17 things I learned in my 17th year

As I turn 18 today and officially become an I adult, I decided to reflect on this past year and write down all that I learned this year. Seventeen was an eventful year for me. I think that it was my best teenage year. I finally had some independence, but also not too much where I was forced to worry about rent and paying bills. It was a great time of exploration of myself and the world around me. Even those these revelations may seem cliche, i finally understood this year what they all truly meant. Also, here is the outfit I am wearing to celebrate my 18th birthday.

  1. Appreciate where you’re at in life

Seventeen was the height of my college search and the time to figure out what I want to do with the rest of my life. So much of this age was spent thinking about what I’ll being doing in my next ages that it overshadowed this time. I came to appreciate where I am at right now in this moment. You get to live every age once, so live each age to it’s fullest. If you live like this, you will live without regrets. As easy as it is to say this, it’s not as easy to live out. I am the type of girl who has a color coded calendar and likes to have everything planned out, so for me it can be tough to just live in the moment.

  1. Cut-out bad relationships and invest in the good ones

This year seemed like everyone had so many friends or the perfect “squad” so I often felt like I had to have a certain number of friends or types, but I really took quality over quantity to heart. I recognized how so many of my relationships were dead ends. It isn’t worth it to put so much effort into relationships that the other person isn’t giving at all. Instead, I focused on the good ones

  1. God has it all planned out

Throughout this past year, I have seen God’s plan for me unfold. I have finally understood why certain aspects happened or did not because they were all in preparation of his plan for me. It is a comfort knowing that he is looking out for me in the next steps I take.

  1. You are in charge of your own decisions

Everyday we make so many choices, so being closer to adulthood I began to make a lot more of my own choices. These decisions are as big as where I want to further my education to deciding whether to have a positive attitude each day. No matter big or small, every choice matters and I am the only one who can make them for myself.

  1. Wear what you want to

This was a big one for me as a 17 year old. Growing up I tended to wear whatever everyone else did, or whatever my mom bought for me. But this year I realized how no one else should dictate what I want to wear. I have found fashion and my style to be a way of expression each day. For me it is wearing fun patterns and bold colors one day and then wearing sweats and a tshirt the next, simply because I feel like it.

  1. Say “yes” to new adventures

Life is filled with so many exciting things and being seventeen helped me to recognize that I just keep getting older so why just stay in my room and watch netflix every night? The best way to have a more exciting life and to live without regret is to jump on board with it fearlessly.

  1. But it’s good to know when to say “no”

This may sound contradictory to my last point, but I believe life is all about balance. It is important to take risks, but these risks won’t be fulfilled properly if you are too overwhelmed by everything else in life. I am a people-pleaser so I always want to agree to do something for someone else, but it is just as important that I take care of myself and allow proper time to the commitments I have already agreed to.

  1. Quit wearing boring shoes

I have always been an accessory gal, but this year I expanded my shoe collection and made an intentional decision to not wear the same simple shoes everyday. While classics and simple styles are nice and necessary for certain looks, there are so many pairs of shoes that are more exciting. One of my absolute favorite purchases I made as a seventeen year old was my pair of watermelon flats. There are something so simple, yet bring me so much joy because everytime I look down at my feet I see watermelons!

  1. Nothing is permanent

This concept helped to keep me grounded this year. When times get tough, it’s important to remember that the bad times don’t last forever. It also helped me value all of the good because things won’t ever be the same way they are right now.

  1. Be involved in the world around you

As a seventeen year old, I realized just how close I was to being an adult. With all of the craziness of 2016, especially with the election, I started to understand how I am a part of this world, so I should be educated about it as well as doing something about it.

  1. Be intentional

This word resonated a lot with me this year because I often find myself just going through the motions. But to be able to live a full life, I think that you must be conscious of everything you do, especially in the way you treat one another. I am working on being intentional in my words, relationships and decisions and I hope that carries on as I become an adult.

  1. There are so many different types of coffee

I am a huge coffee fan, but I usually stick to my mocha or plain iced coffee. So this year I tried to branch out and try new types of coffee from different places. Coffee is low risk also because it is not that expensive, so if you try a new kind and aren’t a fan then you’re only out a few dollars, but if you love it then you’ve got yourself a new pal.

  1. You only have the limits you place on yourself

In my seventeenth year I decided to start “Jill’s Spill” and I was pretty hesitant about it. Mainly because I didn’t know of anyone else my age doing this and I didn’t know how to do it. But I was the only one stopping myself. I am so thankful I recognized this or I wouldn’t be where I am today.

  1. Stop spending time on things you don’t care about or won’t benefit you in the future

In general I try to be a person who does not complain, it doesn’t always work out that way though. But one way I try to work at it is by doing things that bring me joy. If I am happy to do these things then I won’t have much to complain about. Time is valuable and it is a gift, so why waste it on things that are not fun and will not help you in the long run.

  1. There is such a huge variety of music out there

My music taste really expanded this year. I have always loved music, but this year I decided to branch out of my alternative and Top 40 genres. One of my favorite ways to do this was to find cheap records and just buy them. This was so cool because I have found new types I really love and didn’t cost me much at all.

  1. Don’t discredit the simple things

The small joys are really what make life so wonderful. This year I began to appreciate them like, having coffee with a friend, reading a really good book, finishing a series on Netflix, having family dinners and so many more that made seventeen a good age.

  1. Cherish the “lasts” and look forward to the firsts

Seventeen was technically my last year as I child, so it was filled with a lot of nostalgia. It is also contained a lot of planning for what I want to do as an adult. I found that this is balance. As I finish out my senior year, I am living in the last time I’ll go to a school dance and the last times I go to church youth group and appreciating all of the good times I’ve had. I’m also gearing up for the next chapter ahead and getting excited for what’s to come.

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