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They say age is just a number, but is it really just that? As you grow older every year, it is certain that you learn a little bit more. You learn to go your own way, to find your own path and leave your legacy. You are molded to grow from your weaknesses and recognize your strengths. If you really think about it, every year you grow older, the learning curve has simply expanded, and helped you become the person you are today.

Turning 19 years old is the stepping stone to adulthood. Childhood becomes a memory, and those pre-teen years where you wished so hard for something that may never come true, leave you with laughter or embarrassment! Nineteen maybe the forgotten milestone; but it is the end of one era and the beginning of another.

Halfway through my 19th year, it is alarming to realize how much life has taught me. I’m definitely no philosopher and I have barely put my life together, but the experiences and hardships I was put through have truly defined at least a fragment of my being. So, here, out in the open, are 19 epiphanies that helped me look at life without those rose colored glasses I once sorely depended on.
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1. Everything must end at some point of time. Nothing lasts forever and we need to condition our minds accordingly and savor every single fleeting moment, so that even when things change, and when nothing seems right, those memories will prove to be our saving grace. Bidding farewell to school life, leaving those four walls that ensured nothing but safety and going your separate ways bears testimony to the impermanence of everything around us. However, look at the bright side! When one door closes, another opens.

2. In the words of Peyton Sawyer, “People always leave”. This is something that will help you, either make or break you. You’ll realize that people will enter your life like a bright ray of sunshine and leave when they see fit. Never let this reevaluate your self-worth, because you’ll be pleasantly surprised to see that there are a few rare gems that have been by your side all along, even when you strayed. Treasure these people and hold onto them.

3. Your circle may decrease in size, but it will increase in value. Let go of the toxic relationships that are holding you back and devote your time and attention to the ones who are the epitomes of good vibes and positivity.

4. At 19, fresh out of school, you’ll feel like you can take on the world. However, little do you know that when you leave one life of studying, you’ll enter yet another LIFE of studying. Welcome to the real world, where knowledge is power!

5. Nineteen is when you realize that false hopes do not bring happiness and it is when you decide to leave your comfort zone and depend less on people who didn’t care for a moment to even say goodbye.

6. This is the age when you become conscious of your immature beliefs in people and your lack of judgment. However, this is also the age when you can make up your mind to correct those mistaken beliefs and ideals, and start anew.

7. When you’ve got the right people around you, let their love envelope you. They care for you when they see you pretending like everything is alright. Struggles are a part of everyone’s lives, so let them in no matter how insignificant you think your problem maybe!

8. Turning 19 taught me to recognize my strengths and passions, even though I may not still be fully aware of what I want to do with my life. Pursue your leisure and create a happy place for yourself so you can sit back and relax when the rat race of life is too overwhelming.

9. Family is everything. Don’t build walls that cannot be broken down. Cherish every moment with your parents, your sisters and brothers. Relish in your grandparent’s stories, and just spend time with them. They love you more than you will ever know, and with them beside you – you are NEVER truly alone.

10. If you’re passionate about something, fuel that fire. Let that spark burn brighter. Reach inside yourself and you will find your purpose. Let this determine your path. Your decisions might just mold the rest of your life; so think carefully and go with your instinct. Nobody knows you better than yourself.

11. Just like nothing lasts forever, the past is the past and there is a reason why we leave it behind. Forget about the unpleasant situations you went through. There’s nothing that can be done. Someone very close to me once said, ‘let bygones be bygones’ and I now realize how true her words were.
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12. Life is not something that you can barely get through, and plan the same for the next day. Learn something new every day. Revel in the way the sun rises and sets. Take each day and treat it like a new beginning. You’re so young; you have your whole life ahead of you!

13. The society we live in is very judgmental and harsh. No matter what we do or say, someone will always point a finger and critique us. In such situations, try not to lose yourself. Just take a breath, and never let unkind words wound your soul. You are stronger than that.

14. Gaining self-respect was one of the toughest things I’ve ever had to inculcate. If you don’t believe in yourself, and value yourself, who will? Never let anyone tell you that you are less of a human simply because you don’t have something. Fight for yourself.

15. Some of us are quiet; some of us cannot go through the day without speaking out our mind. Well, this is for the quiet ones, the ones like me. Speak up and don’t be afraid to say what’s on your mind. Say what you need to say, and don’t let fear choke you.

16. Nineteen prepares you to take that step into the adult world. You will make your own choices, and you will decide on what’s best for you. You’re on your own, so make it worth the while.

17. We are all flawed, yet we are all beautiful. Have confidence in yourself and know your potential. Don’t give too much thought into your imperfections. Pride yourself on the fact that you are unique, and never let anyone tell you otherwise.

18. When you turn 19, yes you’ll feel older, wiser and stronger. While all of this is good, remember: Others should never define you. The ones who know you and love you for who you are will offer good advice. Take it, and grow.

And finally,

19. Never apologize for your feelings, for how you look or for who you want to be. You have every right to be you. Hold your head up high, and conduct yourself with dignity and grace. What others think of you is none of your business. So, stay elegant no matter what happens, and the people that don’t matter in your life will just fall to the wayside.