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18 Things You Should Learn by the Time You Turn 18

18 Things You Should Learn by the Time You Turn 18

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    By the time you turn 18 you realize that there is little you can do to predict or control a) bad weather and b) bad hair days. Here are 17 other things you’ll probably have realized by the time the 18th year of your life comes around. My 18th birthday is one month away and here are some of the things I have learned along the way…

    1. You realize that a smile is indeed a very powerful and contagious infection and that all of us benefit from catching it every now and then. By the end of 17, you’re thinking, if no one else wants to start this amazing virtuous circle of smiling that brightens up everyone’s day- too bad for them- I will begin, with my smile. (Even if you didn’t think about this by 17, you got it now. Smile!)

    2. You’ve realized by now that your favorite childhood novels, movies and music are forever going to be your fairy godmother and fond-memory-bank occupants. (How can I ever forget Harry Potter and Ned’s Declassified School Survival Guide?)

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    3. I’ll-pretend-like-I-don’t-know-you is a real phenomenon. People you said “Hi” to and who spoke so happily to you only yesterday may ignore your today like you’re a total stranger. In that case, 18 years of wisdom says, wave more to them more crazily and say a louder, ‘Hi!’, until they can’t pretend any longer to be straight-up strangers. (If they still want to ignore you, they’re just missing out on your awesomeness.)

    4. By 18 you realize that life is really, really short and unfortunately people you care about actually do die. This just gives you a million more reasons to say ‘I love you’ whenever and however you can. It is important to take on the practice of saying ‘Thank you’ for every moment you breathe and every second that you are able to love and live in this world.

    5. By the time you turn 18 you realize how important it is for you to turn 18 because you’re (more than mildly) frustrated with all the consent forms that you have to beg and plead your parents to sign before you’re permitted to do practically anything with your life.

    6. Heartbreak has happened, and sadly, will happen. But there’s nothing that a mint chocolate chip cookie ice-cream can’t fix right? (Wrong. By 18 you have to digest that there are some things that neither pralines nor mint chocolate chip can fix.) But then not everything in life needs be fixed, its okay that some things are imperfect. Leave the unfixable pieces behind, and move on.

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    7. By now you have realized that humans aren’t as smart as we like to think. Though science and religion give us many explanations, neither legendary geniuses nor anyone else have been able to answer the actually important and totally confounding questions that dictate the world around us. These questions include: What happens after death? Why are we here? Why is there evil in the world? By now we’ve figured out how most adults handle these defeating questions: by pretending they don’t exist. Now comes our own turn to decide how we’re going to handle them.

    8. If turning 18 (like me) and STILL haven’t gone out on a real date (like me) you might slightly despair (like me). Well, you’ll also realize you shouldn’t. By 18, you realize that 18 is not the end of the world (hopefully); you got your whole life ahead of you, for more awesomeness, for true love, and for everything else.

    9. If you want to feel loved, you’ve got to first believe that you are worthy of love and happiness. And by 18, you should have realized: You are worthy!

    10. It is tiring and totally not worth it to pretend to be someone you’re not. By the time you turn 18 you realize that life is hard, and sometimes intimidating, but if you just be yourself, you can handle it so much better and more easily. (Then of course,  “just being yourself” does take a lot of courage)

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    11. Reaching out for help can be a difficult thing, but it isn’t wrong, and man, it does help tremendously. By 18, you might begin to realize that vulnerability is actually a beautiful thing and there’s nothing wrong in feeling insecure. You can make some of the best connections with others by reaching out for help when you need it.

    12. By 18 you realize that success need not be just measured through the common standards of fame, money, power and popularity. You realize that there’s more to life, like enjoyment, like screaming at the top of your lungs in an open ground at 4 am, like baking cookies for a midnight breakfast, like speaking to your absolutely cute crush for the first time, like laughing awkwardly with your best friends. All of this counts as success too!

    13. By 18 you understand that your drawbacks, awkwardness, and insecurities are completely normal and that everyone feels the same way. These characteristics make you the uniquely amazing person you are. You learn to embrace both your light and dark and be equally proud of them both. (Or at least try to begin on that incredible journey of self-love).

    14. You are kind of missing your childhood, slightly apprehensive about taking the responsibilities of an adult, and sort of nostalgic about end of school days. Remember all the days spent learning to ride the bike and playing teacher to imaginary students? (Well, I still play imaginary teacher…but that would be for another article)

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    15. You know by now that there are some mean people in the world, or some who love bathing in negativity and pulling you down in that unproductive spiral of gossip and sulking. Of course these are fundamentally amazing people, so try to show them light if you can. If the task defeats you, shake off the cynicism and import your own sunshine into the world. That’s the simple recipe to make life happier for everyone.

    16. You’ve realized that nobody ain’t goin’ anywhere if they are not ready to work hard. The odds of a person winning a lottery is pretty close to zero and by 18 you know how challenging yet totally possible it is to reach your dreams. Seventeen years of Earth has taught you life is no easy business; till now your parents may have sweated it out so that you could live well and now its your turn to take to the hard work and live all your dreams.

    17. And finally, through all this accumulated wisdom, you might realize how difficult it is to practically implement things we know too well in theory and in our thoughts. What sounds great in theory is tough to gain the courage or wisdom to get going…from asking someone out to starting a small online business, taking the first step can sometimes be the most difficult.

    But that’s the real challenge of life, right? To act on the wisdom and thoughts whose implementation terrifies us… or at least to try.

    Featured photo credit: just1snap via flickr.com

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    Last Updated on May 15, 2019

    How to Tap Into the Power of Positivity

    How to Tap Into the Power of Positivity

    As it appears, the human mind is not capable of not thinking, at least on the subconscious level. Our mind is always occupied by thoughts, whether we want to or not, and they influence our every action.

    “Happiness cannot come from without, it comes from within.” – Helen Keller

    When we are still children, our thoughts seem to be purely positive. Have you ever been around a 4-year old who doesn’t like a painting he or she drew? I haven’t. Instead, I see glee, exciting and pride in children’s eyes. But as the years go by, we clutter our mind with doubts, fears and self-deprecating thoughts.

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    Just imagine then how much we limit ourselves in every aspect of our lives if we give negative thoughts too much power! We’ll never go after that job we’ve always wanted because our nay-saying thoughts make us doubt our abilities. We’ll never ask that person we like out on a date because we always think we’re not good enough.

    We’ll never risk quitting our job in order to pursue the life and the work of our dreams because we can’t get over our mental barrier that insists we’re too weak, too unimportant and too dumb. We’ll never lose those pounds that risk our health because we believe we’re not capable of pushing our limits. We’ll never be able to fully see our inner potential because we simply don’t dare to question the voices in our head.

    But enough is enough! It’s time to stop these limiting beliefs and come to a place of sanity, love and excitement about life, work and ourselves.

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    So…how exactly are we to achieve that?

    It’s not as hard as it may seem; you just have to practice, practice, practice. Here are a few ideas on how you can get started.

    1. Learn to substitute every negative thought with a positive one.

    Every time a negative thought crawls into your mind, replace it with a positive thought. It’s just like someone writes a phrase you don’t like on a blackboard and then you get up, erase it and write something much more to your liking.

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    2. See the positive side of every situation, even when you are surrounded by pure negativity.

    This one is a bit harder to put into practice, which does not mean it’s impossible.

    You can find positivity in everything by mentally holding on to something positive, whether this be family, friends, your faith, nature, someone’s sparkling eyes or whatever other glimmer of beauty. If you seek it, you will find it.

    3. At least once a day, take a moment and think of 5 things you are grateful for.

    This will lighten your mood and give you some perspective of what is really important in life and how many blessings surround you already.

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    4. Change the mental images you allow to enter your mind.

    How you see yourself and your surroundings make a huge difference to your thinking. It is like watching a DVD that saddens and frustrates you, completely pulling you down. Eject that old DVD, throw it away and insert a new, better, more hopeful one instead.

    So, instead of dwelling on dark, negative thoughts, consciously build and focus on positive, light and colorful images, thoughts and situations in your mind a few times a day.

    If you are persistent and keep on working on yourself, your mind will automatically reject its negative thoughts and welcome the positive ones.

    And remember: You are (or will become) what you think you are. This is reason enough to be proactive about whatever is going on in your head.

    Featured photo credit: Kyaw Tun via unsplash.com

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