My 18th Year (What I've Learned)
As I’m typing this on the eve of my 19th birthday, I can’t help but reflect on the last year of my life. For as long as I can remember, birthdays have been a bittersweet occasion for me. As I’m quite sentimental, leaving one age behind and stepping into a new year of life has always felt equal parts nerve-wracking and exciting. Much like the beginning of the new year, there’s a silent pressure to make the most of this next year. Maybe THIS will be the year that everything changes. Maybe this year, I’ll achieve my lofty goals. Maybe this year, I’ll get to live the life I’ve always imagined. The list goes on.
To preface, I want to thank you all for being a part of my last year. Whether it’s a comment on here, a DM on Instagram, a text, a Snapchat, OR (if you know me in person) a nice hangout, you’ve helped make this last year of my life one of the best. I’m hardly ever someone who declares anything as my favorite or “the best,” but this year was a good one. For that reason, I want to document some of my favorite moments from my 18th year of life, the ones that helped me to learn and grow the most. Here’s to an even better 19th year and every year succeeding this one.
I started this blog
I put this one first because I believe that it is the root of what’s to follow. Had it not been for this platform, I would not have had the opportunity to grow in the ways that I have in the last year. Blogging has allowed me to develop my voice on the internet as well as in my everyday life. It’s given me a purpose, but more importantly, has allowed me to better understand who I want to be in the world. I believe that at any given moment, we have the opportunity to change the course of our lives. This has changed mine.
I watched the solar eclipse
As silly as this one might sound, the solar eclipse will be one of those things I look back on fondly for the simple fact that it brought everyone together. For just a moment, we were allowed to forget our responsibilities to be in awe of such a spectacular event. We felt small, but we also felt more connected for just a few minutes. A gentle reminder of the fact that we are all bound together by a much larger force than ourselves.
I went to the Women’s Convention
Last October, I had the privilege of attending the inaugural Women’s Convention in downtown Detroit. Contrary to the beliefs of some, the Women’s Convention was so much more than a bunch of angry liberals gathering in a convention hall to trash the president (though, there was a fair amount of shade thrown). Rather, it was a celebration of life, and an opportunity to gain a new perspective on the country in which we live. More than anything, that weekend taught me that my liberation is bound to the liberation of every individual on this planet. Our connection to one another is rooted in our willingness to fight with and for our brothers and sisters, no matter who they are or where they come from.
I learned to consciously practice the Law of Attraction
The weird part about the Law of Attraction is that we all practice it, regardless of whether or not we know about it. To put it simply, LOA is an exchange of energy. The thoughts that you put out come back to you, tenfold. When I began studying LOA and began putting it into use, I was able to attract the things that I wanted into my life without having to do anything but sit and wait for the situations to present themselves to me. As I’ve been practicing, it has been getting easier to attract certain things into my life, which has improved every aspect of it.
I started college
This was a big one for me. Needless to say, the transition to college was quite difficult for me. Any sort of change tends to be hard on me, but I found this one to be particularly difficult. Like most people, I went to college without knowing hardly anyone there. Coming from a school where I had a friend to talk to at any given time, it was weird to not have anyone most of the time. Although I enjoy my alone time, I felt pretty isolated for most of the year. Since I still lived at home, there were fewer opportunities to make friends, which caused me to spend most of my time in class, or at home studying or completing assignments. I’ve always been the nerd who’s hunkered down on the weekends getting stuff done, but I truly outdid myself with my nerdy ways last year. This last academic year has taught me the importance of having balance in my life.
I went dairy free (...for 2 weeks)
I actually did a blog post about this here (LINK) if you want to learn more about how I found the experience, and some tips for other dairy free people as well :)
I gave up sugar and flour for 3 months
Yes, you read that correctly. I gave up all processed sugars and all flour for 3 whole months of my life. I actually look back on those months quite fondly. The thing about eating healthy is that you need to have a positive mindset about it. I wanted to challenge myself in regards to my diet, so each day that I stuck to my plan felt like a reward. It taught me to read the labels on the food that I was eating, which caused me to realize how much sugar I was actually consuming per day without even realizing. The biggest lesson in all of this was to be more conscious of what I was putting in my body and to respect my body to the fullest.
I traveled alone for the first time to visit my friend in Chicago
I also did a post on this, click here (LINK) to read it. This was a big one for me. Since I have anxiety, traveling alone was a huge fear of mine. Traveling alone on the train to Chicago was a huge milestone for me, even if it sounds like a teeny tiny accomplishment to some. It was worth every panicky moment leading up to the trip.
I read self-help books
I really started getting into self-improvement last fall. I think it’s because I was forced to spend so much time alone that I started noticing things about myself that I didn’t like. Some of my favorites were The Untethered Soul by Michael Singer, and The Book of Joy (I did a blog post on that too, click here (HERE). This is turning into one giant self-promo, haha).
I booked a trip to London
This was also a huge milestone for me. For years, I had a jar in my room that I called my travel jar where I would stick babysitting money, birthday money, and any extra cash that I made throughout the years. Slowly but surely, I was able to collect enough money to book a trip to London with one of my best friends. This is the first time I’m going on a big trip without a real adult (as in adults that actually know what they’re doing, not me, a clueless teenager bobbing along in life), so I’m slightly nervous. However, the nerves will never overshadow my excitement for this trip.
I traveled to The Grand Canyon, Mt. Zion, & Las Vegas
The Grand Canyon has been a staple on my bucket list since I was young. I remember watching nature documentaries with my family and getting excited at the prospect of getting to see it in person someday. Of course, it didn’t disappoint. What I didn’t expect is how much I’d enjoy the other leg of our trip in Mt. Zion, Utah. We stayed in a little town quite literally in the middle of Zion Canyon that felt completely immersed in the natural environment. Las Vegas is another story. I appreciate Vegas, but I don’t feel the need to go back anytime soon. I think I’m too mellow for Vegas. Trips like this remind me that despite the negativity in this country, the scenery is pretty spectacular. It allows me to see the nation in which I live from a lens of gratitude, which is always a good thing.
In essence, I’ve learned more about myself in the last year than any given year before. I think the best years come when we least expect it. When we’re in the trenches of life, trying to dodge the bullets. Metaphorically speaking, this blog has been my bulletproof vest. I am so fortunate to be here on this platform sharing my words with you. Thank you for your kindness. Thank you for your compassion. Thank you for somehow caring about any of this. Of course, I will be taking you all along with me throughout my 19th year. I have a good feeling about this one. See you soon, friends <3