Today, at 11:59 pm to be exact, I turn 17.
It seems so hard to believe. It feels like just yesterday I was running around in the front yard sprinklers with my cutie pie baby sister and now I have to figure out what I want to do with the rest of my life?! Man, time sure does fly.
Anywho, on this very special day I’ve attempted to create a list of the 17 most important lessons I’ve learned through the years, and I would love nothing more than to share them with all of you.
- When you can’t find the sun, be the sun: Super cheesy, I know. But this is true. There are times in life when everything around you will, bluntly put, suck. The only way to get through the dark times is to find the inner sunshine in you and see the great things in the world around you no matter how sucky things may be.
- Great things are worth fighting and waiting for: It takes an hour to bake banana bread. Enough said.
- Hard work = Success: This is one of my biggest mantras and certainly one my friends are tired of hearing me say. But I really believe in this and the statement’s veracity has proved true to me over the years. You can do absolutely anything if you work hard enough for it. And don’t get me wrong I mean work hard as in the sense of- you want something so bad you’ll get 3 hours of sleep and skip lunch to go the library every day because you care that much about it. To me, there’s no such thing as luck when it comes to getting what you want and if you aren’t where you want to be it’s simply because you’re not working hard enough for it. It really is that simple. No excuses.
- Hug your Ma every day: Do I even need to elaborate on this?
- Listen: To others. To your gut. To your parents. But more than anything, always listen to those you don’t agree with. By shutting out perspectives that differ from our own, we further perpetuate a world of ignorance. And c’mon people we don’t need any more of that!
- Never give up: Life is hard. But, life is also SO great. When things get rough, always remind yourself that there is a light at the end of the tunnel. As Romans 8:18 so affirmingly says, “The pain you are going through now, cannot compare to the joy that is coming.” That verse has helped me get through a lot of tough times and in many ways, I feel as if my life is a testament to the statement.
- Do what you want and apologize for nothing: Did I stutter?
- Comparison kills: Someone will always be better, smarter, and more talented than you. Comparison is the greatest thief of joy. You are who you are, so don’t live your life wishing you were someone else.
- Love like a mofo: Be vulnerable. If you love someone tell them. Having a heart of steel, this is one I still struggle with. But as time goes on you will realize that some people are worth putting your heart out on the line for. Let your heart be full of love and constantly make sure people know you love them.
- God is good all the time, all the time God is good: No explanation needed.
- Fake it till you make it: I am not at all using the word ‘fake’ here, with the connotation of being superficial, that’s not at all what I mean. Basically what I’m trying to say is that sometimes you’re not going to feel badass, but no one knows that but you, so you better damn well act it.
- Take risks: Don’t let once-in-a-lifetime opportunities pass you by because you were scared. That’s pathetic. Life is too short to be afraid.
- Every day is the best day ever: There is no such thing as a bad day. A few years ago I did one of those jar things where you write down one good thing that happened to you that day and then at the end of the year, you read all the things you wrote. What I learned from this, aside from the fact that writing something every day is tedious work, was that something good happens every single day. Don’t focus on the negative. Happiness is a choice.
- Be honest: Live with integrity. Always do the right thing regardless of what the world around you says.
- Be kind: Smile at strangers. Hold the door. Ask people how they are. Make a conscious effort to be a good person.
- Live in the now: As a strong Type A and considering the fact that my future wedding is already 90% planned out (the only part missing is my future husband!), this one was hard for me to learn, but I’m glad I did. The only moment you are ever guaranteed is the one you have right here, right now. Immerse yourself in it and don’t let it pass you by because you cared more for some godforsaken GPA.
- C’est la vie: At the end of the day, things aren’t always going to go the way you want. Life isn’t fair. That’s just the way the world works. You just have to brush it off, pick yourself up, tell yourself c’est la vie- such is life, and get back on the grind.
So here we are, at the start of anotha one and I simply could not be more grateful.
These past 17 years have been a wonderful, wild, messy ride and I don’t regret a single thing. I have accomplished things I never deemed possible, had some pretty awesome experiences, met some of THE coolest people on Earth, made lots (and lots) of mistakes, laughed my lungs out, done things I could’ve only dreamed of, found my passion, used my voice to speak for others, tried new things, and never gave up.
I would’ve never imagined that one day I would have a site with the domain as my name but let me tell you, life sure does have a funny way of surprising you.
I am so thankful for all the things and people in my life that make every single day so awesome. My heart is filled with oh so much joy.
So here’s to being sweet, neat, and seventeen!
This is only the beginning.
To the sun and back,