19 Things I Learned at Age 19

When I was younger I always hated the idea of being 19 – what’s so great about it anyway? At 13, you finally become a teenager. At 16, you can drive. At 18, you’re a legal adult and can vote. At 20 you’re entering the “adult” stage of your life. At 21, you can legally drink. But what about 19? It always felt like such a pointless age to me. I always saw 19 as a year for an existential crisis; the bridging gap between your teens and your twenties. An age where you’ve pretty much grown out of your teen years and ready to embark on the supposedly confusing journey of your twenties. Not so sure I feel any of that anymore – in fact, I’m pretty content with being 19. Although I just turned 19 this past October, I’d say so far so good. With the end of the year fast approaching, here are 19 things I’ve learned so far at 19.

 

1. A hot shower can fix (almost) anything

Alright obviously there are things that showers absolutely cannot fix but after a hard or stressful day, this is how I prefer to wind down. Taking a long, hot shower does absolute wonders for me. It allows me to reflect on my day and think through obstacles that are consuming my mind. I do my absolute my best thinking in the shower so chances are, most of my article ideas started with me shampooing my hair. TMI, sorry.

 

2. Stop trying to fix people

I’m a fixer. I always pride myself on my compassion and empathy yet it always gets the best of me in my relationships. Obviously this is easier said than done, but ultimately the most important thing to remember is you are NEVER going to be able to change someone. That person will only ever change when they are ready and willing to.

 

3. Don’t let anyone dim your light

I wish I knew this sooner. You shine SO bright on your own. Don’t be afraid of radiating that energy. Don’t dim it because of someone else’s insecurity. Know your worth and don’t let anyone dim your light.  

4. Everything happens for a reason

This is such a cliché and I hate it but it’s so true. Every lesson you learn, every choice you make, every hardship you endure – it all leads you down the path you’re supposed to be on. Now I don’t think I believe in fate or destiny, but I’m a firm believer in life happening in the way it does to make you into the person you are now and who you are supposed to be.

 

5. Sometimes people don’t love you the way you need to be loved

It’s really important to understand your needs. I’m a huge advocate of introspection and communicating your needs in any kind of relationship you have. The way someone else needs to be loved and understood can be very different than how you need to. Learning what does and doesn’t work for you and communicating that is key.

 

6. You need red lipstick

Honestly, just own a red lipstick. I rarely ever leave somewhere without it. I’d recommend Rita by NARS – she’s my honey, sorry Taylor. It’s a bottle of liquid, or solid, confidence. A single swipe and you can pretty much take on the world.

 

7. Make the time to take time for yourself

Life is pretty much always completely overwhelming and finding time to sleep and eat is a hassle. But please, please, please take time for yourself. Being mindful and present is so vital to your mental health and a great way to get out of your head. Make a cup of tea, take a walk, read a book, paint your nails – it can be 5 minutes, as long as it’s for you.

 

8. Think about the bigger picture

It is so easy to get caught up in the small things. Failing a test, stressing over a difficult course, missing a deadline – we’re all human and we all struggle. Without diminishing the very real feelings that come with these hardships, always remember to look at the bigger picture. Ask yourself: In the grand scheme of things, how much does this REALLY matter? Putting things into perspective helps me regulate my emotions in a healthy and mindful way.

 

9. My mom is my best friend

I think any mother/daughter relationship has its troubles but it took me eighteen years to really grasp how important my mom is to me. We’ve always had a very honest and open relationship, but it wasn’t until I left for college and was living on my own did I truly value everything she’s done for me. She’s my go-to person for any problem or exciting news I have. She’s my role model and feminist hero. She’s my editor and biggest hype woman. She’s my best friend. Unconditional love is such a powerful and important thing to have from somebody. If you have that from anyone, even if that isn’t in the form of your biological mother, don’t take it for granted and remind that person how special they are to you.

 

10. You don’t need to have everything figured out (even if it feels like you do)

Scrolling through Instagram and Facebook can be daunting at times. Everyone’s highlight reel certainly makes it appear as though their lives are perfectly put together. News flash – they’re probably not, and that’s okay. You don’t have to have everything figured out, it’s pretty much impossible to do anyway. Life throws so many curveballs and if someone claims they have it all figured out, chances are they aren’t prepared for the worst. Take your time to learn and grow and find new and exciting things that make you passionate. Don’t worry about having to figure everything out right away – spontaneity makes life exciting.

 

11. It’s okay not to be okay

This is one of my mantras. Feeling emotions needs to be more normalized than it currently is. Mental health needs to be a bigger priority. Not being okay needs to be okay. Feel all the feels and don’t be apologetic about it. Being emotional is a part of the human experience and neglecting that ideal is neglecting a part of what being human is all about.

 

12. Organize, organize, organize

It is SO easy to get stuck in your own head. I do it all the time. The best way to counteract having everything consume your mind is writing it down. I have a schedule on my phone calendar, my notes, and a physical calendar in my room. Am I neurotic? Maybe. Does it help me? Absolutely. I’m constantly jotting down mental notes so I don’t have to rely on my memory because honestly my attention span can barely last through an average Netflix show.

 

13. Pay attention to the news and get political

Complacency isn’t cool or trendy. Saying “I don’t do politics” or “I’m not political” doesn’t cut it anymore. Get educated and stay educated. Have strong convictions about the society you live in. If you aren’t happy with what is shown on the news then do something about it, don’t just watch. The only way to have a fully functioning democracy is to have an active one – and that starts with us.

 

14. Your relationships DO define you

Who you spend your time with is a reflection of yourself. The people you choose to surround yourself with are a basis of your character and often influence your mental health. With the new year approaching, it’s always healthy for a little introspection into your relationships -- and who is benefitting you and who is not.

 

15. Only you truly know what is best for yourself

I’m a Libra. I’m the most indecisive person you’ll ever meet. I can’t even decide what lipstick to wear most of the time. On a real note, only you know what is right and best for yourself. Don’t lose that gut feeling.

 

16. Always do the extra credit

Does it take more time to do? Yeah but it’s literally worth the extra effort and often times involves attending some kind of cool activity or event. Plus, it never hurts to get on your professor’s good side.

 

17. Create relationships with your professors

Image result for powerpuff girls teacher gif

Speaking of – some of my favorite relationships are with my old professors. Professors are such an incredible resource. Their job is to literally educate and support you. Utilizing office hours or making appointments just to pick their brains is so rewarding. Take advantage of the time you have to get to know them. Creating relationships with them is not only beneficial on a personal level, but a professional level as well. You NEVER know who or what they know. An old professor of mine just opened her own law firm and reached out to me about working on sexual harassment policies. You really never know what incredible and unexpected opportunities may arise!

 

18. Internet friends are just as important as IRL friends

I’d honestly be nothing without my internet friends. Having an online community throughout my teenage years gave me so much love and support from people all around the globe. When I first made an Instagram and Twitter at 13, I constantly sought out communities to be a part of and people to connect with all over the world. Now at 19, I’ve had incredible opportunities from social media like becoming best friends with my favorite band, hanging out with Victoria’s Secret models, walking in New York Fashion Week for a clothing brand, and meeting an internet friend for the first time while visiting a foreign country. Yes, there are people who have been following my journey since I was 13 and some legitimately consider me their little sister/daughter. I’ve provided a wholesome tweet to prove it. Screw anyone who says internet friendships aren’t real friendships (s/o to my Twitter family).

 

19. Take naps

Naps are so underrated. No one sleeps as much as they’re supposed to and finding any time to just rest your mind and forget all responsibilities is a win in my book.

 

Even though I've only been 19 for a few months, I've already learned so much about myself. I can't wait to see what 2019 has in store.

 

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