19 Things I Learned Before Turning 19

By: Kiarra Swaby

With my 19th birthday fast approaching, I have begun to reflect on everything I’ve experienced throughout my life. To some, turning 19 is nothing but a number, yet people fail to realize the many life lessons that have already passed in a short amount of time. Since this is my last year as a teenager, I have come up with a list of 19 things I learned before turning 19. 


1. Appreciate what you have

Often we take advantage of the things we have until they are gone. Immediate regret kicks in, but by then it is too late. Cherish the things you have in life, no matter how big or small they may be.


2. It is okay to treat yourself sometimes 

Treat yourself every so often. Take some time out of every month to spend a day alone, buy something nice for yourself, or do something you like to do! The energy you give out to others needs to also be turned inwards. 


3. Growing up isn’t as fun as it seems 

remember how excited I was to be an adult, that is until I became a teenager and realized all my new responsibilities. From working a part-time job to paying bills, this lesson has given me an appreciation for the hard work adults face each day. 


4. Take risks

If we remain scared of taking chances, we could miss opportunities that will further us in the future. Not every risk will have a positive outcome but the ones that fail can also teach you valuable lessons. Take as many risks as you can along the way; one may end up being life-changing. 


5. Live YOUR life 

The reason I emphasize “your” is because people feel the need to abide by the rules of others and society. However, tomorrow is never guaranteed and we truly only have one shot at life. So instead of wasting your life attempting to please others, live your life the way you want it to be. 


6. It’s okay to not be okay 

I am always trying to hide my feelings by focusing my attention on other people. I learned hiding how you feel will only cause a build-up within. Remember we are human and a part of being human is dealing with the emotions, thoughts, and feelings that arise on our good and bad days. 


7. '5 by 5' rule

I came across the ‘5 by 5’ rule a few months ago on social media. The principle is if it’s not going to matter in five years, do not spend more than five minutes upset by it. This rule explains that small issues are not worth getting upset over since they are simply irrelevant. The creator of the ‘5 by 5’ rule remains unknown but the rule is said to make people happier when followed.


8. Surround yourself with those that bring out the best in you 

There will be people in your life whose intentions are to drag you down. They will want you to invest your time into their problems but will not reciprocate the action. It is important to surround yourself among people who accept you and want nothing more than to see you succeed. 


9. Push yourself once in a while 

From new opportunities to meeting new people, you will be surprised how much can arise from a simple push. The slightest push can also open your eyes and show you that you are worth more than you think. 


10. We all have a purpose 

I truly believe we were all put on this planet for a reason. We may never know if our purpose is big or small and why we were picked to be here but at the end of the day everything happens for a reason and we are lucky enough to get to experience life.


11. Accepting rejection 

I know I am a perfectionist so making even the slightest mistake is upsetting. However, in order to learn and grow mistakes need to be made. Instead of always looking at rejection as failure,  begin to use it as fuel to do better going forward. 


12. Time really does fly 

From eating KFC after kindergarten on Tuesday afternoons to starting my second year at university, it has finally dawned on me how fast life is moving. If you notice you are overlooking the little things happening in your life, begin to appreciate them before they become another memory. 


13. Love is not like the movies

I guarantee your first love will not be your only love. You are going to experience heartbreak throughout your teenage years but just know you’re young with many more relationships to go through.


14. People come and go 

Many believe they are going to remain best friends with everyone in their lives. Although that may be true, friendships and relationships do not always last. Allow yourself to be heartbroken when this happens but remember life goes on without them and many more people will cross your path.


15. Your lowest points are your turning points

Sometimes the only way life can go is upward.  After taking time to dwell on your hard moments, begin to use it as motivation to get your life back in order and come out of that situation a whole new you. 


16. Be open-minded 

This point is not meant to degrade anyone’s values or beliefs. To be open-minded means being honest during the times you are wrong. Listening to other people’s opinions could open a new wave of thoughts, possibly changing your perspective on beliefs you had before. 


17. Do not compare yourself to others 

There is no proper way to live life. If you feel others are ahead of you, it is because they have received opportunities before you. Go at your own pace and do not rush what is meant to be. Everyone will have their moment eventually. 


18. Don’t lose sight of your goals 

When things begin to get tough, people often give up. Remind yourself you came up with these goals because at one point you believed you were capable of reaching them. Nothing is impossible. One day the odds will be on your side allowing you to accomplish it. 


19. Don’t forget where you came from 

You would not be the person you are today without your family. As mentioned above, we can not please everyone, so certainly, there have been times you have not seen eye-to-eye.  However, your family shapes a big part of who you are, no matter if they are or are not a part of your life. Always remember, you would not be who you are today without them.