Nineteen things I’ve learned before I turned nineteen.
1. Always carry $5 and a lighter with you (even if you don’t smoke).
2. Ask every person you meet how their day is going. Genuinely ask with the soul intention of learning how their day is. Ask the coffee shop employee. Ask the person next to you in line at Walmart. Ask your distant friend. Ask everyone.
3. Take many photos of yourself. Take photos of yourself when you’re happy. Take photos of yourself when you’re sad. Take photos of yourself because there are millions of trees in the world, and we all look at the same sky, but there is only one of you.
4. Stay in contact with your parents. Try not to hate them. They are the reason you have the ability to feel anything at all. Try not to hate your parents.
5. Opening your skin will not set your demons free. Open your heart. Open your mind. Open your hands.
6. Nobody knows anybody completely. That’s okay.
7. Be gentle, but be aggressive. Take a stand. Nobody hears your voice if you stay silent.
8. Respect everybody. We are all humans trying to survive. We all deserve respect.
9. Wearing black will ALWAYS make you feel better about yourself.
10. Always give tips, whether it be a couple extra dollars or a piece of mind. You never know how much you could be helping someone.
11. Change is the only thing consistent in life. Do not allow that bother you. Embrace chance and move with life, whichever direction it chooses to take you.
12. Smile often. Smile at strangers. Smile at your friends. Smile when nobody is looking and you’re alone in your bedroom. Smile when somebody is rambling to you.
13. Body image means nothing. Your body is merely just a seatbelt in the car. Your body is here to protect you. You choose the direction you go, and your body will not hold you back. Only you can hold yourself back.
14. Don’t hold grudges. Don’t allow yourself to hate anybody. Forgive them. Learn to love them for the person you never got to see them to be. Believe that a beautiful human exists in that person. Wish them well.
15. Drink orange juice. Lot’s of it.
16. Don’t allow the opinions of others to choose your destiny. We are all simply trying to live our own life.
17. Sing all the time. Sing off key. Sing in a silly voice. Sing like you’re on stage. Sing no matter who is around. Singing is breathing for the soul. Sing.
18. Take time to think. Write your feelings down. Write letters to the people you love. Texting is overrated and not as heartfelt as a nice handwritten letter.
19. Live for yourself. Breathe for yourself. Do everything in your life for nobody but you. This is your life. This is it.
1. When your friends ask you to hangout, and you don’t feel like it, don’t go. Don’t ever do things halfway or do something that makes you uncomfortable. With everything, give all of yourself, even the pieces you never knew existed.
2. It is okay to not know. Everyone always despises the phrase, “I don’t know” but no one tells you that it is okay to not know. The becoming is more important than the being, anyways.
3. If someone ever makes you feel less, in any way, you have every right to walk away. You have every right to cut out toxic people in your life. To close the door on people who make you feel bad about who you are or what you stand for. Friends don’t tear down, they build up.
4. Loss is always going to happen. Just like paint will always chip and rain will always fall, loss will always be part of life. No matter how much I don’t like it, or avoid it, it is going to walk my way at several times in my life. Learn to embrace it and learn to get closure.
5. Give yourself a chance. Stop saying, “I don’t think I can” or “But what if I am not able to?” and give yourself a chance. This may be cliche, but try to believe in yourself. When you get older, your knees won’t work the same and you won’t have the best memory, and you are going to wish you’d given yourself a chance years sooner.
6. Fall in love. Don’t be guarded before you fall in love. You could fall in love three times and still not find the right one, but none of it is going to make “the one” matter less. Don’t fall into that idea that your first love has to be your best love. Fall in love as many times as it naturally happens.
7. Firsts are going to be messy. First loves, first kisses, first dates, first failed tests, first college class, first time you drive a car, first time you ride a plane - first times were made to be imperfect. Just because it’s messy and all over the place, doesn’t mean it can’t be good or worthwhile.
8. You want another scoop of ice-cream? Go get it. Get three more scoops of ice-cream if that is what you want. “Fat” is not the opposite of beautiful and it is not the opposite of happy. Don’t let anyone tell you that your body type isn’t beautiful. Beauty is a social construct, create your own, become your own.
9. Let yourself be alone. Loneliness is not a bad thing. It is healthy and normal. Everyone needs to spend a good portion of their life alone. We learn who we are when we are alone; life is less crowded and more clear when we are alone.
10. If you aren’t happy where you are, change it. Quit your job, move, become a vegetarian, get a new hobby, pick up an old hobby, whatever you do - make sure it benefits you. Life is too short to not be alive, to not be passionate, and overflowing.
The hardest period in life is one’s twenties. It’s a shame because you’re your most gorgeous, and you’re physically in peak condition. But it’s actually when you’re most insecure and full of self-doubt. When you don’t know what’s going to happen, it’s frightening.
I was prepared, but it still hurt.