18 Things I Learned at 18

I’m turning 19 on Friday, March 2nd. Wow, time really does fly. It feels like my 18th birthday was just yesterday but at the same time, I feel like I’ve been 18 forever.

So much has happened in this year, I’ve learned so much and I also grew so much and I want to share some of the million lessons with you.

1. you do not need to have your life figured out at 18

This is probably the most important thing I’ve learned. I always felt like I had to know exactly what I want to do with my life at 18 but since I had to focus on school and my drivers license and personal things in 2016 and 2017, I had no actual plan of how I’m proceeding with my life after school… and I honestly thought I was the only one.

I’m always torn between planning out my entire life because I just love doing it – I’ve always loved thinking about the future, about what I want to achieve and how I want to achieve it – but also taking each day as it is and don’t plan ahead because another thing I’ve learned is that nothing ever comes as it’s planned, which was also the moral of this story.

When I graduated, I had a plan. I knew I was starting an integrated degree program in September. However, the thought of doing the job I was studying for for the rest of my life scared me. Even though I quit after just one month, I don’t regret starting it because it taught me something very important: that 18 is still such a young age and that it’s okay to take some time to figure out who you are and what you want from life and what you want to do for the rest of your life.

I was the second youngest person in my lecture room, most of them were in their 20s and had already finished their first study or did something completely different before. Some of them even graduated from high school in their 20s which made me realize that I’m still so young even though I always thought I was graduating late with 18. What was I thinking…?

I’m not mad at anyone for making me think I had to have it all figured out at 18 because I think I put the most pressure on me myself because I thought that’s just how it is.
Now I’m so many steps closer to being where I want to be, even though I still don’t know where exactly this is going to be. But that’s what excites me the most about life.

2. trust your intuition

Another very important lesson I’ve learned that affects every aspect of life: your intuition doesn’t lie to you. If your inner voice tells you to stay away from certain people, do it. If your inner voice tells you to take a certain path because it will get you closer to your goals, do it, even if it scares you. I could name a thousand examples but I think you get the point.

Looking back at even just a year ago, I tried to mute that voice when it told me to cut certain people out of my life or to seek certain people’s closure or do certain things because I was told that I’m crazy for having these feelings and thoughts that even I thought I was crazy. Looking back at how wrong they were and how right that tiny voice inside of me was still brings tears to my eyes to this day.

However, that was a lesson that needed to be learned and it was actually the best thing that could ever happen to me because it’s so much better to lose toxic people than to lose the trust in your intuition. And… oh man… ever since then, me and my intuition are closer than ever and my life is better than ever.

3. you can never read enough books

18 was the year in my life I rediscovered the importance of books. I love reading inspirational & motivational books about life which make you want to be a better person. I started with The Things You Can See Only When You Slow Down by Haemin Sunim and I soaked his words up like crazy. I have so many books like this on my wishlist and I cannot wait to read them all!

4. feelings & thoughts are impermanent

This is something I’ve learned from Haemin Sunim in the chapter “When You’re Feeling Low” and it changed the way I experience my thoughts and emotions. I’m someone who likes to focus on the bright side of things and who tries to stay optimistic, however, I do get bad thoughts sometimes and I always tried to suppress them because I thought that would be the best way to maintain a positive attitude but that only worked for so long until I realized that it actually didn’t make me feel better at all.
Thanks to him I realized that the best way to cope with bad energy is being aware of it but also being aware of the fact that it is impermanent. You’ll only feel bad for so long and you’ll only have bad thoughts for so long but thanks to their impermanent nature they’ll disappear by themselves as long as you’re not holding on to them. And ever since then, I lived more peacefully than ever.

5. Family is the most important

Not that I didn’t know this before but especially in this year of my life I felt so grateful to have such a loving family that would walk through fire for me and I really value this.

6. there is nothing wrong with treating yourself

To a spa day, a face or hair mask, new workout clothes, a new haircut, anything. You deserve it.

7. give love to everyone

This doesn’t mean to give everyone the full love you give to your partner but treat everyone well and make them believe in the good in people. Let no one ever come to you without leaving you happier.

8. you don’t have to live up to anyone’s expectations but your own

9. eat clean

Not that I ate bad before but this year I really interiorized the importance of a clean and healthy diet. Do it, your body will thank you for it.

10. procrastination will get you nowhere

11. staying in your comfort zone will get you nowhere

12. there is always enough time if you set your priorities straight

13. drinking a lot of water solves so many problems

14. if a workout is easy, it won’t be effective

15. Self-love isn’t selfish

In fact, it is the best gift you can give to yourself.

16. traveling is amazing, traveling with your loved ones even more

17. where there’s a will there’s a way

18. tell your loved ones you love them whenever you can

Though I’m still 18 as of right now, I’m so excited for the next year and my life as a 19-year-old already and I’m so ready for new adventures, new people, and new life lessons.


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