My 19th birthday was Tuesday and I couldn’t think of a better way to celebrate on my blog other than with a “19 things I’ve learned at 19” post. I hope you enjoy reading and maybe (I hope!) you can take away something from this.
Before I start, I just want to add that I can’t believe it’s been almost two decades since I was born. I feel like just a couple months ago I started grade 9 and now 4 years later I’m about to start university. Where did time go? I have no idea? Ok let’s start.
1. Highschool grades are everything
I know lots of people are going to disagree with me on this one, but if you really think about it, it’s nothing but true. When you’re in highschool, your grades should be one of your top priorities. They set up your future and play a key roll in the few years after high school and can be the make-or-break decision for your dream school or dream job.
Every year I took them more seriously, and continued getting higher grades. And I’m proud to say that all my university applications were accepted.. not trying to brag or anything haha. Seriously though I’m so modest, I’m just proud of myself.
So, if you’re in highschool just keep this in mind: the higher the grades = the more options you have.
2. Friends come and go
They do, and you just have to move on and accept it. As everyone starts getting older, new interest are developed and friendships can easily drift apart.
I had a best friend from grade 2 until about grade 8, and once we got into highschool we barely talked to each other. We didn’t get into a fight or anything, we just didn’t have that many classes together and lost contact. Kind of sad, but it’s normal and everyone makes new friends.
3. Don’t waste time working
A lot of people are going to disagree with me on a lot of these points, I just know it. But hear (or read?) me out.
What I’m trying to say is, don’t waste time working in your highschool years because, you’ve got your whole life ahead of you where you can (/have to) work.
Find something your passionate about and do that up until your done with highschool (or keep going after highschool, that’s cool too). I danced for 12 years and I’m so happy that I focused on dance and school grades. I wouldn’t have wanted it any other way.
I know money is great, getting work experience is so important too, and not everyone can not not work, but I think everyone should try and find a (healthy) balance between school, hobby and work to make your highschool years a memory you love to look back on.
4. Don’t worry about the small things
What I mean by the ‘small things’ is any sort of highschool or work drama. If you’re in it, worrying about it, enjoy being apart of it or like starting it then you’re really just wasting your time that could be put into something more relevant.
If it affects you, try and resolve it as best as possible and move on. I’m glad that I haven’t been involved in that much drama, but I know so many people that are and it’s just a lot of unnecessary stress that no one needs.
I’m going to say it again, but drama is such a waste of time and don’t get sucked up in it.
5. Quality over quantity
I’ve learned that this saying goes for almost everything in life. I really can’t think of anything where this wouldn’t apply.
I’d rather have 3 really good and true friends, than have 14 friends that only contact you when they need something. Or 600 really active Instagram followers over 10,000 that don’t like or comment on any photos. See what I’m trying to get at here?
To me quality is just much more important than quantity.
6. Save Save Save
Saving money and not spending it on useless things is one thing that took me a little while to learn. The older (and wiser) 😉 I got, the more I started realizing how much of my money was spent on useless things, rather than on things that are actually beneficial to me.
My biggest role model for saving money is definitely my mom. There isn’t one thing that I can think of that she just blew her money on because she really wanted it. Everything she’s boughten has been beneficial. She’s seriously the queen of saving!
7. The only person you need to impress is yourself
You should never change your appearance or the way you act for anyone, including friends, family or societies’ “standards”.
If you like what you’re wearing, the way your hair is styled, or how you do your makeup, that’s the only thing that matters. If someone tells you that you need to change something about your appearance, ignore them!
Probably from about grade 2 until the end of grade 11 I would make sure I didn’t wear clothes that were to skinny or to tight. I started to get over that a little in grade 12, and now being done with high school I’m comfortable in wearing any type of clothes that I like.
8. Document Everything
Everyone should be using all this new evolving technology to save and document everything they do. Now I don’t mean literally everything, I mean things you wouldn’t normally do on the day-to-day basis. For example, travelling somewhere, visiting family, going to the beach? Anything really.
I honestly love looking through old pictures, and remembering (or not remembering, due to age) memories and I’m so thankful that my family took lots of pictures when I was young. There’s this one photo of my cousins and I that I love so much and always look back at it because it’s seriously one of the cutest pictures I’ve ever seen. I’m so happy I have it.
Instagram is my number one place to share and save photos. Do you have it? I do!
9. Travel as much as you can
I see it like this: life is way to short to stay at home. Unless, you love staying at home and never get the travel bug that itches you to get out, like I do. Sorry that was really cheesy, but I just had to.
I love travelling and I want to see so much more. I’ve only travelled North America and Europe, and haven’t be able to visit any of the other continents yet, but don’t worry I’ll get there sooner or later.
Other than having to spend money, I only see benefits to travelling. The more you travel, the more you learn and the more you learn, the smarter you get. If you check out My Bucket List, you can see some of my top destinations that I still want to travel to.
10. Learn more languages
Take time to learn more languages, other than just english. Although I did have a head start in German (which I’m so happy about), I continue to expand it by talking with my friends and family in it and attended German language courses. Also watching TV and youtube videos in it helps too!
I have basic french knowledge because I took it all through highschool and didn’t stop after grade 9. I’m not that good but am excited to continue to learn it at university. It’s crazy that so many monolingual people underestimate the power and above all the benefits of being able to speak another language and are really missing out!
And also FYI, even if you can’t speak another language fluently that’s fine! Just practicing it an hour a day or so works your brain out which can help improve intelligence.
11. Highschool years are the best years
I know everyone says this, and if you’re in highschool right now you’re probably not going to believe me, but once you’re actually out, you will.
Highschool is so easy for you because all the rules and guidelines are already made for you. Go to school everyday from 9Am-3PM, here are your classes that you can choose from and this is what you need to do to get a passing mark. Once you’re out, you have to figure it out all yourself, which can be really confusing and hard.
After highschool you have so much freedom, but with that freedom comes a lot of responsibility which, like I said can be really confusing and hard and can cause a lot of stress, if you’re not used to it. Which most people after highschool aren’t.
12. Nothing is handed to you
If you really want something, you have to work for it because it ain’t going to be handed to you. Being careful and holding back all the time, will not get you to where you want to be. And yes, you’ll probably disagree once again, but just wait, you’ll realize it sooner or later.
I’m not at all encouraging you to be careless at all, I’m just saying that you can’t always be the “nice guy/girl” if you really want something. Reality is that if you’re always holding back and being careful OR if you’re always pushing through and being careless, you’re not going to get what you want. You have to find that happy medium in order to achieve what you want.
13. Stop saying “no”
I’m so guilty of this and I’m really trying to fix this habit. I’ve been offered so many things in school, dance and other things and often decline because I know I’ll just get way to nervous, scared or anxious. And then I wonder why I don’t get invited to new things or events?
It’s obviously because they already assume my answer will be “no” and don’t want to waste time asking. Totally understandable and my own fault.
If you start saying “yes” to more things in life, the more doors to opportunity will open for you. And the more doors available to you, will make your life so much more exciting!
14. Talk and Communicate
This kinda relates to the previous point and is also one that I have had problems with in the past. I’m not perfect at it yet but I’m still working at it a lot and it’s definitely gotten better over the years
In this generation it’s so important to communicate with other people. Not only will it make you a more confident person, but it’ll help you get contacts which could possibly help you get farther in life, both personally and professionally.
Totally forgot to add that talking with other people with also just make you a more likeable person, that people will actually want to hangout with. If you don’t talk with other people, they won’t want to talk to you and you’ll have no friends..to put it the harsh way 😉
15. Everything happens for a reason
Whether it’s for the better or for the worse, everything in life happens for a reason. Well.. almost everything.
I’ve personally been through so much change in my life, and after a while of getting used to and accepting it, it usually actually turned out to be for the better. At first, you rarely see that it happened for the better and that’s totally normal.
Also, disclaimer, not every situation obviously turns out for the better.. everyone has their own story. I’m just saying that lots people tend to overreact at first.
Might be difficult to cope with at first, but after awhile you’ll get used to it and have accepted whatever has changed and see that it was probably for the better.
16. Stay open minded
“Stay open minded. Things are’t always what they always seem to be” – Scottie Waves. Nothing but true. The majority of things in our lives are not what they seem to be, and like I said in #15 you just have to accept and get used to it.
Be willing to try new things and respect other people’s ideas, even if you don’t 100% agree with them.
In my opinion, I really don’t think it’s possible to be happy in life if you aren’t willing to be open minded. I mean if you’re not willing to try new things or try new things with high expectations you’ll probably be let down. And once you’re let down, you’re complaining and you’re not happy.
So what I’m trying to say, stay open minded and consider doing other things without high expectations.
17. Not everyone is gonna like you
It doesn’t matter what you do, not everyone is gonna like you. You can change your hair colour/style, wear different clothes or act differently, and still not everyone is going to like you.
It’s possible to change things about you, that could make more people like you.. but still you’re not going to impress everyone.
So with that said, be who you are and don’t change for anyone other than for yourself, because NOT EVERYONE will like you anyways, so who cares! I tend to repeat myself a lot don’t I? Oops.
18. no shame to show pain
What I mean by this, don’t be ashamed to cry. Crying is normal, for both men and women and sometimes we just gotta let it out.
When I get stressed, I usually just keep it inside me for awhile, but then it just breaks. Example: University, apartment and family were giving me so much stress over the past couple of months and I had kept it bundled up inside me for those couple of months. Then, one person said something and I just had to cry, I couldn’t handle it anymore. AND it felt so good after.
Trust me, if you’re stress let it out and cry and don’t you dare be embarrassed about it. If you are, I’ll be mad at you.
19. Don’t give up
This one is pretty self-explanatory and I don’t think I should have to write much about this one. I’ll just say, don’t give up and keep going or keep fighting. Set your goals, and do whatever it takes to get there, without giving up!
I’ve given up way to many times, but am definitely changing that lifestyle habit and have gotten better at it.
So, those were 19 valuable “lessons” I’ve learned at 19. I hope you’ve also learned some of the same things I have and maybe you’ve learned a couple new things too.
I had a great 19th birthday and can’t believe that in one year I’ll be turning 20. So crazy to me!