17 Things I Learned At 17

“At eighteen, everything is possible and tomorrow looks friendly.” – Jim Bishop

After what feels like an eternity of a year, today is the day I will finally turn eighteen. I am not exaggerating when I say the past year has felt like ten.

The amount of growth that I have experienced quite honestly blows my mind. If I take a second to think about who I was this time last year, I would not recognize myself. Was my hair like two feet longer? Yes. But even if I take that out of the mix, it’s still insane. 

Here are seventeen things I learned at seventeen:

1. Flying by yourself to visit a friend isn’t too bad, but flying halfway across the country by yourself to move in the middle of a pandemic is quite terrifying.

2. Nothing is ever is as hard as you think it is. For example, if you want to learn something, nothing is stopping you. Find a course, watch a youtube video, read a book, information is at your fingertips.

3. Do one thing every day to get you closer to your goal. No matter how tiny it may be, the smallest step is still a step.

4. Spending time outside and breathing in fresh air is so good. Sunshine is a blessing, don’t take it for granted.

5. Everyone won’t be in your life forever. People come and go, this can be for friendships, romantic relationships, even family members. But remember that there are lessons in everything and it all has a purpose. 

6. Do not bottle up thoughts, emotions, feelings, etc. Your life will be immeasurably easier and weight will be lifted off of your shoulders if you just simply let it out. Whether it be in a journal, letting the person know, or talking about it to a therapist.

7. Gratitude must be present daily. We are so privileged but hardly take the time to realize it and be thankful for the lives that we have been blessed with.

8. One person’s success does not lessen your success, we are all on a different path. Your chapter two will not look the same as someone’s chapter twenty and you should not beat up yourself for it. 

9. Daily moments of self-care are needed to maintain good mental/physical/spiritual health. Building healthy habits and routines are essential to improving every part of your life.

10. Network and be nice to everyone. You never know who is connected to who or where they will end up. It is easy to be nice, simply don’t be mean, you won’t regret it.

11. Being comfortable is not necessarily good, you have to get uncomfortable to grow. Your comfort zone is holding you back, plain and simple, get out of it and into your stretch zone where you are uncomfortable and start chasing your dreams.

12. Toxic people and relationships should be treated seriously. If a relationship is unhealthy, no matter who the relationship is with, end it. Take time to heal and it may blossom again, but do the right yet very challenging thin, and let yourself breathe. 

13. Celebrate every small victory and treat yourself. Just like number three, the smallest thing can still be celebrated. Also treating yourself is one of the best ways to avoid burn out, so please treat yourself.

14. Your weight does not define what you deserve. Your weight is one minuscule part of what makes you who you are, do not let it define how you feel about yourself or make you think that you deserve less than others.

15. When you get a chance to do something you’d never do or never thought you’d have the chance to do, do it. Take the risk, make the jump, you’ve got this, as long as you land on your feet it doesn’t matter all that happened in the air.

16. Don’t just read books but make them yours underline, highlight, and post-it note your heart out. I used to be terrified to do this, but it elevates the book to an entirely new level and I cannot suggest it enough. 

17. If you are thinking a compliment about someone tell them. You have the power every single day to make someone’s day better. So why wouldn’t you? Take the five seconds and say the compliment instead of just thinking it.

A year ago I had never had a job before, had cut off two plus feet of hair, and was an anxious wreck about my future. Well the last part might be true but I at least have a path to go down now which is all I would’ve asked for back then.

Although this was not how I was expecting to spend my eighteenth birthday, I plan on making it a memorable one. Somehow, I will find a way. If there is one thing that has stayed true through almost all my life, it’s that if I set my mind to do something, I will make it happen.

So watch out world, I am eighteen now and I can finally go to the doctor without an adult present. Not to mention I now have the ability to get a tattoo or piercing whenever my heart desires, and I can vote. All fun things and I plan on taking advantage of all of them.

Also if you’re wondering, I don’t feel too different but I am definitely more excited for the future than anxious.

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