trying new foods, going to new places, and trying out different things. While there will always be things I refuse to do (like going on roller coasters), I always try to open to things I haven’t tried yet. To me, this is the best way to learn.