Things I've learned.
Written on April 28, 2016
Today is my eighteenth birthday (*as mentioned, written in 2016^). First of all, I know it seems pretty egocentric for me to be writing a blog post to commemorate my own birthday...However, this post really isn't about me — this post is about what is means to become an "adult." In many ways, this new designation doesn't feel strange to me at all. Oddly, I've felt eighteen — like an adult — for a while now. I've craved the treatment that comes with being considered a legal (and, thus, valid) individual.
Forewarning: I’m going to use the pronoun “you” throughout this post, as that’s exactly who I’m talking to — both you, reading this, and, you, Libby, writing this (sorry, that’s a lot of commas). Thus, without further adieu, here's my list of...
17 Things I've Learned in 17 Years:
1. You matter. Your presence on this Earth is significant and influential. Every person you’ve interacted with throughout your life — be it the boy bagging your groceries or your own mother — has been affected by you in some way to some extent. Without you, nothing and/or no one you’ve touched would be the same. Those group projects? Your first love? Your class of 136 people? Without YOU, that "6" would be a “5" — two entirely different digits. Never underestimate the importance of simply the physical space you occupy and/or the power of one.
2. Everything bagels + veggie cream cheese = a match made in heaven.
3. Feelings are meant to be felt.
4. Life is about trust, and there’s a fine line between too much and too little trust. However, you can’t strike the right balance between the two without a bit of trial and error. Yes, you will feel foolish at times for letting others in too much. However, you’ll also feel foolish at times for holding back too much. The solution? Success doesn’t come without a few failures first.
5. If there are people who are not contributing to your daily existence positively, then remove those individuals from your life. They are not worth your energy. You always have control over who you keep and don’t keep in your life.
6. Music is the best kind of retreat.
7. Create as often as possible. You don’t have to be an artist or a super hands-on person to incorporate the act of creation into your life regularly. Be it writing a poem, drawing a picture, or baking a cake — the process of putting in effort and having an authentic product transpire as a result is not only 1) incredibly beneficial for your mind, but also 2) very rewarding overall. Productivity is an indescribably empowering feeling.
8. Humans are sensitive beings — and this is true even if/when they don’t show such quality externally. Be gentle to everyone, including those who may not treat you with the same level of compassion. When necessary, stand up for yourself and assert your right to be treated with respect. However, don’t ever put others down in order to build yourself up. Simply, radiate positivity over negativity.
9. Prioritize memorability, enrichment, and experience over comfortability.
10. Don’t waste your money on those crane contraptions at arcades and rest stops. As enticing as they are (and, trust me, I know they’re hard to resist), you’ll only be disappointed with your lack of success. Don’t be too hard on yourself — it’s the machine, not you.
11. When it comes to life’s monumental decisions, never settle. Get to know yourself well — really well. If your heart is proving the capacity of its power by subtly and/or clearly telling you that something feels either wrong or right, embrace this intuitive indication and trust such sense.
12. Comic Sans is never a good idea.
13. It’s not true when people say: “The more you do it, the easier it gets.” If public speaking terrifies you, it won’t necessarily become easier the more you practice it — that association is an unfair one to make. Instead, it’s assumed that, the more you practice something, the more proficient you’ll become in whatever it is that you’re practicing. However, it’s not time’s job to make you a better public speaker — that, my friend, is on you. For something that you once considered difficult to become “easier,” hard work must be demonstrated on your part. Do not expect an intimidating task to seem any less difficult unless the amount of effort you’re putting forward parallels the amount of time you’re putting forward.
14. It’s okay to appreciate material objects in moderation. However, never let your materialistic desires cloud 1) your appreciation for and/or awareness of what you do have (be it materialistic or intangible) or 2) your perspective toward life overall — in your heart, you know what is truly important and what isn’t.
15. Cities are invigorating.
16. Be as honest with yourself and others as possible. Do you love someone? Tell him or her. Were you hurt by something someone said? Confront him or her. Are you struggling with something internally? Allow yourself to accept whatever that is. It’s okay not to be okay at times — but it’s not okay to smother the truth. As scary as the truth can be, its illusive scariness only becomes stronger and more terrifying the more we run from/invalidate it.
17. You are you, and that isn’t changing. Thus, trying to alter who you are as an individual is nothing but a waste of time. Instead, spend your time understanding who you are. Uncover what it is that you’re passionate about; embrace reality as opposed to losing yourself in idealistic fantasizing (imagining and daydreaming aren’t evil ventures, but it’s not good when such daydreaming leads to delusion); and pursue, without hesitation, your dreams. Sure, it’s cliché, but you do have the power to achieve anything — as you get to define what “anything” means to you...
Here's to being eighteen. Maybe I'll go get a tattoo...
*Thumbnail image source=Tumblr