The Year of Pulling up my Big Girl Pants

At the beginning of last year I didn’t know where life was about to take me. I didn’t know which college I was going to enroll in the next coming fall. I didn’t know I would be accepting one of the highest honors in front of a thousand of my fellow peers. I didn’t know I would soon be calling Chicago my second home with three great roommates. I didn’t know what 2014 had planned for me, but even through the ups and the downs and the many scary changes, it was a very great year. I graduated, went to prom, won awards for my writing and photography, moved into an apartment, became a college freshman, started as an intern for an amazing company, and mostly, met people who taught me some very important life lessons. It was the year that finally forced me to pull up my big girl pants and face the world. So here I am, 19-year-old me, still single, living in a big city trying to find myself and becoming who I want to be. I don’t know what 2015 has planned for me yet, but these are the 25 things I wish I knew starting last year. Hopefully they’ll help me survive 2015. (One can only hope!)

  • Talk less and observe more.

  • People come and go. Some are cigarette breaks, others are forest fires. They will all have something different to teach you.

  • Everything is temporary: emotions, thoughts, people. Do not become attached, just go with the flow of it all.

  • Read books, stay up to date on current events, and surround yourself with people who do the same. It’s important to know what’s happening around you.

  • Take pride in what you look like. It’s not everything, but it helps. Invest in red lipstick and the perfect black stilettos. When you look good, you will feel good.

  • Date someone who says “I love you” first.

  • Take time to revisit the places that made you who you are: your hometown, your high school, your favorite bench in the park. These places may or may not be here forever.

  • You’ll meet many types of people. Some will knock you down and leave you breathless. Some will give you light and take you on adventures. Explore them. Get lost in them. But don’t let them hurt you.

  • Make a habit of telling people how you really feel. It’ll pay off.

  • Be brave enough to abandon everything familiar in order to follow your heart. Change can be scary, but it’s not always bad.

  • Filter your list of friends. Find out who doesn’t look for you when you’re not there and start calling them acquaintances. But be thankful for the people who do and make sure to show it.

  • Making it in the real world isn’t what it used to be. Your college degree or honors isn’t an easy ticket to success anymore. You have to constantly keep proving yourself. Work extremely hard, but it’ll be worth it.

  • At some point you just have to let go of what you thought should happen and live in what is happening. Don’t get stuck in the past. Move on.

  • You’re going to fall on your face multiple times. This could be from a relationship or job or really anything, but it will happen. You have to brush yourself off and learn from your mistakes.

  • Travel. For the love of God, please, please, please, travel. Explore. Adventure. See what this world has to offer.

  • Recognize freedom is 5:30 a.m. trips to the diner with a bunch of strangers you just met. Enjoy being young.

  • Finally learn how to cook. You’ll get sick of noodles every day, trust me.

  • Kiss someone passionately and have an amazing night with him. But don’t worry if he doesn’t call you afterwards.

  • Nothing in your life is permanent. That’s horrifying and invigorating all at the same time. But learn to embrace change and accept that it is 100 percent necessary.

  • Don’t let the smallest words break your heart.

  • Forgive those who left you and those who let you leave. Also make sure to know the difference.

  • You’ll forget your email password every day but you’ll still remember the number of steps up to his apartment. That’s okay.

  • You’re going to feel alone sometimes. It’s going to seem like everyone has their own lives and you are floating in the ocean all by yourself. That’s okay. In the end, you can only really count on yourself, and you will become stronger from the moments you felt abandoned.

  • Call your parents often. Recognize that they do have your best interests in mind. You will need them… a lot.

  • Above all else, forgive yourself for all the mistakes you made last year. It’s over now. Let it go. Lose sleep over better things and bleed for better reasons.

Going into 2015 remember: You’re not going to be the same person you are now and you’ll probably know a hell of a lot more too. It’s most important that you remember who you are in your heart. Love freely. Move towards your dreams. Accept imperfection and realize that life will get messy, but it’s a beautiful mess and it’s all yours.

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© 2018 by LAUREN KOSTIUK

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