2020: The end of my teenage years. To commemorate this milestone, I wanted to put together a list of 19 lessons I learned as a 19-year-old—some hard-earned, some re-learned, and some I’m still getting the hang of.
1) Communication is everything, especially when it’s uncomfortable
It has taken me an embarrassingly long time to come to grips with this. But this past year finally hammered it into place.
If a relationship (any kind) doesn’t have open communication and no hope of getting to that point, it’s not worth the pain.
I’m so grateful for the people in my life who have that standard with me.
2) Some people are kind always; some are nice when they feel like it
If you pay attention, it’s simple to see who’s who.
3) It’s okay to say no
It’s impossible to be everything for everyone, and you’ll never please everyone all of the time. Learning when to say no has helped me keep my balance.
4) It’s okay to say yes
“Yes’s” have led me to some great memories and some not great memories, but a yes will always teach you something.
5) If someone wants to be in my life, they will be
I’ve learned this one a few times over the years.
It’s not worth the energy or the emotional rollercoaster. Simplify the decision and remove yourself from the equation.
6) I’m capable of so much more then I think
I never knew what I could do until I started trying more things and stopped being afraid to fall.
You will learn so much more once you start experimenting and moving forward.
7) No one gets to tell me who I am
No one on earth has that power.
8) I see the world differently than most people and that’s okay
My 19th year was the year I started fully recognizing myself as unusual and being okay with it.
Almost all of my trouble as a kid and early teen came from trying to be someone I wasn’t, making myself fit into someone else’s idea of who I should be or who they thought I was.
I’m not perfect at this by any means, but it’s getting easier to chose to be myself.
9) No one really knows what they’re doing, there isn’t a guide book I missed the shipment on
Something I’ve noticed the last few years is how often people literally just wing it and hope for the best. I love it.
10) It’s okay if I don’t get married someday
19 cleared up my outlook on marriage. Am I against it? No. I think it’s powerful, beautiful even. Is it relevant to my life right now? No. Will it ever be a part of my life? I don’t know, and I’m okay with that.
Finding a true partner to share life with is rare. And If I do find that person somehow, I only want to do it once.
11) Take the 10 minutes
10, 15, 20 minutes spent on a dream or a project is infinitely better than 0 minutes. I find every time I open a document when I’m planning on writing, “Just a scene or two,” I end up with much more.
Spare the 20 minutes, and they’ll add up.
12) Give the compliment
The cost is a minimal portion of possible embarrassment, and the result is giving someone something to smile about.
13) Trust Gods plan
I think I’ll be re-learning this one every year.
14) Eat the cookie
Baked goods should never go to waste. There are very few situations that a cookie won’t improve.
15) Don’t play the comparison game
We’re all so different it’s futile to measure up with who you think you should be.
Admire others? Yes. Be inspired by others? Yes.
But don’t discount personal success and milestones because you’re falling short based on someone else’s life.
16) It’s okay to feel sad
Sadness does not equal weakness. I’m always learning this one.
It’s essential to entertain the full wheel of emotion, to recognize all the layers inside of a reaction, and to connect the dots.
17) Forgive those who are not sorry
It’s a tough pill to swallow, but it has to be done to move on.
18) How to drive! An actual physical lesson learned, how about that
Right before moving across the country, I took my (second) driving test (that month) the day before my flight, and finally got my license!
19) Dream—but pay attention to what’s here and now
Keep looking ahead but focus on what will get you there, too.
To wrap all of that up
19 is an age I will never forget—It stretched me like no other.
I can’t wait to see what 20 has in store!
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