18 Things I Learned by 18

Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Not too long ago, I didn't think I would make it this far. I am not quite sure what I expected to happen... a zombie apocalypse? Swallowed by a whale? I have survived 18 years of life, and I have little direction and lots of ambition.

Not much has changed. I can legally buy cigarettes, but I don't smoke. I think I can buy lottery tickets, but I'm not a fan of gambling. I can vote, which means I get a sticker (and can have a voice in the future of America). 

My 18th birthday was celebrated a week ago. I had a surprise party thrown my family and friends. It was weird... I've never had so many people I loved in one place at the same time. I had a pinata, dinosaur candles, and charades. It was almost like a going away party in a weird way... here I was celebrating my adult birthday with all of my childhood favorites. I feel like I'll always look back and remember that day because I probably won't have too many more birthdays like that. I know quite a few 18-year-olds would have preferred a day of birthday sex and a bottle of vodka, but I really enjoyed a day of simplicity. 

So after all of these years, what have I learned? Well... I've learned how to tie a shoe, make gourmet chocolate covered strawberries, and that you can't forget to spray a waffle maker before putting the batter on (whoops).

1. Say yes
There are nights that start out with me watching Netflix and end in hotel rooms or on board walks. The memories created these nights can carry me through the worst days. How many hockey players does it take to break a light bulb? Well, say yes and maybe you'll figure it out someday. I have yet to regret anything I've said yes to. Yeah, people wouldn't agree with every choice I've made, but I'm living my life. When I stopped worrying about what could go wrong, I started seeing how much could go right. 

2. Have a sense of humor
Even when your eyes are overflowing with tears, make a joke. Don't take life so seriously, none of us are coming out alive anyways. Laugh a little. Scratch that, laugh a lot

3. He will break your heart, and you still won't hate him
It's going to happen, and it is going to hurt like hell. You will have a slew of profanities that come to mind when you see him, but you will always have a spot in your heart for that ******* ******** ******* boy. Sometimes things just aren't meant to be no matter how badly you want them to be. Yeah, maybe you two are perfect for each other... it doesn't mean you'll be together. 

4. Don't compromise your character to ruin someone's reputation
Maybe she is the biggest jerk in the world and no one else sees it. Don't unravel secrets she has told you confidentially. Don't waste a moment of your life worrying about what people think of someone else.

5. Happiness takes effort
You control your own happiness. If you are feeling sad, skip through the streets or dance in the rain, but don't sit there and feel sorry for yourself. I think people like to believe that happy people got to be that way naturally because that idealistic perspective involves less work for the grumpy ones.

6. If you wouldn't say it to them, don't say it about them
Once I adopted this golden rule into my life, it has been relatively drama-free. This doesn't mean that I don't still have to vent to my friends occasionally, but if I haven't addressed my issues with that person directly, I don't like to complain to other people about it. Word gets around fast, and I try not to say things I wouldn't be okay with the other person hearing.

7. Your friends were there for you first
Yes, he says he loves you and he has oh-so-dreamy eyes. I don't care if he is Channing Tatum's long lost twin, you better not drop your friends to be with the guy. It is okay to occasionally skip a girl's night as long as you are fully present the nights you are with them (aka not spending the entire night texting him). Young love is raw and passionate, and you get so caught up in it that sometimes it is easy to forget about your friends. Chances are that you will break up eventually, and your friends are the ones who will still be there for you.
8. Just because he loves you doesn't mean he will stay, and just because he stays doesn't mean he loves you
There was a time when I was head over heels for a boy, and he admitted to having mutual feelings. I thought that meant something more at the time, but sometimes two people just aren't right for each other all of the time. I used to think that was just an excuse adults used, but it's actually true. If your lives are headed in completely separate paths, sometimes you have to let it happen and see where you are a few years from then.

9. Hug people and tell them you love them
Drop the sixth grader I-can't-hug-my-mom-in-public-because-it-isn't-cool thing. Hug your family and friends and let them know just how much they mean to you.

10. Tell him (or her) how you feel
Whether it is telling him how badly you want to kiss him or declaring your love for him, tell him (or her). I've never really been the type to admire a boy from afar, I always wanted the boy to know. Even if I know the feelings aren't mutual, I tell him because otherwise I'll always wonder "what if." 

11. People are not always going to like you
You can be the nicest, funniest, smartest, prettiest person in the world, and someone still won't like you.

12. Be apart of something bigger than yourself
You will find a sense of belonging within school clubs and sports. Even if it is something you never thought you would enjoy, try it out. You will undoubtedly benefit from the opportunity to meet new people and work on various  projects. I also recommend volunteering. After volunteering with toddlers and the elderly, I have learned so much more about not only people, but myself.

13. Don't make excuses
I get it, you are balancing a part-time job, countless extracurricular activities, and the homework load of multiple AP classes. If you want to be healthier, the only one stopping you is you. The only thing preventing you from better grades is Netflix. Whether you are an avid runner, writer, singer, speller, or unicyclist, find a way to pursue your passions in their entirety.

14. You're going to grow apart from some of your friends
Maybe you will ultimately grow back together, or maybe your paths were just headed in too different of directions. It isn't easy to say goodbye to a friend, but it happens. You two can have all of the history in the world, but it does not mean you will have a future. People change, and that's okay. Sometimes people grow together, sometimes people grow apart. Sometimes people change for the better, sometimes people change for the worse. If the only reason you are holding on to that person is memories, let them go.

15. Stay interesting
Don't do it just for the sake of Tinder profiles and resumes, do it to feel alive. Go on adventures. Try new things. Pick up a new hobby for the heck of it. Interesting people are not only more fun to talk to, but more fun to be!

16. You are not going to be apart of everything
I get your a squad, but sometimes certain squad members hangout without you. This doesn't mean they don't still love you, it just means they have a separate relationship. Don't take everything so personally. Sometimes people will hangout without you. Sometimes you won't get an invite, and you can either deal with it or create three weeks worth of drama over it (pick wisely).

17. Life is what you make it
Do not wait for life to come to you, go out and get it. If you have a problem with the way your life is going, change it.

18. Love yourself first
Loving yourself is not a selfish act, it is an absolute necessity in leading a fulfilling life. Don't search for love in outside sources, find it within yourself. No one else can properly love you until you learn to accept and embrace the person you are.

My 18th birthday went down the exact way I expected: with a lap dance. Just kidding, sort of... it is a long story so I will just save that for another post. I've learned a lot throughout my journey, and I cannot wait for all of the life lessons to come. Overall, live in the moment and embrace the life that you are living. Meet new people, go on adventures, and try new things. Face your fears and never let anyone tell you how to live your own life. Smile, even on the really, really hard days. 


  1. These are all really great things to remember! One of my goals for this year is to say "yes" more often!


    1. That is an awesome goal, I wish you the best in accomplishing it!

  2. You are wiser beyond your years, miss! Love all of these. Keep chugging on, you're going to do great things :)

  3. You are very wise. I can't pick one area that sticks out because they are all important. Best of luck as you continue on your journey!

  4. I'm totally agreeing with "You're going to grow apart from some of your friends", I think that happened to all of us and it's totally fine. People change.

    Another lesson I'd like to add: You don't need your "other half". You are not only 50% of a person. You can accomplish so many things if you only believe in yourself. Don't wait for someone to complete you.

    1. I love that! I think people, especially the younger ones, tend to search for themselves in others. So many love quotes seem to be focused on completion, but no one needs someone to fix them or finish them. I wish everyone could just see how wonderful and capable they are!

  5. I think in Europe it's a much bigger deal turning 18, I know my life completely changed after my 18th birtday, because that's the drinking/driving/voting age. :D
    I think the most important one for me was nr. 6, because I hate hypocrites and I have a rule that if I have something to say about someone, I say it to their face (and it's really cool to do that, even though some people might hate you).
    Awesome post! :)

    1. I can't even imagine having all of those privileges rush up at once, that would be a bit overwhelming! And I'm sure not everyone likes to the say-it-how-it-is mentality but it gets so much more accomplished haha.

  6. Wow, these are amazing! Such insight and wisdom and only 18 years old! I'm very impressed. You are years and years ahead of many others..keep it up!
    Happy 18th!!

  7. Growing up takes price. It is cruel, but we have to learn how to face it. Love this post, wish you a happy 18


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