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19 Things I've Learned in my 19 Years of Life

This upcoming Sunday I get to bid farewell to my teenage years and say hello to my roaring 20's. My teen years surely weren't as bad as movies can portray them to be but the early years (13 & 14) were definitely awkward so I can't say that I'm sad to leave this stage of my life behind.

In the last two decades of my life (yikes that makes me feel old) I've learned a handful of life lessons and it only felt fitting to share 19 of the those lessons here today as I wrap up my 19th year.

1. The little things can oftentimes bring the greatest amount of joy.
Waking up early enough to see the sunrise? Watching your creamer mix with your coffee? Knocking a minute off your mile time? Life is too short to not get excited over the little things.

2. The best adventures are the ones you didn't plan for. 
For a long time, if something wasn't planned out in my planner, I wouldn't do it because it wasn't accounted for in my day. One night I decided to go against what my planner said and sat on the roof of a parking garage and watched the sunset over campus with the girls that are now my best friends. It's crazy how some of life's biggest blessings come when you least expect them. 

3. You're inevitably going to be told "No" at some point and it's ok.
You're going to apply for leadership positions, jobs, and internships at some point in your life and at some point in your life, you're going to be told no. It is 100% ok to be told no. It is not the end of the world (although at that moment, it may seem like it), life will go on, and you will grow that experience and find something that is better suited to you. Remember a couple of years ago when I was a senior in high school who was applying to colleges? Yeah, well I got denied from my top choice school. I was devasted at the time, but now, I can't imagine going to school anywhere else. 

4. Sometimes, you just can't do it all.
For a while, I thought I could be the girl that does it all. Leadership positions, blogging, maintaing a good presence on Instagram, school work, fitness, and my social life but it wasn't long before things got to be too much to handle and I broke down. It's ok to say no to some things and it's always better to do one thing well than a bunch of things poorly.

5. FOMO is real but you have to learn to say no sometimes.
I live in my sorority house this year which means I'm constantly surround by 30+ girls who are all doing different things. For the first couple weeks of the year, I would say yes and go pretty much anywhere people asked me to go. But then I got tired. I needed time for myself and I had to learn that there will be other chances to hang out my friends (after all, they live in the same house as me) and sometimes you need to put yourself and your own well being before you decide to go to Dunkin' for that iced coffee that you just don't need. 

6. The most important promises to keep are the ones you made to yourself.
This is the most recent thing I've learned and one of my goals for 2019 is to never break a promise that I make to myself. If you tell yourself that you're going to wake up and go to the gym, then do so. You made that promise to yourself for a reason and you're only going to regret it when you don't follow through on your personal promises.

7. Instagram is a highlight reel.
This is something that took me a long time to learn. Do not compare your behind-the-scenes to others highlight reel on Instagram. Social media is full of perfectly exposed, expertly saturated and stunningly cohesive photos, and while I also will admit that I do spend time editing my photos and care about the appearance of my feed, I stopped taking myself so seriously and it's made a world of difference. I'm not saying that I don't still try to remain professional and maintain the high standard that I hold myself to but I've stopped worrying about the small things. Is a photo a little over-exposed? Sure. But does it make me happy and do I have a fun story to share with it? Yes. So I'm going to share it. Once I learned to stop posting to please others, it became less of an item on my to-do list and more of something I look forward to every day. 

8. Everything happens for a reason.
My response to almost any setback in my life is "everything happens for a reason" and I can't think of something that I believe in more than I believe in this. 

9. You need to make yourself happy before you can make others happy.
In order to spread the happiness, you have to have the happiness. Simple as that.

10. Running is extremely therapeutic.
Thanks to an unseasonably warm day last month, I picked up running and I haven't looked back. Not only is running beneficial to my health and fitness, but it's also beneficial for my mental health. Running is a way for me to put whatever I'm doing on hold for an hour or so and get outside and just be myself. I just put on a good playlist and run like the wind (except not really. homegirl over here has bad knees so we jog like a light breeze, in intervals).

11. It's ok to cry, and sometimes, it's even necessary to cry. 
I'm a firm believer that there are few problems that can't be fixed by a good cry. While I don't like to cry often (I mean, who does?) sometimes I just need to let myself breakdown for a minute or two and then when I'm done, I tell myself that whatever it was that caused my breakdown is now in the past and we can only move forward from here.

12. You don't need to take yourself so seriously 24/7.
It is perfectly fine to allow yourself to have some fun sometimes. My entire freshman year of college I was very hesitant to attend social events because I was more worried about editing a paper for the third time or making sure the formatting on a blog post was exactly the way I wanted it. At the beginning of my sophomore year I was on FaceTime with a friend of mine from home and he told me that "you're only in college once" and while I am by no means and in no way, shape, or form, a party animal (quite the opposite actually), I realized that it was ok to have a little bit of fun with my gal pals on the weekends and that sometimes it was ok if I didn't wear an Instagram-worthy outfit for a day. 

13. TJMaxx & Marshalls have the best workout clothing. No discussion necessary. 
Y'all, the quality is 10/10, the price is unbeatable and there are so many different options. I'm not joking when I say that easily 80% of my closet is from TJMaxx and Marshalls. I also just can't justify spending ridiculous amounts of money on clothing that you're wearing to workout and sweat in. 

14. Shoot your shot. Let's be real, if you don't send that text message now, you're never going to. 
I don't think this one needs much of an explanation. If you've already worked up the courage to type out a message to someone, save yourself the regret and just hit send. Life is too short to not tell people how you feel and it's too short to constantly be wondering "what if?"

15. When you meet people that allow you to be your true self, keep them around.
People like this are hard to find these days so when you come across someone that genuinely cares about your wellbeing, doesn't judge you, accepts your flaws, and checks up on you, keep them around. The world could use more people like this.

16. Crush by David Archuleta is an extremely underrated song that needs to be brought back.
This song is such a bop, it came on while I was running the other day and it's been on repeat in my car ever since. Let's bring it back, please and thank you.

17. If people want to be in your life, they will make an effort to be there.
If someone really wants to talk to you, they'll make an effort to do so. This is a two-way street, though. If you want to spend time with someone, you also shouldn't be afraid to reach out to them.

18. The best things happen outside of your comfort zone.
You don't grow when you stay within the boundaries of what you know. Enough said.

19. It is never too cold for iced coffee. 
Did we really think I could go a whole post without mentioning coffee? Yeah, me either. It can be 32ยบ outside and you can bet your bottom dollar that I'll be ordering an iced coffee. Never too cold.

Cheers to 20 years,


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