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Last year, I wrote an article titled, “18 things I learned at 18”, to share some of the lessons I learned during that year. Seeing as today is my 19th birthday (proud to say I just bought my first legal drink!) and looking back at all the things I learned this year, I felt like sharing a few more lessons that I learned during my first year of adulthood. So here are the 19 things I learned at 19!

#1. Don’t let grudges get in your way.

I’m a Scorpio, and if you know anything about that star sign, you’d know that we hold grudges like no one else. However, grudges can really drain your energy. Let it go (or at least try to) and focus on sending good energy out into the universe instead – you’ll be rewarded in the long run. 

#2. Treat yourself. 

I value myself, so I will spend an extra 50 cents on oat milk with my Americano. 

#3. Cherish the moments with family.

During the peak of Covid-19, I was forced into six months of at-home isolation with my family.  Was it rough? Definitely. However, flash forward to now and I hardly see some family members apart from a monthly family dinner or a wave goodbye before heading out the door to class/sports/whatever. When you are given time with them, make sure to appreciate it. 

#4. It’s okay to be basic.

I love my Super Puff, my Lululemon Aligns, and my Blundstone’s. Does every other girl in the Pacific Northwest have some variation of that outfit? Maybe. Do I still love it? Definitely. 

#5. Get a DevaCut.

If you want to live your best curly life, spend the extra money and get your hair done by a certified Devacut stylist. DevaCuts are life-changing!

#6. Embrace your natural beauty.

I love a glam makeup look as much as the next girl, but this year I’ve started cutting back on the heavy makeup for a bit of mascara, blush, and BB cream. I used to use makeup as a way to hide instead of embracing who I am and using it as a way to accentuate that. 

#7. You will have ups-and-downs at school.

I realized that while doing well in school is a good goal to have, sobbing because of a 76% mark on an essay is not healthy. You are learning, and with that comes learning from your mistakes. Take it easy, and realize that you are constantly growing in your educational journey!

#8. Nothing lasts forever.

I remember sitting alone in my room during May of last year, feeling hopeless and counting down the days until school started so I could feel like my life was progressing and that I wasn’t stuck in the same cycle every day. Now, I think back to that time and get a little envious of how much free time I had. Just enjoy where you are, because truly, nothing lasts forever. 

 #9. Get vaccinated! 

If Big Bird can do his part and get the Covid-19 vaccine, so can you. 

#10. Post-Covid travelling will give you a newfound appreciation for new places.

This year, I finally got to leave British Columbia after over a year and a half. I have never appreciated visiting Alberta more in my life. 

#11. You deserve a relationship that makes you happy.

You are never going to change someone’s mind about wanting to be with you. And why would you want to be with someone who doesn’t want to be all in and want something genuine? Don’t cling onto a doomed, fleeting relationship and let someone use you just because you’re scared of being on your own. 

#12. Your opinion matters.

Speaking out about causes that matter to you, protesting, and making your voice heard are all things to be proud of. Stop letting small-minded people belittle the things you believe in. 

#13. Never stay somewhere that is taxing to your mental health.

If you are in a situation that is actively draining you which you can leave, do it. Your mental health matters.

#14. Therapy is okay. 

Even with all the progress that has been made around destigmatizing mental health and therapy, realizing you need extra help can still be scary. I experienced some low points this year that I don’t know how I would’ve handled if I didn’t prioritize my mental wellness through counselling and other wellness practices. 

#15.  Listen to podcasts!

I am obsessed with the “Girls Like Us”, “Art History Babes”, “Anything Goes”, and “Pretty Basic” podcasts as of late. 

#16. You don’t have to be happy all the time.

If you need a day to wallow in despair and listen to The 1975’s music on repeat, do it. Recognize your feelings and emotions instead of pushing them away and forcing a smile. 

#17. Cow milk is gross.

No comment. 

#18. People can’t read your mind.

Communication and honesty are the best. Just tell people how you feel!  

#19. Your dreams are valid, and never let anyone tell you otherwise.

I know this is so corny, but you only have one life. Don’t waste it settling for mediocrity! At the end of the day, it’s your life and you call the shots. 

And with that said, I hope you enjoyed 19 things I learned in 19 years! Imagine me raising a toast with my first legally purchased White Claw. Here is to making my last year as a teenager the best. 

Alison is a second-year student at the University of Victoria pursuing a Bachelor of Arts in English Literature with a minor in Professional Communication. When she isn't planning her next big article or hitting the books, you can find Ali in the dance studio, catching a wave in Tofino, browsing the Aritzia clearance rack, or volunteering at her local youth clinic.
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