Today is my birthday! I am officially entering my last year as a teenager.
If you’ve read my blog posts up until this point, then you know I’ve not been quiet about the fact this past year was very trying for me. I learned a lot about myself and those around me, and now I want to share some of that wisdom with you! I’ve read several people share the things they’ve learned while being a certain age, so without further ado, here are 18 things I learned as an 18 year old:
1. $10 can go a lot further than you think.
Typically, money burns a hole in my pocket, yet somehow last semester I managed to save the only $10 I had for about three weeks. Of course, this meant I sacrificed going on out on weekends and ordering the super cute shirt I saw on Modcloth, but I made it work.
2. But also, $10 can go nowhere.
See above: “Typically, money burns a hole in my pocket.” $10 can go super quick when you and your roommate are hungry and ordering a pizza sounds better than walking down to the cafeteria.
3. Mom is always right.
This one pains me to say… but it’s so, so true. Ladies (and gents), listen to your mom. She can judge someone’s character way better than you can. I’ve spent a lot of time frustrated at my mom for seeing differently than I do, but usually she ends up being right.
4. Love is blind.
And that’s all I’ve got to say about that.
5. Don’t turn down dessert.
At the end of my life, I don’t want to remember a slice of cheesecake that I didn’t eat because I was scared of the carbs. Is this why I am falling victim to the Freshman 15? Probably.
6. Ask your grandparents about their life.
Ask about their first kiss and their first ice cream cone and the slumber parties they used to have with their friends. Ask about the first vinyl record they owned and what made them end up where they are. They have so many valuable stories to tell if you sit down and listen.
7. Best friends don’t have to talk everyday.
Some of my closest friendships are with people I go weeks, even months, without talking to. Constant interaction doesn’t define loyalty, love, and respect. Just yesterday I got to eat dinner with two of my closest friends that I hadn’t seen in months! We didn’t miss a beat.
8. It pays off to invest in rain boots.
I swear it rains every single day at school. Before college, I would brace the rain in my white Chuck Taylors and they would end up a) soaked and b) dirty. I knew for college I would need rain boots, and it is honestly the best investment I’ve ever made. Here is a link to my current favorite pair of rain boots by Ralph Lauren!
9. …and a nice coat.
A coat was another thing I didn’t realize I needed until college! In high school, I typically only wore a jacket because I wasn’t walking outside from class to class. In college, that is SO not the case. I couldn’t find a link to my exact coat online, but I found a similar one and I’m linking it here! Make sure to pick one that doubles as appropriate for workwear and just a t-shirt with jeans.
10. Opposites don’t attract. Complements do.
Y’all put your waders on, cause it’s about to get deep. Everyone says “opposites attract”, and in my mind it always registered as two totally different people are meant to be together. Take your typical “good girl” and “bad boy” types for example. It took me 18 years to learn this is not the case. Your opposite will eventually run out of things in common with you, if there ever was anything at all. Sure, you’ll think they’re cute, but do they share the same goals as you? Values? Even taste in music? Because if one of y’all is a Black Sabbath enthusiast and the other has never heard a song that wasn’t a Hank Jr. original, road trips will probably be tough. At the end of the day, you should be looking for your complement. Look for someone who wants the same things in life that you do, but maybe they’re quiet if you’re loud, or they’re optimistic if you’re a complainer. Look for someone who is enough like yourself that you’ll get along, but different enough to balance out.
11. The end of high school isn’t the end of your life…
I can’t even sit here and act like I didn’t feel like it was though, because I totally sat out in the parking lot on the last day of school and cried with the best of ’em. I thought that I would never see any of the people I graduated with again and the peak of my life was long gone. But that is sooo not true! I still hang out with my high school friends regularly and I would like to believe I still haven’t peaked (I guess that’s a good thing).
12. …just as the beginning of college isn’t the beginning of your life.
One of my favorite teachers had a quote written on her board on the last day of school: “Today is the first day of the rest of your life.” And yeah, that’s true. In college, you’ll probably discover who you are, who your friends are, and so on and so forth. But also, you can really do that at any point in your life. I’ve been listening to Bon Iver’s “Re: Stacks” lately, and in it is a line that states, “everything that happens is from now on.” You can decide when the beginning of your life is. It doesn’t have to be college or high school or marriage or whatever. It is literally whenever you decide to take control of the life you’re living.
13. It’s okay to unfollow.
I used to always hold this belief that unfollowing someone meant they “won”. I don’t know how I gathered this opinion but I would like to believe other people share it with me. Anyways, I learned that sometimes unfollowing someone can be one of the best things you do for yourself. When I first got into blogging, I thought it was so important to follow all of these bloggers that constantly post about their perfect lives. It’s very draining! I quickly unfollowed several of them to get back to reality. If you find yourself feeling more negative things than positive when someone posts, it’s probably time to unfollow. It’s just social media, anyway.
14. If you want to remember it, write it down.
I feel like this is advice I should be giving as an 80 year old rather than an 18 year old. But seriously, I have a horrible memory. Lists are my friends.
15. If you think you need a break, take one.
You know when you’ve had too much. If you feel overwhelmed by school, class, or anything else, just take a step back. Cancel everything for a day and feel no regrets about it. I’ve learned that at least once a semester I have to have a day to reenergize, because if not I quickly deteriorate. It’s important to practice self care!
16. Showering without flip flops is undervalued.
Really. You don’t miss something ’til it’s gone.
17. Book the flight.
I read a quote this year that stuck with me: “Cover the earth before it covers you.” Don’t wait around waiting for the perfect opportunity to go somewhere. Don’t wait for someone to come with you or someone to tell you that you can. If you want to go somewhere, make it happen.
18. I am not done changing.
I took this quote from the chorus of a John Mayer song (called “Changing”, of course). Who I was at 18 probably won’t be who I’m gonna be at 20, and I have this year to figure that out. I guess I’m never really done changing, though.