In case you’ve been living under a rock for the past 2 weeks, it was my 18th birthday recently. I mean how could you not know, I’ve literally dragged it out for about a month. (Whoops.)
Everyone keeps asking me the inevitable question: “how does it feel to be 18?” And I’ll be honest, it doesn’t feel much different. I do feel like I’m growing intellectually more so every day (apparently it comes with age). I feel as though the gap between 16 and 18 is a big one, and I’ve become so enriched with knowledge and love in the past 2 years.
So here’s a few things I learned at 17:
1. Your friends play the biggest role in your life
I’ve been in a relationship since I was only 15 years old, this means that I maybe didn’t value friendship as much as I would have if I were single. When I was 17, I made the most incredible group of friends and I’m so much happier for it. I used to have a big group of friends who provided next to no quality in my life; I decided to start choosing quality in friends over quantity and I’ve never been happier. Having a best friend always helps too, I never like to share personal thoughts with people, but I rant and rave to my best friend and I feel so much lighter for it. (A problem shared is a problem halved, so they say.)
2. Start putting others before yourself, to be selfless is an empowering thing
To be there for others and to help them is honestly so much more empowering than simply helping yourself. It has a circular effect; making other people happy in turn makes you happy too. Start helping others, be it strangers, your family or your neighbours. You will feel so much more positive and wholesome, I promise.
3. Surround yourself with positive people
Your vibe affects your tribe.
It is honestly so true that you become the people you surround yourself with. Honestly, when I’m surrounded by negative people, I find it SO draining. I’m a super positive person and being around someone who is negative about the world in general can be so difficult. I know it isn’t as simple as cutting negative people out of your life, but meet new people, spend less time with the negative people already present in your life.
4. Listen to others more
The main reason for getting into debates with people is simply miscommunication. If you feel as though people aren’t listening to you, then listen to them. Sometimes people just want you to empathise with them and understand where you’re coming from. If anger and spite can be avoided, then do so.
5. Call your family, they probably miss you
This one I really learned at 17; becoming busy 24/7 pretty much meant that I was neglecting my family. Not just my immediate family, but my family in general, I became too busy to turn up to family events, or to pop in as often as I’d maybe like. This was unfair on the people around me; if you can’t find the time to pop in then that’s okay, but give them a call. Let them know you’re thinking of them and missing them. They’ll appreciate it.
6. Give 10x more than you take
At Christmas time, 2017, this became pretty prevalent in my life, I get spoilt rotten so it’s pretty hard to give back 10x more, but I like to give it a good go. Giving to a charity such as the Giving Tree is always one that makes me feel happy to give to. Sometimes we forget about others during different seasons, and it’s nice to give back when you receive so much!
7. Involve yourself with political issues, learn about the economy you’re going to grow up
Not only at 17, but since I was about 13 I began to care about political issues. I became slightly obsessive around the age of 14/15, which wasn’t exactly a bad thing. I love knowing how my future will pan out in terms of the countries welfare and who’s in power. It’s important to be aware.
8. Perseverance is key
I’m very much so a person that if I set a goal for myself, I want it now. I want immediate gratification or else I struggle to strive for the stars. Strictly speaking, I’m pretty ambitious and I always strive for the best, but sometimes it can be demotivating to see others reach goals you can only dream of when you feel you’re working just as hard. The truth is, you really might not be working as hard as you could be; persevere, keep going at it. Eventually you’ll get there, it just takes time. Besides, quitting isn’t going to help you reach your goal quicker.
9. Support others with their goals, help them reach them
This is really important to me; although you need to focus on yourself and becoming the person you need to be, you also need to listen to other peoples goals. If you know your friend wants to become something, help them, motivate them, suggest ideas. Pushing other people only helps with the ideology of you become who you surround yourself with.
10. Make hundreds of plans, you’re only young once
In the summer of 2017, I did so much. This has honestly created the best foundation of life for me becoming a young adult. I’ve experienced so much, I’ve done so many things I wanted to do. This year, I hope I do so much more. I want to travel more and spend more time with my friends simply being young. I know I will never, ever grow old and say “I wish I could have done more.”
11. Indulge in as much food as your bank account will allow
Since I turned 17, it feels as though all I’ve done is eat and I’m definitely not complaining. I love love love going out for food and just having a good quality meal, with good quality people. When I’m older I can reflect and say “I used to live my best life and eat out as much as I liked.”
12. Learn to be alone
This was such a valuable lesson that I learnt at 17; before I turned 17 I was always surrounded by people and the only time I was alone was when I slept. Now I’m alone more often than not and I love it. Don’t get me wrong, I’d much rather be out and about than sat at home on my own, but a large sum of my life means I have to be alone. When I’m at work, I work alone and sometimes don’t see one colleague all day. I drive to different venues sometimes as far as an hour and a half each way, and I just sit in my car and listen to my music; who knew being alone could be so fun and peaceful. I also have to commute to London on my own. Had I not of learnt to be on my own, I wouldn’t be in such a successful job as I am and nor would I commute to London every week.
13. Think about the bigger picture
When you’re lacking motivation and feel as though your hard work is getting you nowhere, just think about where you really wanna end up in life. For me, I picture a minimum of 6 holidays a year, a yacht and a penthouse. Sounds far fetched I know, but honestly how else are you going to stay motivated if you have nothing to work towards?
14. Spend time with your younger siblings, they learn a lot from you
When I spend time with my younger sisters, as much as they can get on my last nerve (especially when I’m hungover) I realise just how important it is to spend quality time with them. Both of them mirror a lot of things that I do, and I think that speaks volumes. Teach your younger siblings to be kind and courteous, but to look after themselves and to not take rubbish from others.
15. Reach for something that people tell you you can’t have
Hands down the most empowering thing for me, is when someone tells me “you wont do it” or “you’re not going to achieve it”. Because bet your bottom dollar I will 100% achieve it and then some. Criticism from others is a reflection of themselves and their own lack of self esteem, remember that.
16. Take more pictures
There are many adults that will complain and moan about Millennials and Generation Z taking too many selfies and posting too much of their lives on social media, but all of the pictures you take are valuable memories. Now that’s not to say live the moment through your camera, live in the moment and take a snapshot just to remember it. A picture speaks a thousand words and keeping memories is better than having none.
17. Read, Read, Read
Most importantly, knowledge is power. I’ve always been a bookworm and when I was younger I loved reading so much that I would secretly go under the covers with a torchlight after my Mum had put me to bed to finish a chapter (or sometimes the whole book.) At 17 though, I really realised the power in reading; I have been called a know it all many a time, but knowing more really does make you a better asset in general.
Thank you so much for reading and I hoped you loved this little insight into my wild thought process!
Lots of love,