17 Things I've Learned In 17 Years| Don't Do Drugs (and other priceless gems of advice. ur welcome)

Well hello there, friend. I am turning 17 today, as some of you may have gathered from the title. Wow. I wish I wasn't writing this post because I am lowkey devastated that I'm getting that old. Despite my denial at becoming another year older, I have compiled 17 pieces of my knowledge (just for you. You're welcome).

I would like to clarify that I haven't learned ONLY 17 things in the past 17 years. I know many things. Come to me for sage wisdom, like:

- how to make the perfect cup of tea.
- where the Big Dipper is.
- how to rap (like a white girl, yes, but STILL)
- the art of bookshelf jenga


17 Things I've Learned In 17 Years

1. Stop worrying so much.
I know anxiety is a real thing, so I'm not talking about actual mental health issues. I'm talking about the kind of worrying that everyone does: worrying about a mistake you made, or what you should have said, or shouldn't have said, or didn't get done, etc.
I used to worry a lot, in all the everyday, fretful ways. I learned how to let go of things because, as the kids say these days, YOLO.

2. Follow your passion.
When I say follow your passion, I don't mean ignore responsibilities. And when I say responsibilities, I mean real responsibilities, not "I have to post on Instagram every Wednesday." You really don't, that's not a real responsibility (but you do have to feed your kids. that's a real responsibility)
Don't let what others say or think get in the way of pursuing your dreams. That's the cheesiest line I think I've ever written, but it's true. I almost let others get in the way of me pursuing my deepest and dearest passion: writing. I almost let it become a hobby because others would tell me I wouldn't ever make money. And maybe I won't! Maybe I will be poor and living in my parent's basement for the rest of my life (and they don't even have a basement. That's how poor I'll be), but I'll be in that basement, utterly happy with my life.

3. Try everything at least once.
not like...drugs tho. just say no to drugs, kids. or smoking. smoking kills. (this PSA has been brought to you by An Odd Blog. stay safe) You know what? Use your best judgement on this one. 
I grew up as a timid person who would back down at the first pang of fear. Now, if I feel a pang of fear, in my mind, I have to do it. I won't back down. (again, this is not an "eat expired sushi" situation, but rather "cliff jumping") This is one of the reasons that I consider myself a fearless person. I got over my fear of public speaking by reading a paper I wrote to a whole room of people. I got over my fear of heights by jumping off a 100 foot tall platform (with a bungee attached, of course). I got over my fear of the dark by...you guessed it, standing alone in a pitch-black cave. Try foods you think would be gross. Try wearing a different style of clothing. Try new music, new hair, try everything because you don't know if you'll live long enough to get the chance again. (wow that got dark. it was all "try new things! live life to the fullest!" and then "DEATH." dial it back Evangeline.)

4. Treat yo self. 
Within reason. Please do not buy a jet if you are paying off student loans. 
Not just buying yourself stuff, but like, if you're stressed or something, be kind to yourself, have a bubble bath, a cup of tea, take a breather, go to bed early. Just take care of you, and check in on your physical, mental, and emotional state often. Treat yo self (by drinking water!!! plz drink more water. I know you're dehydrated)!

5. Forgive and learn. 
And when I say forgive, I don't mean say-you-forgive-them-but-secretly-harbor-a-grudge-that-will-fester-and-grow-for-the-rest-of-your-life. Forgive easily, but don't forget easily. Learn how to treat others when they make mistakes based on how you would want to be treated. I know this is a really simple thing to learn because basically everyone is told this from birth, but it isn't something that is put into practise commonly.

6. Don't judge others. 
Again, I know this one seems kind of obvious, but giving others the benefit of the doubt, giving them room to grow, loving people enough to let them make their own mistakes is one of the hardest things to do. Everyone needs understanding over judgement. This one ties into the previous point. We are all human, and at the core of humanity is a need to be loved. No matter how many issues someone might have, they need to know that they are loved, and in this case, that will come through feeling accepted.

Honesty is something that I am very passionate about, and will talk for 6.5 hours on.
It is not something to be thrown around or misunderstood. Honesty does not equal cruelty, nor is it an excuse to be mean and then say "I'm just being honest." No you're not. Go home, no one wants you and your trash opinions. (lol just a sec ago I was talking about love and not judging. oops) 
I used to keep my feelings all bottled up inside me, and since I am a very emotional person, having all that swirling around internally was no bueno. Honesty is scary, but it gets easier until you can't imagine not sharing how you're really feeling in the moment. I've gone so far as to ask a friend (that I'd known for a while) if they actually liked me or if they were just being nice. It was silly and out of insecurity, but afterwards, it wasn't swirling around anymore, hovering in the back of my mind. Honesty, man.

8. Compliment everyone.
 The more you compliment people, the more you see that everyone is great and pretty and sweet.

9. Life goes on. 
No matter how big things feel, or how heartbreaking or final or forever things feel, time goes on and feelings fade, and the world turns. Death hurts, but the pain will settle. Failing a test feels life-ruining, but you won't remember it when you're older.

10. There's always more work to do. 
There is always going to be something that you have to do, or a project you need to get to, or more hours you can get at work. There will never be a point where you finally finish your To-Do list and can finally live your life, so you have to choose and set aside work to live life.

11. Money isn't everything.
Again, there is always going to be more money to make. We live in a society that idolizes money, and yes, it has its place and value, but it is not our life pursuit. It's really sad to see people living their lives for money, and not what they were meant for.

12. People don't actually care that much about you.
I know this sounds really harsh, but if you say something silly, people really aren't going to care. Wear sweatpants everywhere! No one will care. You live your life how you want it (within reason) and don't worry about others' judgements because, again, people really don't care that much about you. You do you, boo boo. You'll be much happier for it.

This was my attempt to live #aesthetic. lol good try
13. There is no such thing as perfect. 
In an age of Instagram, Pinterest, and #sotumblr, people are praised on achieving the ideal aesthetic that makes their life look carefree and wonderful. No matter how #aesthetic someone's life looks, it isn't really like that. Again, I know this is a very simple concept that we have all heard over and over again, but I still hear people scrolling through their preferred social media, commenting on how sad their life is in comparison to so-and-so. Living your life for aesthetics, for impressing other people (or even yourself), is a quick way to lose sight of your purpose, and where your actual value comes from.

14. Don't forget the good, and don't exaggerate the bad.
Humans like to take memories and fit them into what they're feeling in the moment. My only fear right now is forgetting a second of the past. I know someone who took their past and decided that everything that happened to them was horrible and was to blame for who they had become. Alternatively, I'm sure that there are people who only look at the good, forgetting the gravity or importance of situations. I have learned how to take my memories just as they were, good or bad, because it's all important.

15. Lean into family. 
Not necessarily just related family, but people who you connect with on a heart level. Hold onto them. We were all meant for connection and companionship. Even if your family is scattered across the world, distance doesn't mean a thing when you've established a solid foundation. Don't be all alone.

16. No one actually knows what they are doing. 
Actually. Everyone learns through experience, and there is no end to how much experience you can have, so no one will ever fully know what they're doing, no matter how intimidating or good they seem. At my job, I talk to a lot of people about taxes and W-2s and 8879s (which most of you will have no idea what that means. Neither did I, until I learned through experience).I think it's hilarious that when I'm at work, I sound like I know what I'm talking about with my business casual clothing and my answers to financial questions, but as soon as the client walks back out the door, I slouch and eat M&Ms out of a coffee cup.

17. Getting older is a part of life. 
Don't panic. You'll be fine. To be honest, I never thought I'd get older than 12, yet here I am: in college with a part-time job, pursuing a career as an author. I know that this panic at getting older will be a yearly thing, but I'm okay with that. I am happy with who I am, but I don't want to forget who I've been, and all the experiences and memories that have been the stepping stones to where I stand now.

From this eyebrowless potato...

...to this slightly larger, still eyebrowless potato.
Ultimately: I am excited for my future, and I don't want things to always stay the same, not really. But it does feel like things have gone really fast. Everything has happened in a blink of an eye, and I understand older people a whole lot better now. I never understood when adults would say "I was a kid once too." because I thought that being an adult meant thinking about your childhood from the Grown Up Brain, from behind the barrier that kept children from sneaking into "adulthood". Now I know that there is no line that separates adulthood from childhood. I'll become an adult before I know it (and probably feel like the term doesn't apply because I haven't crossed a barrier of some sort). That's just the way life goes.

How do you feel about getting older? What's something you've learned? 18 & older: Do you feel like a proper adult? 




    I want to comment on all these pieces of advice (because yes), but I don't quite have the energy/time right now so I want to at least leave this little comment in case I don't come back to leave a longer comment (whiiiiich is what I usually do because I guess I'm the worst).

    But . . . For real, YES. Yes. Preach, sister.

    And, again, HAPPY BIRTHDAY!!! It's a privilege to know you and count you a friend. :) <3

    1. THANK YOU!!!!! <333

      lol I can relate. YOU TAKE AL THE REST/TIME YOU NEED.

      Aw, thank you so much! You're so sweet, and I am very blessed to have such wonderful people around me. <3 :)

  2. This post is amazing. Tbh I'm pretty nervous about getting older too (and you're about a year older than me) so learning that things really don't fall apart is a good encouragement. Thanks <3

    1. Thank you! It will for sure be fine, but that doesn't mean that it feels any less scary or foreign. We're all figuring it out. <3

  3. OH MY GOODNESS, YOU'RE SO CUTE. These are good wisdoms. Happy birthday a day in advance ;) <3

    1. THANK YOU!!! It's weird that I was ever that little. XD Thank you. <3

  4. Happy late birthday!! Lovely post <3 I enjoyed reading about things you've learnt till now. Some time ago I wrote a similar post on my blog - "Things I've learnt in 15 years" and it gave me a lot of joy. I'm sure writing this post made you feel great too :) Keep learning new things everyday cause every day brings something good to us!

    1. Thank you! It was very nice to write this out and think about all that I really believe and have learned. :)

  5. AWW HAPPY BIRTHDAY!! *sends all the cake to you on your 17th celebration of LIFE* Congrats for getting passed 12 too. That's a good feat and I am very proud of you. Also I love a lot of things on your list! I avoid trying new things because I hiss at them instead (hmm apparently I am still a child) but like being kind and giving compliments and not fretting about things you can't control and realising everyone is fAKING BEING A GOOD ADULT?! It's so good to remember! We are all good fakes together!! More cake for us all! 😂Anyway I hope you had a most magnificent day !!!

    1. THANK YOU!!! And I mean, each to their own, right? If you don't want to try new things, then you hide under a blanket and watch Brooklyn-99. YOU DO YOU!! XD

      It actually was a wonderful birthday. One to write down for sure.

  6. Happy birthday!!

    I loved each of your pieces of advice, but especially the one about no one knowing what they're doing. So true.

    Also, teach me your white girl rapping ways!! Like, I can't even rap one bit (despite it being 87% of what I listen to), I'd settle for even white girl rapping.

    1. Thanks!

      Aw, I'm glad. And it's so funny how I used to think everyone had it together except me. Turns out no one does. XD

      lol I should set up a Masterclass for white girl rapping.

  7. Happy belated Birthday!
    This is an excellent list. There's something oddly comforting about #16.
    (You went bungee jumping? Truly?)

    1. Thanks!
      Haha, yeah I did. It was one of the hardest things ever to step off of the ledge into nothing, but I did it!

  8. Happy late birthday, Evangeline!!!! And....wait. You're 17, and you feel OLD???? DUDE. YOU ARE JUST A SMOL CHILD. A TINY SAPLING. JUST A SPROUT. YOU KNOW WHY WE STAY UP IN THIS--wait no, what am I doing.

    Seriously, though. Take it from someone who is a whopping TWO YEARS OLDER THAN YOU -- you are so so young. I am jealous. XD

    And...um...I guess I qualify for the 18 and older crowd?? But like...*whispers* I still feel like a very smol child???? I'm literally a toddler in teenager's clothing. It's bizarre.

    And ALSO. Your life advice is like....so perfect. I absolutely love each and every bit of it. You are so wise beyond your years, I can't even.....

    1. Thank you! I know, I know, I'm still a smol CHILD, but I FEEL LIKE A GRANDMOTHER.

      lol I thought the 18 & older crowd would still feel the same because age is an illusion and WE'RE ALL CHILDREN.

      Aw, thank you! You're so sweet.

  9. Oh my gosh you are actually so smol! <--okay maybe saying 'smol' doesn't suit me but whatever.

    Belated birthday wishes!

    You're actually the same age as my younger sister. Fun fact, haha.

    This advice was really good. I'm especially bad with the grudges thing because whenever I leave my house and get on the bus, there are always people harassing me. And I know there are no excuses being Christian and all. What they sow, they will reap eventually if they don't change. But I guess people still reap bad things even when they change.

    Also I hope you publish a book as soon as you're ready! I'll be waiting to buy it and gobble it after because what else do you do with books? Read them? Pfft.

    1. lol I'm like...a 12 yr old. XD

      Thank you! I had a wonderful birthday. And I hope your sister is having as great of a 17th year as I am.

      Aw, thank you. And I can definitely relate to holding grudges. Why do you think it was on my list??? I learned it the hard way lol.

      Oh my goodness, I hope so too. As soon as its published, I'll just throw it at you!!!

  10. It's really true. No one knows what they are doing . We may act like it but that's only because we are taught we must act like it!! Loved this post . pretty sure I've been on your blog before but it's been a while . Hello again and happy birthday

    1. Right? It's funny how we are taught to pretend to have everything together, instead of just being honest about where everyone is at. Hello again, and thanks for the birthday wishes!!


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