18 Things I Learned by 18
1. Mom was wrong. You are not the prettiest girl.
There will always be girls who are more physically attractive than you and there’s absolutely nothing you can do about it. But if you learn to embrace who you are, this shouldn’t have any negative effect on your life.
2. Time does not heal all wounds.
Some wounds will leave nasty scars that remain painful each and every time you look back on them. You can’t quite understand why this is, but the only thing you can really do is try your best to become stronger from the pain you’ve endured.
3. People won’t always like you.
We’ve all heard the quote “you can be the ripest, juiciest peach in the world but there will always be someone out there who hates peaches”. You can’t control the fact that your personality, looks, interests, etc. won’t always be appreciated by others. But you should never change to please anyone. If they can’t accept you for who you are, they aren’t worth your time.
4. In the end, guys will always want the good girls.
I’ve learned this the painful way. I used to be considered the “good” girl until I went through an insanely rough breakup. After taking advantage of my newfound freedom, I received countless hurtful comments regarding my sexual behavior and my relationship with drugs and alcohol. This made me feel disgusting and worthless, but it’s never too late to better yourself and turn your life around.
5. Everyone experiences the fear of missing out.
No matter how old you get, you will almost always fear missing out on the fun and excitement when you miss an event. However, you have to fight this feeling in order to ace that biology midterm. It’s okay to miss a night out every once in a while if it means studying or just having time to yourself if needed.
6. Black is ALWAYS the most flattering color.
Can’t figure out what to wear to that formal? When in doubt, buy a dress in black.
7. How many likes, retweets, etc. you get on social media really doesn’t matter.
You may be a little jealous when the 13 year old from your hometown gets twice as many likes on her pointless Facebook status than you received on your meaningful post, but then you come to realize that all of her likes probably came from her other 13 year old friends whose opinions are completely irrelevant.
8. Mistakes happen. Sometimes avoidable and other times not.
Your ex-boyfriend from high school, for example. Or the fact that you completely bombed your calc final. You live, you learn.
9. Tomorrow is never guaranteed.
We’ve all experienced the death of a loved one by the age of 18. After losing multiple valued family members and two close friends, I’ve learned how short life really is and how it can be taken from anyone at any given time. But by 18 I’ve learned to embrace the time that I’ve been given and to make the most of it.
10. You’ll never regret helping a homeless person, but you’ll regret walking away from them.
I never quite understood my family’s tendency to be repulsed and disgusted by homeless people or even those who were just less fortunate than us. My parents always scolded me for talking to or trying to help homeless people. And I always felt guilty when I walked away leaving them empty handed. Since I’ve become more independent, I’ve always gone out of my way to help others in need. It never fails to put a smile on their face and yours.
11. People who break your heart never even deserved it anyways.
Whether it was your boyfriend or your best friend, the relationship was temporary and clearly wasn’t right for either of you. But something/someone better is in store for you if you just give it some time.
12. Mom always knows who your fake friends are before you do.
Don’t forget that your mom endured a lot of the same relationship struggles that you have and that she can spot someone who isn’t worth your time well before you can.
13. NOTHING defines you.
Not your weight. Not your height. Not your grades. Not even your legal or social status. You are your very own person with unique characteristics, beliefs, likes and dislikes, etc.
14. It’s okay to express feelings of sadness or of anger.
I spent the majority of my life suppressing all of my negative feelings which consequently led me to tear myself apart; mentally and physically. Once I realized that it’s okay to show feelings of dissatisfaction, I became a much happier and healthier person.
15. Never make a comment about someone’s eating habits or their weight.
After struggling with eating disorders off and on since middle school, I realized that telling someone how big/small they are or commenting on how much or how little they eat is actually really hurtful, even if your intentions are completely innocent. When people gave me the nickname “Bones” at the beginning of my senior year in high school, it made me feel like everyone was making fun of my eating disorder. And now, when people make comments such as “you sure eat a ton for someone who’s so skinny”, it almost feels as if they want me to turn my recovery around and go right back into my old ways, regardless of what they actually mean by those words.
16. Be cautious when it comes to who you share your secrets with.
Make sure that this person is a close and trusted friend. You must really trust this person. If your own secret makes its way back around to you, it’s time to cut that former trusted person out of your life for good.
17. School is important, but it’s not that important.
That psych exam is not nearly as important as sleep, your mental health, or eating. When you’re lucky to get two hours of sleep each night, have anxiety attacks at the thought of school work, and find yourself skipping meals, it’s time to let up and give yourself a well-deserved break from all negative stressors.
18. Don’t tear yourself down, no matter the circumstances.
I’ve struggled with self harm since middle school and with alcohol dependency since my sophomore year of high school. For a while, I even got into drugs pretty badly. And although those things seem to make everything better at the time; it does far more bad than good. It ruins relationships. It makes you feel 10x worse when you come down from your high or drunken state. And everything seems to fall apart. Whether you’re upset with yourself or with someone else, there’s always something positive that can help you feel better. Long drives on country roads listening to music. Writing. Working out. Drawing. Etc.