SIXTEEN by Alexandra Rain (17)
A list of what I learned in the year of being sixteen.
1 – Feel the fear and do it anyways
It is easy to dismiss doing something due to fear but if I’ve learned anything from this past year of my life, it’s that you have to delete the fear button and do it anyways. No matter how terrified you might be, do it. Jump right into the deep in, the results are always great.
2 – Fate favors the bold
She who dares, wins. There is a certain kind of excitement that comes with living fearlessly. Be daring and courageous. It is undeniable to me that fate truly does favor the bold. So, be bold.
3 – When you’re out and about with others, put your phone away
I feel like a parent saying this but it’s true. If you’re in the presence of another human being, trying to carry out a conversation, put your phone away. There is a real life to be lead outside of the screen but it will never be able to be lived if your phone is constantly in your hand. Put it away.
4 – Don’t hesitate
Not hesitating doesn’t mean not being thoughtful or careful, it means instead to go with your instincts. Refusing to hesitate is the denial of procrastinating and the acceptance of productivity. It is easy to become lost in the, “I’ll do it tomorrow.” There will always be a “tomorrow” or a later time but what actually matters is the right now. Everything you do now is for your future. Think about that. Really, just go for it and don’t overthink. (Are you noticing a theme here?)
5 – It’s okay to spend time by yourself
For a very long time, I felt this pressure to always be out with other people. I felt it was necessary to always hang out with a large group of people and socialize constantly. There is nothing wrong with this, the trouble was I never spent anytime with myself. During all of this, I wasn’t really myself because I didn’t really know who I was. I was a jumble of other people’s thoughts and words rather than my own. I cannot encourage this enough: spend time with yourself. Take care of yourself and learn about yourself. It’s one of the greatest things you can do.
6 – Believe in yourself
Nothing you want to achieve can be accomplished unless you believe in yourself. I don’t know how many times I can say it – you must believe in yourself. No matter how extreme or how crazy your dream is, there needs to be an undeniable faith in yourself. How will you achieve what you want if you’re unsure or think you’re undeserving of it? Nothing is ever given to anyone who has their hands in their pocket. Believe in yourself, believe in yourself, believe in yourself!
7 – Don’t let anyone put a roof over your sky
It is easy to conform to other’s ideas of what you can and cannot do. The truth is, no one can stop you from doing anything except yourself. It’s you, all you. I mean, really, at the end of the day, it’s what it comes down to. Don’t give into any limits that have been set by you. Shoot for the moon and beyond, even if you fail you’ll land among the stars.
8 – Accept
Drop any preconceived ideas of how it should be and just let it be. Be accepting of your life, of yourself, of others. It won’t always be like you imagined and it will rarely ever be picture perfect but it will just be. That is the real beauty of it all, the way our lives all exist. Once you find a way to accept, you will have some peace of mind.
9 – Trust in the process
Sixteen years later and I’m still learning how to be patient with the process. I remind myself constantly: no grit, no pearl. It is in the labor of defeat that something great comes about. Gaining success is hardly ever a straight, narrow path. It is rather a path of twists and turns and up’s and down’s. Success has never been, at least for me, immediate. It is a process but you just have to trust in it. Keep trying and continue to grow.
10 – No matter how mean the world gets, never run out of sweetness
Even when the world is cold, there needs to be an approach that is kind and warm. Speak and act kindly. It is a simple truth, one that probably doesn’t need to be stretched out or over exaggerated. Just be kind.
11 – Take time
How often do we rush? I’m sure we’ve all finished things just for the sake of getting them done. However, there is a beauty with taking time. Don’t rush to say the next thing before really listening to what someone has to say. Be in the moment, be present. Take time to notice the people who, out of billions, happen to be in your life. Listen to them, learn from them. Take time to notice your surroundings. Out of all of the places in the world, you are where you are for some great reason. Take time to be aware of it.
12 – Appreciate
Gratitude is the key to a happy life. So often do we think, “Once I get this, then I’ll be happy” or “Once I look this way, then I’ll be happy.” But the truth is, unless you are happy with what you have/who you are right now – you won’t be happy whenever you gain the next material thing. Appreciate! Appreciate everything you have in this moment and the person you have become to be! Appreciate the fact that the sun continues to rise and set every single day. Appreciate the fact that we live on a planet that can sustain human life and somehow we are lucky enough to see the stars in the sky. Appreciate the large and smaller things.
13 – Never dismiss a challenge
I once had a teacher who said this to me and it has stuck with me ever since. If it’s difficult for you, good. If you’re frustrated and feel defeated, push through. You’re in a place where you can grow and become something better than you were before. Again – no grit, no pearl.
14 – Know what you want
This is the key to achieving anything. Set goals and actually stick with them. Knowing what you wants will fulfill your life with a purpose and something you can chase after. Be clear in your dreams and have a vision.
15 – Believe there is good in the world
I’ll say it again: believe there is good in the world. Search for the greater good of the world. If you can’t find any, create your own. Be the good in the world.
16 – No grit, no pearl
I’ve repeated this again and again but I feel as though I need to say it a final time. No grit, no pearl. It is inevitable that hardships will be experienced. There will be days where it feels like nothing is going right and you just feel dumb. It feels like you’re making the same mistakes over and over and like you’ve seven steps back from where you previously once were. This feeling isn’t encouraged but it’s going to visit every now and then. It all becomes a battle of opposition. You need those kinds of feelings in order to have the wonderful “life is a dream” type of moods. I don’t know how many times I can emphasize that moments of defeat create champions and create a better person so long as you endure. No grit, no pearl.