12.29.97 | What I learned in 20 years

(Above is a small collection of pictures I’ve taken, of places I’ve been, things I’ve seen, and well me; that hold special moments and memories.)

I celebrated my 20th birthday this past week in Utah in the midst of all the crazy: from near death experiences, to finishing up my last week of an online math class that was surprisingly hard, and to making memories I’ll never forget with my family. I was going to post 20 lessons I’ve learned by 20, but for the sake of writing a novel (which I’d probably enjoy) I’ll just keep it short and sweet with a few of the most important points to me.

  • Find a passion and stick to it. It’ll help relieve stress and will take your mind off of stressful situations. Photography has always been a passion of mine. When I was about 10/11 I got my first real camera and began taking nature and portrait photos. I remember one summer day in the 5th grade I spent all day taking pictures of peaches from our backyard! Super weird but each picture came out extremely detailed and every new outcome had me amazed.
  • You may not find your “people” for a long time. But when you do it’ll all be worth it. Within my first semester of college everything came at me so quickly. Feeling alone… well that’s a whole topic in itself. But people always told me that I would find my group of friends sooner or later and everyone goes through it, blahblah. It’s hard to believe when you’re on the receiving side of this information but I have to tell you that it’s true. Your time, and your circle of people will come.
  • In high school your friend circle is pretty limited if you think about it. The only reason you talked to most of the people you did was because you were basically forced to see them on a daily bases. Once you graduate and if you head off to a bigger university , at first it’s hard to fit in but eventually you’ll find your circle. It’ll be people whom you didn’t know you needed in your life. For me, I finally met people with such similar goals, life styles, (non-sleeping) sleeping habits, who are constantly busy just as I am; but we still make time for each other which makes our friendships that much more special in my opinion.
  • “You don’t keep the friends you had from high school.” FALSE. Whoever said that is bitter. I’ve become so much closer with people from high school and we make it a point to hang out when we’re back in town from school. It’s a choice YOU make to keep the people YOU want in your life. Actually, people that I haven’t been close to in the past have become some of my closest friends. Given the fact that I wasn’t allowed to go out to hang with friends that often, I had a couple of friends that I was very close to. Literally two people.
  • Finding outlets,  which is also parallel to my first point, is important for your personal growth and relieving stress. For me obviously, writing is one of them, along with art (mostly painting and some drawings), and makeup which correlates with painting. Anything I can sculpt or create with my hands that gives gratifying results gives me satisfaction since I can physically observe results of my work.
  • Enjoy the moment: whether it be travelling or simply being at home. Every moment is a gift (as cheesy as it may sound, it’s true!) I’ve been blessed to have an abundance of opportunities and experiences to travel the nation, and well even the world. With each new little town, or big city I like to take in everything I’ve never seen before. Whether it be just stopping on the side of a  mountain and taking in the air or experiencing the hustle and bustle of a local market; absorb every moment as if it were your last. But, don’t forget to savor the moments you’re at home as well. The cozy feeling of coming home to your family or even just stepping out in your front yard to let the rays of the sun to dance upon your skin. Sadly, not everyone can do these things comfortably. If you’re reading this right now, chances are you’re living better than more than 75% of the people on this planet.
  • “Happiness means nothing unless it is shared.” I’m going to go ahead and wrap things up with this as my seventh and final point. If there’s anything that you take away from what I have to say, it should be this. This is single-handedly the most important lesson I’ve learned in life. The countless amounts of memories in which I experienced pure happiness involved being around the people I love the most in this world. While happiness is a vague term, the theory that it means nothing unless it is shared stands true. Happiness can be defined by no one other than you. The moments you enjoy with others are the most priceless.  At some of my lowest points in life, the right people walked in and simply kept me company. Somehow, those low points turned into some of my best memories filled with endless nights of delirious laughter after stressing about my future alone. Now I’m not saying you need to depend on other people to make you happy. But the best moments are always shared with those whom are dearest to you. After all, aren’t we all just on the pursuit of happiness?

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