18 Lessons I’ve Learned In 18 Years

The Spectacular Now
The Spectacular Now

1. Stay Humble.

You got 100% on your calculus test?  Great.  Used your saved up babysitting money to buy a Gucci clutch from the 2014 spring collection? Awesome.  You think you’re better than the kid with pimples because you can afford a microdermabrasion every month? Get off your high horse.  You’re not.

It will be hard for people to be happy for you when you succeed if you always seem to succeed and then gloat about it.  Save some of that story time just incase your horse slips in mud.  Stay grounded, levelheaded, humble.  People will respect you more for it, and you will respect yourself more as well.

2. Embrace your mistakes; they make you who you are.

Growing up we all make some not so wise decisions.  It’s ok.  Society seems to highlight and adore those that can get the closest to purity and perfection.  How boring.  Experiment.  Do things differently.  Explore life.  If it doesn’t work out, you end up wiser, stronger and a more creative storyteller.

3. You’re not in LOVE with every person you gain feelings for.

This one is a little bit of a rant that requires a story.  Well, I am lucky enough to have friends from an array of different countries.  Americans, Canadians, Bahamians, Moroccans, Armenians, Norwegians, Chinese, the list goes on.  I have recently noticed a pattern that no matter their gender, race or religion, they all at some point became infatuated with another being (in some cases I don’t understand why).  They then link infatuation with love, which I hope is only a poor translation on their part.

Yes, you feel chills, your stomach has butterflies, you can’t feel your legs, you dream about them, you reject sleep to stay up and think about them and all the rest.  You are infatuated.  You are not in love.  You want to know more about the person, indulge in the person, be with the person.  I am not saying that you cannot fall in love as a teenager.  Nor am I saying that infatuation or lust is bad.  But do not rush things or be quick to label your actions or emotions.  You will know you’re in love when two years down the line you fart whiles leaning over to kiss your significant other after an argument and can laugh about it with them.  Putting away your selfish needs and insecurities to create and maintain communication, commitment and trust for the long run, that’s love.

4. It’s ok to be rejected.

Someone doesn’t like you? Fxck them.  Friendships, relationships, universities, jobs, they will all reject you at some point.  Your ideas and beliefs may not be accepted but its better to try and fail than to never try it all.  Sometimes all it takes is development of your ideas and a second try.  Sometimes you may go in a completely different direction.  If something isn’t for you, don’t force it.  Learn from it, do not let it defeat you, and try something new.

5. Showing off through social media may not be the best idea.

Take it from me; don’t put everything out there.  It’s hard to contain and delete all your ranting tweets the night before you submit an application for an internship that will research you.  Its also a terrible feeling to delete all the gushy ‘I love you’ posts on your wall after you are cheated on.  People will be more intrigued by you the less they know about you.  You’re far more mysterious and interesting that way.

6. Be kind to others, you don’t know what they’re going through.

Plain and simple.  This lesson does not require an explanation.

7. But don’t be a push over, voice your opinions.

Stand up for what you believe.  It’s okay to disagree with people.  Do not agree with people just to fit in.  Like they say ‘if you don’t stand for something, you fall for anything’.

8. Your beliefs, morals, and values don’t make you a better person than someone else; accept differences, learn from them.

To sum it up, do not be judgmental.

9. There is more to life than drunken nights.

With that being said, see # 10 for ideas.

10. Take advantage of new opportunities.

This does not mean finding a new website to become addicted to.  Get outside.  Go skiing, kayaking, surfing, parasailing, or swimming with dolphins.  MAKE FRIENDS!  GET INSPIRED!  Learn how to cook, play rugby, paint, dance, or play an instrument.  Try new things.  It’s ok to suck at things.  Take risks.  YOLO the hell out of your teenage years and regret nothing.

11. You’re also too young to take life too seriously.

Once again I insist.  Reread number 10.  Your life should not be about work all the time.  Find a balance and work with that.  Become a well-rounded person.

12. Find what you love and make others happy by doing it.

I may be repeating myself, but maybe the repetition will make it sink in.  Search for something you’re passionate about; a sport, charity, music, art, writing, anything.  Just make it something positive and invest in it.  Inspire others by doing so.

13. Enjoy your education, challenge yourself.

Take classes that will benefit you and spark your interest.  Do not base your education on a hot teacher, the easiest class or the period all of your friends have together.  Take you education seriously, even if you do not plan to go to college.  Either way it is an investment in yourself and your future.  Learning should be cherished.

14. Avoid peer pressure, its real.

If you don’t believe in drinking or smoking then don’t.  Do not be someone else’s puppet.  YOU make your life decisions.  YOU live the consequences.

15. Everyone will suffer at some stage in his or her life.

Death, disease, divorce, disaster; some things are inevitable.  We all go through things.  Be there for others and understand you are not alone.

16. Believe in fairytales.

Happiness is vital to your survival.  Things are not perfect but you can have a happy ending.

17. Make a difference.

Set a goal and try to change the world.  It may be as small as turning off the water when you brush your teeth or as big as forming an organization against bullying. Each of us can do our part to sustain our environment.

18. Thank your parents.

When you look back you will see that even if they were never there for you or if your mom was soccer mom, they all wanted what was best for you.  You may not agree with everything they do but you are not perfect and nor are they.  Do not ignore them, do not criticize them, but thank them and cherish them whiles they are alive. Thought Catalog Logo Mark

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