16 Things I Learned in 2016

  1. Sometimes, it really is better to just let things go. Holding onto grudges and bitterness and baseless hopes just takes up space in our minds and makes us sad. That’s not to say giving up is always the right option, but if it’s not going to happen… it’s not going to happen. And when you hold onto anger towards someone, all it’s doing is hurting you. You deserve better than to be hurt by someone who made you feel that way in the first place.
  2. People will come and go in your life, but every time someone leaves, someone else is about to walk in and make it okay. I truly believe that most things happen for a reason, even if that reason isn’t readily apparent. When you lose someone you care about, it’s just your life making room for the amazing new person or thing that’s about to come into it.
  3. Sometimes a small change can make a huge difference. If you’re stuck somehow, and nothing seems to be working, try changing something else. That change could be the spark to the fire that burns down the wall that’s been in front of you for as long as you can remember.
  4. Appreciate the small joys in life. Experience every moment as it’s happening and bask in the beauty of it. Remind yourself how lucky you are to be there, and just let it happen. Years from now, the memory of that moment will be much sweeter. I promise.
  5. Listen to more music. Seriously. Whenever you can, add a soundtrack to your life. Music has a funny way of making everything better.
  6. Don’t apologize for what you enjoy. Do what you want to and drop anyone who tries to make you feel guilty. As long as you’re not hurting anyone else, you have a right to do whatever you need to in order to experience life to the fullest capacity possible. If that means getting that haircut you’ve always wanted, do it. If that means moving across the country because you’ve been thinking about it for years, then do it. Life is too short to not do what you enjoy just to please others.
  7. Take more selfies, both by yourself and with friends. Ignore people who say it’s vain or pointless, because they’re wrong. In ten years, you’re going to have a collection of pictures that detail you at every stage of your life. You’ll be able to look back to that time you cut your bangs and they took a year to grow back out. You’ll be able to see that selfie you took with your friends at that party, and remember how fun it was. Pictures are a way of preserving our precious memories.
  8. On a related note, take more candid and unposed pictures. Sure, we all love those pictures that look perfect. But they’re fake. You’ll never look at that and remember something amazing, you’ll remember how painstaking it was to get everything just right. Genuine photos will never be perfect and that’s okay. My favorite pictures in the entire world are all blurry and someone is always making a stupid face. But that’s okay, because they’re real. When those pictures were taken, we were all so happy, and it shows – and that’s what I’ll always remember when I look at it.
  9. Never, EVER, make the mistake of forgetting to look in the mirror when you go out somewhere.
  10. Stand up for yourself. While it’s true that letting go of anger is a good thing, letting someone walk all over you is worse. You’re a human being and you deserve to be treated with love and respect.
  11. Family is a privilege, not a right. If a family member consistently treats you like garbage and refuses to stop, you don’t have to acknowledge a relationship to them. Similarly, your best friends are your family. They do just as much for you as your relatives do, sometimes more. Therefore, they’re your family, too.
  12. When someone says they’re there for you, they mean it. Take advantage of that. If you need help, reach out to someone. Your loved ones want to help you, they don’t want you to suffer in silence. They want to help you, I promise.
  13. Listen to those around you. If every single person you know tells you that getting that face tattoo is a bad idea… you might want to listen to them.
  14. A small act of kindness goes a long way. It might be nothing to you, but it could make that person’s entire week. My sophomore year of high school, I was sitting alone at lunch. I was going through some stuff at the time, and I had recently moved, so I didn’t have any friends yet. Out of the blue, this person who was in band with me came up to me and said, “You look kinda sad and you’re sitting alone so…can I give you a hug?” That person went on to be my best friend. When I told them about this, they didn’t really remember it. It wasn’t a big deal to them. But to me, it made my week. The fact that I still remember it shows how much it meant to me. Little acts of kindness can do so much for someone.
  15. If you did something embarassing, but nobody saw it, it didn’t happen.
  16. You’re never alone. There is always at least one person who is willing to help you. Don’t be afraid to reach out to them.

 

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