It's my 19th birthday! I can't believe that today marks the start of my final year as a teenager. Where on earth has that time gone? Seeing as I'm turning 19 today, I thought it would be fun to share 19 lessons I've learnt about myself - and my life - during my teenage years. Not only does this give me an opportunity to reflect, but it'll also be very entertaining to read this post back (and probably laugh at how naive I was) in 10 years time when I'm getting ready to enter my thirties!
1. Everything happens for a reason. I used to think this saying was nothing more than a meaningless cliche however, after a few setbacks in life, I now believe it to be true! Over the years I've definitely realised that everything in life has a purpose and happens to put you on the right track.
2. Stop caring so much. "That's so embarrassing" is probably one of my most used phrases. It describes the things I've done in the past, and I assume it's what people will say about the things that I'm currently doing. But, caring about what other people think won't get you very far in life! If you want to do something, do it.
3. Don’t compare yourself to others. In life everyone is on different paths, but we are all where we are supposed to be at this moment, so comparing yourself to others will never do you any good. In terms of social media, it can be hard not to compare yourself to the hundreds of "perfect" lives flooding your feed - but it's important to remember that people only share what they want to share.
4. Always be kind, obviously.
5. Travel, travel, travel. Travelling is one of the most rewarding things I've ever done and I can't wait to go and see more of the world!
6. Live in the moment. I'm that one annoying person who is always taking pictures and documenting what I'm doing and, as much as I love being able to look back on these amazing memories, I'm trying to live more in the moment rather than through a camera lens.
7. Take risks. Starting this blog was a risk. Going to a different sixth form was a risk. Having a gap year was a risk. Spending 3 months 10,000 miles away from home was a risk. But, these risks have all had such amazing outcomes! How can you grow as a person if you are stuck in your comfort zone?
8. Believe in yourself. You're often capable of more than you realise.
9. Education is a powerful tool. I, weirdly, really enjoy and love learning; be it in a school environment or through independent research. Educating yourself on your interests - and on current affairs - will definitely make your life a little easier.
10. Music can fix everything. Literally, everything!
11. “Never half-ass two things. Whole-ass one thing." This is a quote from one of my favourite sitcoms, Parks and Recreation, but I absolutely love it! It's so important to fully commit yourself to your main goal, rather than burning yourself out and spreading yourself too thin.
12. Always make time for people you love. I don't think I need to expand on this one.
13. You are strongest in the face of adversity. When I didn't get into university last year, my uncle told me that the road to what I want to achieve will never be a straight line. This is so true, and I'm very happy that this is the case. Some of my best decisions were made when I was faced with obstacles in life.
14. Put yourself out there. What have you got to lose?
15. Stop being so hard on yourself. I am, literally, my own worst enemy. If I'm learning to do something and don't get it right straight away I beat myself up, put myself down and believe that I'll never be able to do it. I've always been like this, and I still am. I'm fully aware that this isn't a great quality to have, but I'm working on it!
16. Say yes more. Some of the best things I've ever done have started with the word "yes." Plus, once lockdown is over, it's safe to say I'll never be saying no to a night out again!
17. It's ok to be selfish with your time. Focusing your time and energy on yourself is not a bad thing.
18. Don't take things for granted. Of course, this is easier said than done. However, this year has shown me just how quickly things can change! So, I'm now trying to make more of an effort to appreciate the little things and remember that nothing is guaranteed.
19. Birthday cake won’t eat itself... on that note, I think I have some candles to blow out.