Today, April 21st, I'm celebrating my 17th birthday! I'm not doing much to have a huge party but I'll still be celebrating with my family. Over the last 17 years I've learned a lot as a teen and kid. Most of my life I've had it pretty hard but I know everyone has difficult times at some points in their life! I think most people view me as a lot more mature than most teenagers. I've been through a lot and experienced a lot as a 17 year old but that's what makes me who I am today. A lot of people seem to be interested in my positive attitude and why I act the way I do. It honestly all has do do with my life experiences and these 5 important things I've learned over the last 17 years.
Things never come easy: It's easy to say but it's true. Everything in life takes effort and if things are just given to you then that's not really living at all. Life is full of twists and turns, unexpected events that may throw you off course from what you truly want. But that's part of life. Learning to accept and adapt to these things is what makes you truly happy! Getting diagnosed with Celiac Disease and all this other stuff wasn't in my plans as I grow up. I'm sure you weren't expecting to deal with all this either. But when you get through these things and learn to live with them, that's how you truly feel happy in the end.
Time, effort, and dedication is all you need to succeed: The fear of failing is what stops most people from following their dreams. For people to succeed you usually have to fail first and learn from them. Most people go through years of struggle when wanting to achieve something big in their life. I remember 2 years ago when I first started my blog I was only getting about 50 views a day. I questioned if I should give up at some points because I thought, "who's actually reading this?" I didn't let that stop me though. I stuck to what I was passionate about and stuck to what I believed in. Sure it was hard at times but here I am 2 years later, connected with some of the most amazing people I've ever met and writing for thousands of you as a teen.
The best things in life aren't things at all: My whole life I've always been very grateful for the things I have. There were a lot of points where I didn't have much things at all but I was still grateful. My mom had me at age 18 which made life really hard at times. The things we went through and experienced together helped me realize the best things in life aren't things at all. The feelings you get for helping someone out or the feelings you experience when being with friends and family you love. Those are the best things in the world. Sure having actual belongings is nice, but my girlfriend, friends, and family are all something I would take over things any day. I didn't really feel grateful for the possessions I had until I hardly had any possessions at all. There's a lot more in life to be grateful for than just things. Friends, family, and loved ones are things that will always conquer over possessions.
Be thankful for the little things and take nothing for granted: Most teenagers are probably known for not caring about anything or going about life without much thought to others. Some may be like that but I know I'm definitely not. At age 13 I was told that I would of had only 3 months to live. I was already a pretty thankful and generous person before, but since then that really changed me. I've learned to be thankful for the little things in life. To be thankful that I can still walk and talk to my friends every day. To be thankful for my family and all the amazing people around me in my life who love me. I think it's so important to just sit back every once in a while and take a look at your life. To truly look at where you are and the people you are surrounded by. These people around you aren't obligated to be there for you. They don't have to support you or be there by your side. But they do it for you...they do it because they care and I think that's something that's very special that should be appreciated. Doing simple things like smiling, giving sincere "thank you's", or just small acts every once in a while can go a long way to show appreciation to those who have always been there by your side.
You can't love life until you love and accept yourself: There are a lot of people that get upset with their life and the circumstances they are in. No ones life is perfect and I'm sure there is some aspect of your life that you wish was better. Being 13 years old when I first got diagnosed with all my illnesses made my life suck. I could no longer play sports, go to school, and I had many of my friends leave me. It was a really hard time for me but the one thing I started to realize was that I was only making this hard on myself. I know I'm only 17 years old but one thing I know is that you can't love life until you love yourself first. It's easier said then done but I had to realize and accept that I can't change the fact I have these illnesses. I knew it was going to be hard but if I continued to have a negative attitude about myself I would continue to have a negative life as well. If you can be happy about the positive things you have in your life then you will have a happy life. But if you get down and think your life is spiraling out of control when anything bad happens, then of course you'll never be happy. Being truly happy with your life takes being truly happy with yourself first. Everything that's happened in your life, good or bad, has made you who you are today. Be happy and accept yourself first. After you do that, only good things will follow. :)
I hope this was inspiring to some of you and I hope you enjoy all I have to share over my next year of being 17!