Sunday, January 12, 2014

Things I Wish I Knew at 17

I had a realization today that in June of this year, it will be 10 years since I've graduated high school. (And yes, I realize that to those of you who are older, 10 years is nothing.)

I've accomplished A LOT in the last 10 years and learned a lot too. If I could share some lessons I've learned with my 17 year old self, I would share these:

1. Follow your instincts instead of letting other people try (and succeed) to dictate your future. It's your life, your future, so grab the wheel with both hands and drive!

2. Driving a car isn't nearly as scary as you think it is.

3. It's true that petty high school dramas won't matter 10 years after graduation, or even 1 year afterwards.

4. Those petty high school dramas? They turn into petty college dramas and eventually petty workplace dramas. Deal with it, learn how to deal with it, and accept that "drama" is a part of life.

5. A person is intelligent, but people are stupid. Accept that people will say ignorant things about your situation. Accept that they just don't know your situation and their words weren't meant to hurt you. It's a reflection on them, not you.

6. Falling in love is joyous and worth the pain of losing said love. It's possible for it to happen more than once. Know that it will happen more than once and it's great every time.

7. You will never "get over" the pain of losing a loved one through a breakup or death or "get over" a painful diagnosis. You will learn and grow from those experiences to become a better person and recognize that every individual is fighting their own battles.

8. Try to keep in touch with more of your childhood friends. They understand where you come from because they were there through the best and worst times of growing up.

9. Realize that people change. It's okay if your childhood BFF's are not your BFF's now.

10. You're way ahead of the curve in accepting who you are and liking yourself. Keep it up!

11. The popular kids won't always be popular. In fact, they may turn out to be the least successful people of your graduating class.

12. Mean girls will always be mean girls.

13. You don't need to have life figured out at 17. That's what the rest of your life is for! You won't have it figured out at 27 anyway.

14. Never apologize for who you are. Don't change to get someone to notice you.

15. It's okay to be different, even if you're teased. Teasing only means that person doesn't understand and it's a mask for their own insecurities.

16. Pay attention in class, especially math. You will actually need to use some of that stuff.

17. Start taking care of your health now. Start by eating healthy and continue exercising often.

18. Stick with softball or another passion. It's easier to stay with it than to get back into it.

19. Financial aid is more than important than you realize. Spend more time researching and applying for scholarships and grants! College won't pay for itself.

Friday, January 10, 2014

Be Kind, Always

Think about a time in your life when you were going through something difficult, such as grieving the death of a loved one or a job loss or bad breakup, etc. Think about how it felt when someone unexpectedly said or did something positive for you. Even if it was a small gesture, it made your day, right?

Now say or do something like that for someone today, and every day. Even a simple, "you look good in that color shirt" or a "hope you're doing well! I'm thinking about you" will suffice.

Last night after a long week, I had 2 friends unexpectedly tell me I'm strong enough. It made me feel important, appreciated, and loved.

Never underestimate the power of positive thoughts and kind words. A positive attitude and reinforcement from friends, family, or even strangers, will help you through the most difficult times and even affect your health in the greatest way possible.

As Minor Myers Jr. said, "go into the world and do well. But more importantly, go into the world and do good."