19 Important Lessons I Learned By 19

woman in black and pink open cardigan standing beside car during daytime
Andressa Voltolini / Unsplash

As my 19th birthday grows closer, I’ve begun to reminisce about all the lessons I’ve learned over the years and made a list. These are so, so important, so I thought I’d share them.

1. To put myself first. If you think about it, if there were something to happen and I was the only one left on earth, would I be happy with myself? Would I be proud of the decisions I’ve made because I made them for myself not others? Just something to think about.

2. To stop worrying about other people. Like wildflowers, I must allow myself to grow in all the places people thought I never would.

3. That happiness can ultimately only come from me. And as I’m still trying to get to great happiness within myself, I know where my end goal is because of this statement. Loving myself is much more important than loving another human being. I can never give up on the things that make me smile.

4. That I am not worthless. I have a purpose. I am determining my own path. The world needs me to show up today because I am powerful, I am valuable and what I believe can change the world.

5. That sometimes people are only meant to be in my life for a season. I’ve learned not everyone is going to like me, and that’s alright. Nothing good comes out of a forced friendship. If you can’t accept me the way I am, you don’t belong in my life, period.

6. To stop pretending to be fine when I am not. It’s okay to admit that I am hurting and struggling. There are people who love me and want to help.

7. To be vulnerable, but cautious. The art of openness and honesty will help me connect more than I will ever know, but it will also open me up to the possibility of judgement. I will stand strong with who I am.

8. To appreciate the positive people in my life. Gratitude for this will help me and them.

9. That if I am good at something, people will try to exploit it. I need to remember to keep an eye out for the authentic, who I want to keep in my life, and to not feel bad about standing up for myself and cutting out those who truly do not care about me.

10. That in order for good things to come my way, I need to believe I deserve them. I do not just wake up and become the butterfly.

11. That the most beautiful things in life are not just things. They’re people and places, memories and pictures. They’re feelings and moments and smiles and laughter.

12. To know my values. To always have them in the back of my mind and never let anyone change them.

13. That I am not defined by my health problems and I can’t let them take control. I am strong, stronger than my weakened mind or body.

14. To never feel guilty for starting again. I always deserve to give myself second chances.

15. That creativity is my release and it is extremely important to have one. I need something to help with the stress of life — it’s essential.

16. If it’s still in my mind, it’s worth taking the risk. I’ve learned to trust my intuition.

17. That life is so precious. It’s fragile. It’s important to recognize what’s important and what isn’t.

18. To be spontaneous. In everyday life decisions but also in small enjoyable adventures.

19. To stay close to people who feel like sunshine and remain close to people who need my sunshine. We are all in this together. Thought Catalog Logo Mark

photographer, writer, and goldfish lover

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