18 Things I Learned by 18

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Hello! I just turned 18 this Saturday and it’s still surreal to me that I’ve lived EIGHTEEN years.

Every birthday I think to myself “ok Brenda, GET. YOUR. SHIT. TOGETHER.” but I really mean it this time — I’m an adult god damnit! But I truly do feel that the next year will be spectacular: I’m attending NYU, I have a newfound sense of self, and I have a lot of plans for my blog that I’m motivated to manifest.

I wouldn’t necessarily call myself wise as I’ve made some questionable choices in the past, some of which I will not name lol buuuut let’s just say I still don’t know how to be patient, I sometimes struggle with forming coherent sentences, and I make dumb jokes that only I find funny. But like everything else, my life has been a windy path in which I’ve dealt with shit and learned from it so here are the 18 things I’ve learned by 18.

1 – Sometimes friends are temporary

I’ve learned time and time that all friends aren’t always supposed to be with you for your entire life, the friends I thought I would grow old with are the people who were fundamentally unhealthy for me, but that’s okay because it brought me closer to self-discovery. I’ve definitely learned the power of surrounding myself with positive, stimulating people, as I’ve befriended some who’ve brought me to my lowest lows. And while it sucked in the moment, it made me realize that sometimes friends are there to serve a purpose (positive or negative) and once that purpose is fulfilled, you part ways. But then there are the friends who are there to constantly support and uplift you, just reiterating the power of strong, stable, and nontoxic relationships.

2 – Nobody is perfect

It’s not like I had this ignorant view of the world in which everyone was flawless, but I’ve definitely learned that everyone has their flaws and you just have to accept them. I’m a pretty optimistic person, I always have high expectations of people and when people didn’t meet them, I would become irritated and disappointed, but I’ve learned to be patient with the people I love because nobody is perfect, we all have our flaws and that’s fine because they’re what make us human.

3 – The best things are unexpected

If you keep searching for something that may not exist, you won’t find it because you spend so much energy on the hunt, but when you just live your life, focusing on bettering yourself and your ambitions, sometimes the best things pop out of nowhere.

4 – Don’t feed others when you’re hungry

Not that you should totally disregard others’ needs, but it’s definitely really important to address your own, especially if you’re wallowing in a moment of anguish or upset. I went through a phase of situational depression in the winter in which I was constantly giving myself up for other people; maybe I’m just dramatic, but I didn’t fully understand that I deserve to be listened to and not always the listener.

5 – Don’t apologize for things you’re not really sorry for

I feel like it’s a thing for girls to apologize for things that other people do, or just irrelevant things overall like asking another question in class etc. And I noticed that I had this habit of apologizing after asking five questions in class, but why am I even doing that? I really couldn’t care less, yeah, I might be annoying my teacher but I don’t feel any sense of repentance for that so why am I just spewing meaningless apologies?

6 – You can do anything if you really want to

I’m a pretty ambitious and entrepreneurial person, and a part of that is being shot down over and over again. In the past, I would have given up purely out of discouragement but I’ve learned that if you really want to achieve something, you’ve subconsciously started manifesting that goal, you just have to be fundamentally driven to accomplish it so you can follow through the steps needed to do so.

7 – Everything happens for a reason

This doesn’t have to be explained but I can attest to this because IT’S SO TRUE. There are so many things in my life that I’m 100% would not have happened if shit didn’t go down before hand.

8 – Everything works out in the end

If anyone from my school read this they would murder me, but during prom season EVERYONE was freaking out about post-prom and honestly, I felt no sense of stress as I knew it was going to work out in the end, which it did. And obviously this is a stupid example, but unless you’re a bad, bad person who has karma coming for you, you’re life is going to work itself out even if it’s not the way you imagined it would.

9 – Everyone has a story

Sometimes I would look at someone and be like “oh god, not you again, do not test my patience” but I’ve learned that everyone has had their own struggles and that everyone has a story behind who they are today. Don’t judge someone superficially or off of a few conversations because you don’t know them until you know them.

10 – There’s a difference between respect and agreement

Especially with Trump as president, the line between respect and agreement is so blurred you can’t even see it, but with all of the discord his presidency has caused, I’ve learned that you can disagree with someone while still respecting them. No opinion is wrong, that’s why it’s an opinion, so even if you disagree with one’s idea, they still have a reason for it, and that’s, in some way, respectable.

11 – Social media is a highlight reel

You can easily look at a hot girl on Instagram and think “oh my god her life is perfect, she has it all, I wish I was her” you know the drill, but her life really isn’t perfect, she doesn’t have it all, and you don’t wish you were her. People post the highlights of their lives to hide the pain they may feel, it’s simply a way to make others adore you so why would you post the tough parts of your life?

12 – Please be grateful

Some people don’t have clean drinking water or basic healthcare so don’t take things for granted and be grateful you have access to basic amenities and more everyday.

13 – you’re not extraordinary

No one is exempt from morality and whatnot, what even makes you special? I’m not extraordinary, and you aren’t extraordinary, we’re all just people trying to live on this earth and play this weird game of life.

14 – Sometimes, it’s the little things

I have this affinity with hygge, a Danish way of life, which essentially is making your life beautiful in the day to day. I learned that I don’t need to have a crazy night out or a remarkable experience to be happy, but that sometimes the most important life-making moments are when you blast your favorite music with the car windows down, or throw on some purple eyeshadow.

15 – When you have a vision, manifest it.

As I’ve noted before, I’m on a blogging rampage. I currently have a vision for my blog and where I want to take it and make it into a career, and I’m trying my best to manifest that. So don’t be shy of it. I know it would work out overnight, but I’m plucking away and trying my best here because I see what I want and I’m working towards that.

16 – Don’t force anything on yourself

I’ve definitely learned to understand that nothing great comes out of something forced. If you want to do something, don’t push it on yourself, wait for it to come because you won’t create something you genuinely love unless you are wholly immersed in it.

17 – Everyone is human

I’m fundamentally a pretty shy and reserved person so whenever exciting opportunities arise in which I have to meet new people and well, speak, I get kind of anxious. But as I’m thrown into more and more of these situations, I realize that even the coolest people are in fact, human. They’re not these immaculate creatures that you have to measure up to, rather, just be kind and yourself to.

18 -Life isn’t supposed to be 100% incredible

When I was younger, I had this bizarre notion that I was supposed to be high on like 24/7, that I couldn’t be sad, pissed, disappointed, whatever. But as high school has taught me, life is a crazy windy road. No one ever reaches success by taking the rollercoaster uphill, everyone has struggles that they have to endure to reach their goal, and I think that idea applies beyond business and entrepreneurship. Happy people aren’t happy because they never encounter pain and hardships but because they use those experiences to motivate them to keep going.

I’m definitely older, maybe not wiser, but we’re just pretending here so

xx Brenda


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The digital diary of a 18 year old // fashion, beauty, music, and musings... Contact: hello@brendaliang.com

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