19 Things Learned in 19 Years

Well, this is a special post! It’s my birthday tomorrow! As such, I thought it fitting to talk about 19 things I’ve learned in the 19 years I have been alive (shoutout to the roommate for thinking of this idea):

  1. Always be kind- You never know what is happening with people. It’s better to be nice and kind than it is to be mean and judgmental. Meanness just doesn’t sit well with me and I try not to be mean to people.
  2. You are never too old for Disney- I think I love Disney movies even more now than I did when I was younger.
  3. Be interested in people, and they will be interested in you- If you take a genuine interest in someone, they are more likely to respond in kind. Not only that, but it helps to remember the details told to you.
  4. Public speaking is a very important skill- It does not matter what you do in life. You have to speak before someone, whether it is a boss or employer or even a large crowd. Make sure you know how to speak well.
  5. Music is important- I don’t want to say that music is everything, but it is definitely important in my life. I listen to music as I’m studying, doing homework, writing (including my blog), cleaning, driving, and basically every opportunity I get. To me, it’s calming. I tend to be more productive when I’m listening to music.
  6. Smile- I love smiling. It’s just great. Now, there are days when smiling comes easy, and days where it seems that I can’t find a reason to smile. While both are okay, make sure that your bad days don’t outweigh the good ones.
  7. Love wholly- I do not care if it’s people or passions or what, but if you find yourself loving something, discover why you love it. Then, once you do, continue to learn about it and love it more. That’s how I feel about history and my friends especially. On that note…
  8. Never stop learning- This may be the future teacher in me, but I personally believe that you stop living when you stop learning. I’m constantly doing new things and learning. For example, over the weekend, I made something for my room that required sewing. I learned that although my sewing skills are rudimentary, they are functional. I also learned that the needle I was using was a little too big for the project I was working on. I had to adapt and learn to complete the project. Such is true for life. Learn, adapt, and grow.
  9. It’s not shameful to ask for help- This is a hard lesson for me. I like to do things myself. I hate asking people for help. Even simple things like reaching for something high. I’d rather climb on some kind of furniture and get it myself than ask someone to help me. I’ve been laughed at and made fun of for my height, which kind of reinforces my pride. I think to myself, “I can do anything anyone else can do.” When the truth is, that’s not always the case. Everyone needs help at times, and it isn’t something anyone (especially me) should be ashamed of. As such, I’ve learned (and am still learning) that I don’t have to do everything on my own. It’s nice to be independent, but it’s okay to be helped.
  10. Money isn’t everything- Honestly, I love making money. I love having a job. I love getting a text every two weeks saying that my bank account has more money in it. However, I more enjoy actually working than I do getting paid, if that makes sense. Yes, I want to get all my hours in, but I like working. I know that’s backwards to a lot of people, but that’s how I feel it should be. Money is important for things in life, that I can’t deny, but it shouldn’t be so controlling. When I can’t do something and I say “I have to work”, it’s not because I’m greedy. It’s because I have a commitment to my employer to show up on time and do what’s expected of me. s
  11. Be grateful- I know so many people who get caught up in themselves that they forget to be grateful for the little things. Like honestly, with my birthday tomorrow, I mean presents and birthday wishes are nice, but they aren’t expected, if that makes sense. I expect the people close to me to wish me a happy birthday, but I’m not going to force anyone to. And as such, I’m going to be grateful for any well-wishes that come my way. Like my roommate this year. She’s known me for 5 weeks and she got me a history card game and the movie Pearl Harbor. I made sure she knew that it wasn’t necessary to get me a birthday present, but I also made sure she knew that it was greatly appreciated. So often, people get caught up in what they “expect” from people that they forget to be grateful for what they’re given.
  12. Create good memories- I saw this a lot on my senior class trip. That was a good week for me because I allowed it to be. But one girl in particular (though I don’t believe she was the only one) didn’t really allow herself to have a good time. Though that wasn’t the only reason, but as a result, my friendship with her disintegrated within the next two months. We were in Florida, and she chose to sit and mope almost the whole time! I have a lot of good memories because I chose to create them. On my desk here at college, I have pictures with me and my family and friends of some really good memories: my high school graduation, my second trip to Niagara Falls (first trip was really good too), a birthday concert with one of the sweetest girls, and senior prom, among others. All of those pictures make me smile no matter how many time I look at them because of the memories associated with them.
  13. Don’t be afraid to step outside of your comfort zone- One of my favorite quotes says, “Great things never came from comfort zones.” I joke that I have no comfort zone, but that is not entirely true. There are things I’m totally comfortable doing, and things that definitely frighten me a little bit. And there are times I have to do them, especially what I’m not comfortable with. For example, I still get nervous any time I speak publicly. It freaks me out, and my hands and knees get all shaky. However, I’ve given so many speeches in my life that I know how to present myself and not seem as nervous. Even though I’ve done it hundreds of times, it is still outside of my comfort zone.
  14. Practice and perfect new skills- You never get better at doing anything if you don’t work at it. For example, I can braid my hair (and other people’s) a few different ways. However, when I started, it took a long time and it wasn’t always as clean as it is now. There were days that I would redo my hair at least three times before school so that it would be acceptable for me and I wouldn’t mess with it. But now, I can braid my hair in about ten minutes, and it usually takes one try. It looks a lot better because it’s been practiced and perfected. That’s just one example. I could give more, but I hope you understand the point. Nothing gets better unless you work at it to make it so.
  15. Don’t be afraid to stand alone- I’ve read a different definition for courage. It said “Courage is standing up for what’s right, even if you’re standing alone.” Social Studies Education is a male-dominated major. I think, counting myself, I know about 10 females in the major, and I know around 30 students in the major overall. Of the 10 girls, I think about 5 of us are in the Honors program. And honestly, I think I am the only one I know of with a concentration in psychology. I stand alone in my major in that sense. But I have reasons for choosing psychology as a concentration (I also have geography, but that’s common). I believe that psychology licensure will help distinguish me as a future teacher. I also believe that it will help me be better able to reach my goal of being a professor someday. I also really enjoy psychology. I don’t enjoy political science or economics, so why would I want to concentrate in that? It doesn’t make sense for me. Don’t be afraid to stand alone.
  16. You are not your GPA- In high school, classes came easily to me, and I aced almost everything easily. I graduated high school with a 4.12 GPA. I can easily be braggadocious and say that I’m smart. I know that I am. However, in college, classes are a lot harder. While my GPA is good, it is not what it was in high school. But if I were to work as strenuously to keep my GPA up that high, then I would have time for very little else. I get all my work done, show up to class on time, and try to do the best I can on tests and projects. But I know at the end of the day, I have to live with myself as a person more than myself as a student. I can fix it if I’m not happy as a student, but it’s much harder to fix myself as a person. I would honestly rather have my grades suffer than become someone who only studies and makes no time for anyone or anything else.
  17. Have fun- I read a statistic that the average 40-year-old only laughs 4 times a day, whereas the average 4-year-old laughs about 125 times a day. I get that a lot of life happens between 4 and 40, but that is a lot of laughter lost. I think I laugh more at myself than I laugh at anything else. I make stupid mistakes that I just have to laugh at myself for. There is no point in being serious all the time. So have fun and laugh as often as a 4-year-old.
  18. It’s okay to cry- I’m an emotional person. I cry when I’m overwhelmed, stressed, happy, sad, frustrated, and anxious. I cry when I don’t get enough sleep, and sometimes I have no idea why I’m crying. But honestly, crying is one of the most refreshing things for me. Once I cry, then it’s out of my system and I’m usually over it. Sometimes it’s the straw that broke the camel’s back that sends me over the edge. I’ve gotten better at controlling it over the years, but I am definitely still emotional. It’s fine to cry, but don’t just stay there. Pick yourself up and keep going.
  19. True friends will stay- I’ve had my share of friends walk out on me. When they do, I’m usually wondering what I did wrong. But honestly, it’s usually not me. It’s usually that they were not my “true friend”. I was there for them, but they couldn’t be there for me when I needed it. But the handful of people that are true friends to me don’t run when I need them to lean on (see Number 9). They last and it’s mutually beneficial. The people that can’t be there for you don’t need to be in your life anyway. Be selective about your friends, and they will be there for you.

So that’s my list. I could probably give more, but that would not fit with my blog title. Nineteen years is a long time to live, and these lessons haven’t always been easy. But here’s to the next nineteen and beyond, where I can learn as much, if not more as I live!

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