Today, the 22nd of October 2016, I have turned 17 years old! 17 is quite a strange number to me- I’m not really considered a ‘child’ anymore, but I’m not really into full ‘adult mode’ yet. It feels so strange and does make you realise how fast life goes by. Despite the fact some may think I’m “only 17” and have the whole of my life ahead of me, 17 years is a long time. Over the course of these 17 years, I have learnt a hell of a lot of things, I have experienced some amazing memories, as well as times where I never imagined I could feel certain ways. But these experiences have shaped me into the person I am today, a person that I am proud to be- so here are the things I’ve learnt.
(1) The hard work does really pay off.
Lots of people find short cuts throughout life. Although some of these may be helpful at times, it will never work out in the long run. Apply yourself to your fullest in everything you do, if you fail, you know you could not have done any better- you cannot regret any way you acted as you know you worked your hardest. If you succeed, it is one of the best feelings ever, it doesn’t feel real. Working hard shows you can apply yourself, and trust me- it does pay off.
(2) Some people care about you a lot more than you think.
You may feel like nobody cares about you, or that you’re just not very close to someone such as a friend or family member. However, don’t assume this as some things happen in life, big and small. Some people may surprise you and you will realise some may change their whole lives to make you happy, they will care about you more than they care for themselves and you will care about them a lot more than you ever imagined.
(3) Not everyone is going to like you.
Even if you are the kindest person on Earth, not everyone is going to like you. That’s okay because you’re not going to like everyone either. Make peace with this, it will save you time and allow you to create the real, strong bonds with others.
(4) It’s okay not wanting to grow up.
Every time I turn a new age, I know I’m coming closer to being an ‘adult’. People will expect me to want to drive, know what I’m going to do with my life and to be able to pay bills. Although this will happen, I don’t want to fully ‘grow up’. I want to still laugh, be innocent, not know what I’m doing because who even does? Keep your inner child for as long as you can as it’s a part of you, don’t make the pressure of society feel like you have to give that up.
(5) Comparing yourself will never have a good end result.
In our generation we compare ourselves to everyone; our grades in our recent exams to our friends, how much prettier that girl is that you and how you wish you were doing as well in life as that person. We all travel through life at different speeds, but in the end, we all get to the destination we are meant to be. “Don’t compare your chapter 1 to someone’s chapter 10” I saw this quote online and although some may find it cheesy- it’s entirely true. You may be just getting started or halfway through, how can you compare your progress to someone further ahead, they were in your position once too, remember that.
(6) It does get better.
There will be some times in your life that get unbelievably dark and you feel like life will never get better again,ever. No matter how hopeless, worthless and sad you feel it does get better. Please trust me on this. You will feel like your life is going nowhere, but if you take the next turn, you never know how far you’re about to go.
(7) Tell people how much you appreciate them.
We all have people we love and appreciate and you never know when they are having it tough. Tell your friends how much you love them, say you will always remember when they stuck by you and tell them all the reasons why you would never want any other friend. Tell a family member how much you love them. You never know how much they will need to hear it. I tell my family I love them multiple times a day (I think they get a little tired of how much I say it!), but I mean it. I really do.
(8) Your problems are insignificant.
There are over 7.125 BILLION people on this Earth. Some are probably working on a beach in the Maldives, some are on a farm growing crops in England, there are people in Austria skiing and people at Apple working on the next new phone while you are worrying over something which probably seems THE BIGGEST THING EVER. It’s not. Although it’s probably making you panic a lot and worry, soon you will barely remember it. I go by a saying that if it won’t matter to me in 5 years, then there’s no point worrying about it.
(9) Don’t feel guilty about removing toxic people from your life.
Some people on this Earth are toxic and they may be one of the closest people to you at some point in your life. But if someone is making you feel sad, worthless, doubt yourself, angry and hurt- get rid of them. Do not feel guilty for getting rid of something that is constantly bringing you down. It may be one of the hardest things you do, but letting go of someone toxic isn’t cruel, it’s an act of self-care. Take care of YOU and your happiness.
(10) Look up from your phone.
Our generation is obsessed with our phones and social media. I can admit that I spend WAY too much time on my phone, and I’m sure you can too. Just look up from your phone, otherwise, you’re going to miss out. Put the phone away and laugh with your family at the programme on television and actually have a conversation when in the car or on the bus, instead of posting a new Instagram post. That new Youtube video you want to watch will always be there, but the memories you are creating are only there at the moment, so enjoy it.
(11) There are things beyond your control.
We all like to feel in control and feel like we can control our lives but that isn’t the truth. Even if you are the biggest control freak ever, you need to accept that some things you can’t change or have an input. Just go with the flow and know that whatever happens, it will take you to a place you need to be.
(12) Life isn’t perfect.
You will look at others and think their lives are perfect, but that isn’t the case as nobodies are. Whether it’s a huge disaster or just something small like losing your favourite necklace, there will always be something in life you are not completely happy about. But happiness is a feeling, not a destination so just enjoy the ride and live your imperfectly perfect life.
(13) Forgive others, and forgive yourself.
You will account many arguments and disagreements with people but forgive them. Even if you find what they did the MOST ANNOYING THING EVER, holding a grudge will do more damage to you than teaching them a lesson. Let go of your pride and stop being stubborn as it’s honestly not worth it. As well as forgiving others-forgive yourself. You may have done things in the past you aren’t proud of, or have a trait you aren’t fond of. But, that’s who YOU are. We need to make mistakes in order to learn and we all aren’t perfect. You have all the time in the world to work on yourself but don’t spend all that time hating what you did, concentrate on what you’re GOING to do.
(14) Just eat the chocolate bar.
You will doubt your eating habits so you can be “healthy” or “skinny” or whatever the hell society is telling us to be at that certain time. Just do whatever you want. If you want that chocolate bar and know you are going to enjoy demolishing it- JUST EAT IT. It is not going to make your world crumble down, the only ‘crumbs’ you’ll have is chocolate on your bed haha!
(15) Don’t be afraid to tell someone- don’t bottle it up.
There are times when you will have the whole world on your shoulders and feel like you cannot tell anyone about it. You may feel like it’s silly, you’re scared or just may feel like nobody could possibly understand and you don’t want to be a burden. Tell someone. Family and friends are made for these types of situations, you cannot solve everything on your own, sometimes you need to accept that you will need the help of others. You will honestly destroy yourself if you bottle it up. It gets better as soon as it all comes out, trust me.
(16) You are a hell of a lot stronger than you think.
17 years is a very long time, and it’s strange as I only have a handful of memories from these years, meaning I’ve forgotten a lot, especially everything I have gone through, struggled through and achieved. In some situations that were hard, we tend to gloss over them, but when you look back, you should actually realise those WERE hard times, and you did struggle. But here you are today, still here and managed to deal with all of that. You should be proud of yourself and never think you aren’t strong. Life is hard as hell, and just being here today means you’ve already been through a lot. You are strong.
(17) You aren’t alone- nobody has everything figured out.
As you walk throughout the streets of your town, so many people will pass you. They will look busy, happy and occupied, leaving you to feel as though maybe you have no direction within your life. Every person you walk past has a problem, struggles and is worrying about something or other. We all act as we have it all together, but we all don’t at all. There may be a business woman across the road dealing with a meeting on the phone, but she really wants to leave her job and pursue a writing career, and that school student has no idea where he wants to go to university. Stop worrying about where your life is going and concentrate and enjoy where it is now. We are all going to get to the place we are supposed to be, so enjoy it!
17 years, 17 lessons. It’s been one hell of a ride and I know it’s going to get even crazier. I have learnt so much within these years, yet there is so much for me to learn, some will be harder to accept than others but it will shape me into the person I’m meant to be. I hope you all enjoyed this EXTREMELY LONG blog post. But I mean, 17 years is a long time!