8 things that I have learnt in my (nearly) 18 years of existence

So, for everyone who doesn't know - I turn 18 tomorrow (!!!!). Whilst I would be lying if I said I wasn't utterly terrified by the fact that I will be an ADULT, I am also sort of (kind of, VERY) excited. Birthday's aren't particularly my favourite thing in the world to celebrate, as with any other holiday/celebration etc etc, yet this one is different. Looking back at last year, my birthday was something that I just wanted to ignore - for the day to pass by quickly and minimal effort be made. Yet this year, this year it's all different. I'm not going to lie and pretend that there's not an extreme sense of sadness present in this day, but there's also such a huge level of giddiness and joy too (I CAN FINALLY BUY ALCOHOL!!!) So, I thought to mark the occasion I would share with you '8 things that I have learnt in my (nearly) 18 years of existence'.

1) Surround yourself with positive people
I honestly do not think I can stress this one enough. The people you surround yourself with are the people who are going to have the biggest impact on many aspects of your life - and toxic people will have more of an affect that you originally think. If you constantly have someone who is pushing all their, this is so cringey but bear with, 'negative energy' onto you, then it will 1500349491049% change you into a predominantly negative person too. However that’s not to say that you can’t be there for your friends - there’s a difference between helping someone deal with their problems and someone pushing their problems onto you. Of course, everyone has their bad days and we wouldn’t be human if they didn’t exist, but sometimes there is a point when you have to walk off and distance yourself, sometimes only for a little while. 

2) Do what makes you happy, regardless of what other people think
Again, this is one that I feel very strongly about. In this day and age, everyone believes that they need to have an opinion on just about e v e r y t h i n g - and if they can’t find something to talk about, then they will talk about you. If you’re doing something different and out of the ordinary, then there will most likely be people who feel the need to discuss it - but to that I say; LET THEM! Give them something to talk about, because if your name is in their mouth then it means you’ve made an impact, and most of the time they will be admiring you for it.

3) Enjoy your own company, rather than be afraid of it
This is something that has taken a while to combat. For a very very very long time, I never used to like doing anything by myself. I would always much prefer to be surrounded by a group of people, than be left alone - and when I was alone I would find it quite distressing. In all honesty, and this is deep and philosophical, but I didn’t know who I was - and being left alone made me feel like I was in the company of a stranger. That all truly does seem like an eternity ago now - as, at this current moment in time, I find great comfort in being by myself - admittedly, I do make myself laugh more than anyone else I know (sorry Georgina! you’re a close second xx) and my favourite time of day is when I am just sat in my room by myself doing whatever the hell I want to do. 

4) Life is too short to be unhappy
I feel like this one is something that is so much easier said than done. I know how easy it is to get into a mindset where you feel like you will never be happy again, and once you reach that point it’s honestly is difficult to come out from that place. Sometimes it does seem like the world is against you, and doing everything in it’s power to test you - but all you can do is fight back. I make sure that I laugh every single day, regardless of how impossible that seems at that particular moment in time. I also make sure that I do at least one thing a day that I know will make me happy - even if that’s just sending a funny Snapchat or watching a video (ahem, videos) of Benedict Cumberbatch. Because, at the end of the day, even though it seems like school or getting good grades is the most important thing in the entire world - it truly isn’t. No one’s going to remember you for getting amazing grades, or for being in the top set - they’re going to remember you for being the person you are. (yikes, that was motivational!)

5) Do things that scare you
Whilst I used to fear change or new beginnings, I am now infatuated with them. I love the adrenaline rush you get from gathering enough courage to do something impulsive and unlike anything you have ever done before. The greatest things truly do come from taking risks, and however cringey or cliche that sounds - it’s the truth. I live by the philosophy that ‘In the end, we always regret the chances we didn’t take’ and have accepted that we can only change once we start to begin to take chances. However, with this comes to acceptance of failure. Sometimes you do things, or you pursue something and it doesn’t work - and that is okay! Not everything is always going to work out, and whilst it may seem like the end of the world at the time - by the same time next year it is guaranteed that you will have forgotten about it. After all, we first have to fail in order to succeed. 

6) Realise your capability
It’s so incredibly easy to dumb yourself down, and not believe in your abilities - trust me, I know. Pretty much every single one of my school reports state that I need to believe in my own potential, yet regardless of how many times I have been told that - it doesn't make a difference! However, I am a lot better than I used to be ; I guess that’s all a part of growing up. Whilst I have long accepted that I won’t always be the best - I will never be the top of the class, or the girl who gets full marks - it no longer matters to me as much as it used to. Academic ability isn’t the be all and end all, and I think it’s massively important to realise that. This all stems to comparing yourself to others, and whilst it seems virtually impossible not to do that, you just have to realise that you’re being unfair to yourself. Compare yourself to YOU - are you reaching your full potential or doing the task at hand to the best of your ability? If the answers are yes, then that is truly all that matters. 

7) Don’t change yourself to suit others
In a world that often seems so fake and commercialised, it is becoming increasingly harder to stay true to yourself. It seems as if everyone’s playing this giant game of ‘lets pretend’ and there’s becoming a distortion of what’s real and what’s not - thus leading to false expectations. All I can say to this is that, at the end of the day, all you can be is yourself - regardless of whether that seems like enough or not - I promise you it is. At the end of the day, you're own opinion of yourself surpasses everyone else's - and if you're happy with who you are, then that is all that matters!

8) Live each day like it’s your last

HOW CLICHE?! BUT HOW TRUE!? The truth is, nothing is certain in this world - and whilst I’ve spent months being so afraid of that, it’s not going to change anything. Throughout all the hard times, and believe me - there’s more than you could ever imagine - I have battled through it with the mindset that I can either spend the rest of my life being consumed by the masses of grief and heartbreak, or I can instead focus on everything that I still have - rather than what I have lost. I’m not going to sit here and pretend like there’s not days that I can’t seem to get out of bed, or where I can’t even string together a sentence without choking up - but it is always in these moments when I realise how lucky I am to have the people in my life that I do. So, to that I say - surround yourself with the best people, let yourself be immersed in happiness and do something every single day which you know will have a positive outcome. It’s easy to be wary of the future, to feel like you need to have a plan - but the best thing I ever did was learnt to take each day as it comes, focusing instead on each separate piece of the puzzle as opposed to the big picture at the end. 

Thank you so much for reading!

Grace x


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