Being that today is my 19th birthday, it only felt necessary to look back on the last 19 years. This past year, especially, I moved away from home and started a new chapter of my life at college, experienced many highs and lows, and have grown into myself more and more each day. So, I decided to do a little recap of 19 things I’ve learned at 19.
1. Nothing Grows In Your Comfort Zone
Although it’s scary to put yourself in uncomfortable situations, staying within your comfort zone isn’t beneficial for your growth. Make an effort to do things that make you a little uncomfortable. Honestly, starting this blog was a huge step out of my comfort zone. I’m putting my most vulnerable self out there to share with you all. Yet, there’s something exhilarating about having an open mind and doing things that are out of the norm.
2. Quality over Quantity
Growing up, my parents always preached to my brothers and me that quality is so much more important than quantity. Until recently, I never truly understood how significant this saying is. Regarding friendships or relationships, the quality of those weighs much more than the quantity. I’ve realized that having 5 close and supportive friends, let’s say, is more meaningful than having a huge group of friendly acquaintances.
3. Sometimes You’ll be Blindsided
In the simplest way possible, sometimes people or situations may catch you completely off guard and leave you feeling lost and confused. While you can go on and on trying to make sense of things, put your time and energy elsewhere.
4. Make Self-Care a Priority
If you asked me what I thought self-care meant last year, I probably would’ve said something along the lines of, “Eating well and having a spa night once in a while.” Obviously, eating well and treating yourself definitely fit within the range of self-care. Now more than ever, though, I’ve realized that self-care can have a much deeper meaning. Whether you go to therapy to cope with anxiety or join a gym to improve your physical and mental wellness, sometimes we need to put ourselves first. Trust me, it’s not selfish to be selfish.
5. Adjust Expectations
Among many, and I mean many, of the life lectures that my dad has given me, adjusting expectations has stuck with me the most. In every situation, we often have certain expectations for how that is going to play out. Being a person with a structured-like mindset, I set expectations in my head and go into situations assuming that they will go according to plan. Haha, nope. My dad tried explaining to me that 2 + 2 does not always = 4. Well, mathematically it does. But, you know what I mean. His words that have been engraved in my head were, “if you go into a situation with little to no expectations, you’ll decrease your chances of being hurt or disappointed.”
6. Do What Makes you Happy
I’m going to make this short and sweet because it doesn’t really need any explanation. If something brings joy into your life, keep it up. Personally, going to SoulCycle adds extra positivity and inspiration to my life, which is why I constantly go. Ignore what others think and do what genuinely makes you your happiest self.
7. Don’t Be So Hard on Yourself
I’m sure we’ve all had our moments where we beat ourselves up and pick out our flaws. I’m definitely guilty of doing so. So what, you skipped a day at the gym or you got a C on your exam? Life goes on. Don’t dwell on situations you can’t change. Move forward with more motivation.
8. Go on a Drive
Whenever I’m feeling upset or too in my head, I go for a drive. There’s something so liberating about going for a drive by yourself, listening to good music, and clearing your mind.
9. Live in the Moment
This is another one I’ve heard over and over and have only recently begun to practice. As much as I wish I could turn back time and redo things, I can’t. And as much as I want to daydream and envision how future events are going to play out, I will never know until they happen. It takes a conscious effort to live in the moment and enjoy yourself. No matter how hard it is, try your best to enjoy the present.
10. Appreciate your Family & Loved Ones
Luckily, I have grown up with an extremely supportive and loving family. I was always appreciative for all that my family has done for me but that appreciation only grew stronger once I was away from them at school.
11. Fake it ‘Til you Make it
A personal favorite, fake it ’til you make it. If you’re in a bad mood, feeling insecure, or nervous for an exam, act like it’s all okay and I guarantee it will all work out. Obviously, not everything can change overnight. Over time, with an optimistic attitude, you’re going to be okay.
12. Stick up for Yourself
When I was younger, I had a really hard time sticking up for myself and let people walk all over me. Learn to use your voice and stick up for yourself when necessary. Don’t let anyone take advantage of you. In fact, more people will gain respect for you once you defend yourself.
13. What you Put Out is What you Receive
Simply enough, if you spread positivity into the world, you’ll receive positivity. On the other hand, if you spend your time talking badly about others and displaying a negative presence, you’ll only get more negativity in return. So, do good and you’ll receive good.
14. Being an Introvert Doesn’t Make you Shy
I’ve come to realize that I enjoy being alone to unwind and “recharge my battery” as some would say. I’m rather introverted in that sense. However, being an introvert doesn’t equate to shyness. I love spending time with my friends and having fun. As I like to describe myself, I’m an outgoing introvert.
15. It’s All About The Little Things
Personally, the little things in life are what make me happy and appreciative. Whether it’s watching the sunset with friends, going on a bike ride, or receiving a handwritten letter from a friend, the meaningful little things go a long way.
16. You Can’t Run From Change
Anyone who knows me can attest that I don’t do well with change. Honestly, transitions are one of the hardest things for me to deal with and make me extremely anxious. However, change is always constant and it’s important to learn how to cope with change and transitions. In the long run, transition periods are always monumental for your growth.
17. Good Music Can Heal Almost Anything
Plain and simple, music has a powerful ability to bring us comfort and get us through any situation. Listen to good music always.
18. Find “Your Book”
Although I’m not a huge reader, I try to find a couple of books that are extremely meaningful to me and one’s that I’ll always have on hand. Lately, Milk and Honey by Rupi Kaur has been my holy grail book that I always have sitting next to my bed. Milk and Honey is a collection of poems about loving, hurting, breaking, and healing. Thanks to this book, I feel empowered and inspired to become the strongest version of myself.
Last but not least, journal. Reading my journal entries throughout this past year has not only brought me humor, but has shown me how much I have experienced and grown.