The day I turned 16, I received a birthday greeting from a cousin of mine who said that yea, 16 is great and all, but 17 is where the real stuff starts to happen. They were right. Today, I have officially entered into my 18th year, and after a whole year of being 17, it’s safe to say I learned quite a bit.
So, just as my school makes students show off what they learned all year for the annual Open Day, consider this my personal Open Day where I’m going to tell you exactly what this past year has taught me.
- Relationships and anything adjacent can be total blehhh. The emotions! The drama! The trying to be cute 99% of the time! It’s all so tiring and I am getting a headache at the thought of it. Was I in a relationship at 17? No, but I like to think I was pretty close at certain times. However, my friends were and as their friend, I picked up on a few things. And like I said earlier, headache. Plus I can barely remember to talk to my best friends and parents everyday and somehow I’m supposed to add one more to the ones I already have to keep up with? HEADACHE. But on a serious note, relationships at 17, in my opinion, they’re meant to be the time where it’s a hit and miss trial run (unless you’re not like me, and have been skilled in the art that is “dating” since you were 15, then congrats, compared to me you’re an overachiever). Anyway, 17 taught me that relationships are the primary source of stress and headaches, right after school, but that’s mainly cause you’re still trying to figure out yourself, as well as someone else.
- Moving on is difficult, but necessary. No one said that life was going to be easy breezy. Thus, the things you need to do, tend to be the hardest things to do. Building a bridge and getting over whatever is happening is the best thing you can do, because if you stick around too long, you’ll end up upset, alone, bitter and just plain stressed & that’s not cute. Like I said in The Pursuit of Happiness, you can’t pursue anything if you’re just standing in one spot! And you sure can’t be happy if you let the past weigh you down & anyone who’s main focus is to remind you about times where you weren’t at your greatest, they don’t need to be in your life because all they’re doing is being poisonous to progress.
- Having a close set of friends who you can tell everything to is important. I’m pretty lucky that I have 5 of them and even though we’re pretty far apart in distance, (two of them live in England, one lives in Canada and luckily, I still have two in school with me) I can message them at any hour and they will come to my rescue with death threats for anyone who did anything wrong for me and that is hilarious. Having a group of people you can totally trust is the best because it reminds you that you’re not going through this alone and that you don’t have to. It took about…17 years for me to find this combination of people who offer me so many different things, but all have the common factor of being a shoulder when I’m ready to cry (which I rarely do) and who are also not afraid to tell me what’s on their minds. But the best part of them all is that in the same breath of being upset, they can make me die of laughter and that is why I consider them some of my greatest blessings.
- Not every action warrants a huge reaction. I’ve got a little saying that goes, “if it isn’t affecting me getting a job or getting into university then it isn’t an issue I need to put energy into.” For my 17th year, this has been my mantra & it’s honestly helped me so much. My main goal at the moment is be able to go to the university of my choice. Now, simply put, anything that isn’t hindering my mental growth & well-being is a very small factor in my opinion. I’ve learned that even when people are shouting at you, that doesn’t mean you have to respond & that the best thing you can do for yourself is stay focused.
- Being yourself is the most rewarding thing. I like to believe that my stress levels drastically dropped the day I realised that being myself was a pretty cool gig. 17 taught me to be comfortable with myself, which in turn has spiked up my levels of happiness and confidence. Being myself helped me to find my place in the world, which in actuality is multiple places…which brings me to my grand conclusion.
I’m someone who loves to make people laugh & loves to be loud, however, I get extremely nervous in front of crowds and have this horrendous habit of trembling when on stage. I’m also someone who gets very excited at the sight of vegetarian pizza or even a black bean burger, but still manages to have steak and eggs as my favourite food.
Point is, I’m multiple contradictions in one body, we all are. It doesn’t make sense, but it works & 17 has taught me to embrace it all. Embrace the mistakes, my friends & most importantly, embrace myself.
So, Happy 18th Birthday to myself & Happy Hump Day to you.
Peace, love & happiness
the pink cheebra