My nineteenth year has gone by much faster than any other year in my life (at least it seems that way), and before I turn 20 this fall I thought I would reflect on all that I have learned over the past 19 years. These are in no particular order, but are lessons that have resonated with me over the years 🙂
1. Give your all in everything that you do
This is something that can be very difficult to do. but it gets easier and more rewarding over time. If you give your best effort in everything you are presented with, you will be able to overcome anything. Though it may seem impossible at the time, the persistence you have will allow you to persevere through anything that life throws your way.
2. Be kind to others and to yourself
Most of us are able to be kind to others without any second thoughts or hesitation, but it is much harder to be kind to ourselves. We are often our own worst critic, and forget to talk to ourselves as if we were just another person. By being kind you are allowing positivity to shine through despite the obstacles you or others may face.
3. Learn to search for the good in everyone
As we grow older, we interact with a variety of people. Some of these people embody the values we treasure and others do not. With that, we can empower ourselves and others by searching for strengths. We can connect with people we may not normally bring into our lives, and celebrate everyone’s strengths.
4. Pay attention to how you’re feeling
Are you feeling tired, hungry, fatigued, or pained? By paying attention to and acknowledging how your body is feeling you can be better prepared to face the day ahead. I love to sit on the floor and focus only on my body as a check-in. Where am I experiencing pain? How do I feel emotionally? Why might I feel this way? These are all great questions to ask yourself before starting the day.
5. Appreciate the little things
As I’ve grown older, the smaller things in life have begun to hold more significance. My happiness is now based upon the little moments, such as a hot shower, my favorite comfort food, or a great book. Being able to look forward to one thing per day has helped improve my motivation and boost my happiness. 🙂
6. Be present
In this day and age it is very easy to get wrapped up in social media and the internet. We often miss deeper connections with others as we browse our Facebook and Instagram feeds over dinner. I like to take at least an hour (usually more) per day to have a technology detox. I like to read a book and unwind before bed, and appreciate the tangible relationships that I have in my life.
7. Learn to be comfortable without routine
In high school I was a creature of habit who thrived on reliable and consistent schedules. Any change in plans would throw me off. As soon as I got to college, I had to adapt to spontaneous gatherings and changing schedules. By doing so I now feel more comfortable with living my life to the fullest, no matter what is presented to me.
8. Don’t be afraid to ask for help
As a new adult, I often feel as though I’m not supposed to ask for help. However, I’ve become more comfortable with acknowledging when I need help, and the results have been amazing. I’m honest about my capabilities, and get the help I need.
9. Allow yourself to move on
Though it is important to give your all at everything you do, be comfortable with acknowledging when a change is needed. By trying (and eliminating) new activities and interests, you can get closer to where your passions lie. I’ve done this many times, and each time I feel as though I emerged a better person.
10. Leave your comfort zone
While it is nice to remain in our comfort zones, the saying life begins at the end of your comfort zone certainly rings true for me. Some of my fondest memories are of moments in which I left my comfort zone into the unknown. By being able to adapt to new situations I have a better sense of self and how I relate to the world around me.
11. Stop comparing yourself to others
Comparing ourselves to others is one of the easiest traps to fall into. I’ve been there many times, and all it does is create negativity and resentment. By being able to appreciate the good in yourself and others you can start to see the strengths you bring to the table. Everyone is different, and your behind the scenes problems may seem catastrophic when compared to someone’s highlight reel. Remember that gaining a sense of self is a process that takes many years and a connections to flourish.
12. Fake it until you make it
Positivity is a difficult thing to embrace, and often it is by faking positivity that we reach that end goal. By putting effort into appearing positive we slowly change our outlook to reflect this appearance. It took me a few years to change the tone of my subconscious responses, but it was worth the effort.
13. Don’t let anyone else’s definition of success alter your own path
The world today thinks of success in terms of money and credentials, though this viewpoint is starting to change. Don’t let anyone else’s definition of this success change the path that you can see for yourself. There are many different types of success, and all are equally valuable and deserve to be celebrated.
14. Make an effort to establish community wherever life takes you
I’ve had the privilege of living in a few different places over the last year, and the communities I was able to become a part of in each place are invaluable. I’ve made lifelong connections that would not have been possible had I not taken the risk to put myself out there and connect with others.
15. Drink lots of water
I’m someone who doesn’t like the taste of water (or rather, the fact that it has no taste). In high school I was always dehydrated and hesitant to drink water in any capacity. This all changed with the worsening of my migraine headaches, and my entire body has become healthier from the change. I now drink about one gallon of water per day, and feel much more energized for my day. Insider tip: drink water if you feel hungry, for hunger is often a thirst response.
16. Allow yourself to feel what you need to feel
As I’ve discussed in previous posts, I’m someone who tends to bottle up my emotions until they are too much. Recently I’ve been able to allow myself to feel things in the moment, therefore not letting them collect negative energy over time.
17. Take the time to learn a new skill
As the years pass our interests change, and with it comes opportunities for exploration. Don’t be afraid to try something new! Maybe you want to start hiking or learn how to cook from scratch. Whatever the skill might be, it’s never too late to learn!
18. Check in with and support others in their endeavors
One of the most powerful influences in the world today is support. By checking in with and supporting others we are giving them the change to see things differently or to get a break from what may be dragging them down. Show them that you care about their well-being, and you will receive support in return during your times of need.
19. Enjoy the ride
As the years pass (quicker and quicker!), enjoying my ride here has become more important. Allowing myself to enjoy the moment has changed my outlook on my life as a whole. Instead of being preoccupied about the future or the past, I am living in the now. I still love to set goals and work towards the future, but I also appreciate how far I’ve come and what I have accomplished during my 19 years of life.
I hope you enjoyed this week’s post! What have you learned throughout your years? 🙂
© The Wise Willow and Alyssa DeBella. All rights reserved.