19 things I learned in 2019

Herald reporter Taylor Metcalf changes out her nose ring for the first time since having one for two months on Monday, Nov. 4, 2019.

Julianna Lowe

Regardless of where you began 2019 or where you ended it, one thing is for sure: the last year of the decade was a big one. 2019, however horrible or phenomenal it was for anyone, ended the decade with a bang. Whether you learned from others or from your own mistakes, there were many lessons learned throughout the year. Here are 19 things I learned in 2019.

  1. Piercing your nose doesn’t actually hurt.

Being afraid of something just because of word of mouth is no way to live your life. If you want to do something, like pierce your nose, then do it — even if your friends with a low pain tolerance tell you that it hurts. Odds are, it might not. You won’t know until you find out for yourself.  

  1. Getting a tattoo, however, does actually hurt.

While you shouldn’t believe everything you hear, sometimes word of mouth is true. This isn’t always the case and you shouldn’t live your life by what someone else says, but I learned that it helps to be cautious. It helps to be mentally prepared for the pain that comes with inking your body, but that pain is so inconsequential that it’s worth it in the end. 

  1. You are not meant to keep all of your friends.

When I was in high school, someone told me you only stay friends with 1% of the people you are friends with in high school, and I refused to believe it. However, I learned that people grow and change drastically after graduation, so those people that you once wanted to have around forever might not fit into your life anymore. And that’s okay. 

  1. Plus, it gives you an opportunity to make new friends!

After graduation, I found myself in a sea of new people who have had completely different lives than the people who I shared a hometown with. I learned those people, the ones different from me, are the ones I should talk to, hang out with, even confide in. Losing old friends doesn’t mean you don’t have friends; it just means you have more room in your heart for better friends.

  1. Be friends with your professors. 

No matter how many times parents and high school teachers tell you this, it will never be enough. Meet with your professors, talk to them after class and show interest in their lessons. As I learned, it’ll come in handy when you sleep through your alarm for your 8 a.m. final. 

  1. Communication really is key.

If emotions and concerns are kept inside, they’ll never get fixed. If a problem isn’t brought to light, there can never be a solution. It was a hard lesson to learn, but I learned that it’s best to talk things through, even if it’s intimidating. 

  1. It’s okay to need help. 

Humans are a sociable species, and we need each other to survive. So if you’re feeling stressed, nervous, anxious or depressed, you don’t have to heal yourself. We want to be able to take care of ourselves, but I learned that it’s okay to need support. Lean on your friends and family or reach out to a professional about what you’re dealing with. No one wants you to go through things alone. 

  1. Money is not the most important thing. 

I went to more concerts and events in one year than I have every other year combined, and I loved every minute of them. I took a last-minute road trip that broke the bank, but I ended up finding my favorite place on Earth. Be smart with your money, but also be smart with your happiness, even if that means picking up a few extra shifts at work once you get back from the experience of a lifetime. 

  1. Take every opportunity. 

I never expected volunteering on a Monday afternoon would turn into an internship, nor did I expect for that internship to turn into a job. You never know what is just around the corner, and you won’t know until you seize the opportunity. 

  1. Your body is your home.

This year I learned what it means to be at home in my own skin and what it takes to maintain this home. We all need to learn to love our home. Take care of it. Love yourself exactly as you are, but don’t forget to make sure you can live for a long time inside of your home. You don’t get another one.   

  1. Take chances, and talk to the boy that sits next to you in class.

He might end up being the love of your life. 

  1. It’s okay to enjoy staying in. 

If all of your friends go out for the weekend, you don’t have to go out too. Especially if you don’t enjoy going out. Your life will be at its best when you indulge in the things that truly make you happy. 

  1. Sometimes your friends are your family. 

No matter how much we all want our families to be dependable, some of them are just not. Sharing blood with people doesn’t mean you have to share your life with them. It’s okay to find solace in people you didn’t grow up around. I learned that family is not who you grew up around but who continues to help you grow beyond childhood.

  1. Social media is toxic.

This is something that isn’t understood until you step away from Instagram, Twitter and Snapchat. I was immersed in social media until this year, when I spent half of the year without it. I’ve never felt happier in all of my teenage years.

  1. Do not give up.

Life is really, really hard, and everyone experiences setbacks. But failing a test or missing a class doesn’t mean that you can’t recover. I learned nothing is over until I say it’s over. 

  1. Listen to your friends.

Most of the time, your friends will notice things about you that you don’t notice. Trust them; they’re your friends, and they have your best interest at heart. 

  1. Take care of the things that you want to last.

Cars, phones, relationships. They’ll hang around if you treat them will care. 

  1. Forgive yourself.

It’s easier to forgive others than it is to forgive yourself, but it’s just as important. You can’t expect to grow unless you give yourself the room to do so. 

  1. Be kind to everyone.

Especially yourself.

Features reporter Julianna Lowe can be reached at 270-745-6291 and [email protected]