Turning 18 is probably my biggest milestone in my life so far. When I was little, I was constantly imagining what the future holds and now that I am finally facing the most exciting year of my life, I have to finally admit that as exciting as it is, it is also a bit scary.
Yet, when looking back, I am happy with how I have turned out, and am glad that the person I am now is still learning, growing and becoming someone that I can be proud of despite still having so many things left to figure out about myself.
18 things I learned at 18
1. Try something new
The world is moving forward fast. Just one second of hesitation and you could miss out on so many opportunities that you may one day regret. If you live in fear then you will never really live. Don’t hesitate to try something different or put yourself out there, and even if you fail, you will still get something out of the experience and that in itself is worth it.
2. Admit that you are not perfect
Striking for perfection is overwhelming. Embrace your flaws, the part of yourself that’s not perfect. You are YOU and no one can take that away.
3. Be alone but not lonely
We are born as an individual soul. Embracing solitude can be terrifying but sooner or later you will have to face it. Give yourself a chance to be alone, hear your own thoughts, and realize your own needs.
4. Do what makes you nervous
An easy and uncomplicated life isn’t life. Do things that make you think, doubt yourself or make you nervous. Solve the puzzles in your life and seek answers to complex questions.
5. Listen to your thoughts
Your thoughts and instincts are the desires you are really looking for. What you thinking is what you are attracted to. If it tells you to be brave then don’t back down – trust yourself and do it.
6. Sometimes the only person you can count on is you
Friends may listen but often can’t feel the agony and the pain that you are going through. Most of the time when you have problems, the only one who can solve them is yourself.
7. People will change, and so will you
We are growing older every second and change all the time – not just our minds, but also our feelings and our personalities. Change is a strong influence in life that keeps pushing us to be better.
8. Let go of the past, step into the future
You can keep holding on to the past, but that won’t change anything. Take time to heal and be better, but remember to move forward and focus on the future.
9. A simple smile can solve most problems
We all want our days to be positive and happy, so how about starting it with a simple smile? Just curve up the sides of your mouth and show them to whoever you meet that day. It makes a big difference.
10. You are not limited to a box
Your opportunities are unlimited, don’t let people tell you otherwise. Think differently and do something that no one else is doing, be creative and extraordinary.
11. You can’t make everyone like you
No matter how nice you are, there is bound to be someone that will hate you, be jealous, or go against you. You can’t be every image that people expect you to be, and you don’t have to be.
12. It’s okay to ask for help
Sometimes you will be defeated by the biggest enemy – “life”. When you can’t even get back on your feet, ask people to help you. You won’t lose life’s battles by asking for help; in fact, you are winning the war by doing the right thing.
13. Validation shouldn’t come from others
Confidence comes from within. Before I was constantly looking for praise from others as if without them, I wasn’t good enough. Now, I remember to recognize my own achievements, and remember to give myself a pat on the back.
14. Take your time growing up
Instead of always looking toward a brighter future, remind yourself that you are still growing up. Enjoy it! Cherish it! Recognize what makes you lucky in life right here and now.
15. Heartbreak makes you feel alive
The moments that make you cry and shiver are the memories that make you who you are. Pain is there to consistently remind us that we are still alive. Embrace the heartbroken moment, and if you are still breathing, then you are going to be okay.
16. Know that it’s okay to feel hurt
You are allowed to let things get to you, and to feel hurt. Take the time you need to heal, If you can’t wake up in the morning, it’s okay, just try again tomorrow. If you need to lie down and cry, it’s fine too.
17. You can always say “No”
As a person who hardly refuses anyone, saying no to others has been one of the most difficult. But it shouldn’t be hard. You are entitled to your will, so if something feels wrong, reject it; if something doesn’t feel right, say no and walk away.
18. You matter
When nobody believes in you, when no one thinks you are good enough, have faith in yourself, because you matter. And never doubt that.