If you didn’t know, which I would guess most of you wouldn’t, I’m turning 17 on Saturday! Instead of celebrating at home, I’ll be in D.C. with my high school’s literary club. We’re going to see The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night Time at the Kennedy Center and walk around one of Smithsonians. The play looks phenomenal, so even though I’ll miss hanging out the family, it’s an opportunity I don’t want to miss. Plus I love the members of my club; we are all super nerdy and obsessed with literature. My kinda people.
Seventeen feels a little daunting. With college on the horizon, I feel like a crap ton of growth is happening all at once. It’s overwhelming, but it’s good too. My pastor shared a quote on Sunday from John Newton that sums up exactly how I’m feeling as I welcome in another year of life.
“I am not what I ought to be, I am not what I want to be, I am not what I hope to be in another world; but still I am not what I once used to be, and by the grace of God I am what I am”–John Newton
At this point, I still have so much to learn, but as a way to reflect on my past 17 years, I wanted to share a few of the lessons I’ve learned so far, in no particular order.
1. Making long lasting friends takes…well…a long time. Those relationships take careful cultivation. You can’t just dump on Miracle Grow and expect an instant, healthy friendship.
2. Along with that, having a small circle of friends is nothing to be shamed of. For my introverted self, it’s much more fulfilling to have just a few people who mean a lot to me, than dozens who mean very little.
3. Senior year is one of the most stressful years I’ve ever experienced, but I’ve been told that it only gets harder from here. *sarcastic yay*
4. Try things you don’t think you’ll like. Sometimes you’re right, but other times you end up with a new hobby.
5. People are flawed and hurtful, but you have the power to show intense kindness. Plus we’re all flawed and sometimes hurtful too…sooo it’s a good reminder to be gracious.
6. Middle school is a time of life virtually NO ONE wants to relive. End of story.
7. You’re unique. That’s really cool. Don’t be so quick to embrace conformity.
8. Read more. It’s one of most powerful tools for learning.
9. Challenges are hard. That’s why they’re called challenges, but you can either embrace them and grow, or become bitter and stagnant.
10. Being vulnerable is perfectly okay. That includes crying in front of random people.
11. That being said, crying is okay. Never be ashamed of tears.
12. Slow down and listen when other people are talking, even irritating people. Everyone deserves a voice.
13. When you eat food with other people, take time to be grateful for fellowship and the blessing of nourishing food. Also, eat more chocolate. And peanut butter. They taste like comfort. Trust me.
14. When you’re struggling with something, talk it out with a friend, a family member, a teacher. As hard as that initial willingness to open up can be, it is always worth it.
15. Be more spontaneous gosh darn it. Still working on this one…
16. Failure is inevitable. Learning from that failure is a choice.
17. Don’t worry about the future. Still working on this one too.
Bye loves ❤
So tell me…
What’s one thing you’ve learned in your (fill in the blank) years of life?