The Big One Eight

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Wow. It is so hard to believe that I am now eighteen years old. My seventeenth year of life was definitely a milestone all on its own: I had a debut, graduated high school, started college, and had plenty of new and fun experiences in between. I've made and, sadly, lost friends. I've grown closer to my family though we are a couple hundred miles apart. I was already independent in high school, but I have started to learn what independence really is. By law, I'm officially an adult. I can go out and buy myself Sharpies and register to vote! I know this next year will be filled with plenty unique experiences all on its own and I'm ready to see just what life has in store for me.

Here are a few of the highlights of the past year:

I had my debut a year early // In Filipino tradition turning eighteen is a really big deal. Similar to debutante balls in Western tradition, debuts are a coming-of-age party. I'm approximately six months to a year or more behind my cohorts age-wise. Knowing that I would be turning eighteen in college (and that I really love the number seventeen, but more on that later!), I talked with my parents and we decided to have my debut a year early. It was a very large event held in the ballroom of a local hotel; planning and preparing for it was almost as fun as the actual party! I bonded with my closest friends as we took weeks of ballroom dancing lessons together - they weren't too excited about it at first (especially the boys!) but by the end of it, we all loved it.

I graduated high school and started college // The transition from high school to college is a huge step, not only in a physical sense but a mental and emotional sense as well. Living on your own emphasizes the independence you have already developed and the areas in which you need to further develop. Although they may remind you over the phone, your parents aren't always there to remind you to move your laundry from the washer to the dryer or to vacuum your floor. Luckily, if your parents constantly reminded you about everything you needed to do as you were growing up, then maybe you find yourself repeating the kinds of things they would tell you. There are so many little things that affect the overall picture of our lives that we don't realize until they're gone.

I've grown closer to my family // I absolutely love my family, they are wonderful, amazing, spectacular people. There are just no words to truly describe them. Being away from home and on my own these past few months has fine-tuned my appreciation for them and all of the things they have done for me, including their unending love and support. Sometimes you can find yourself in a scary situation where all you want to do is curl up in your bed, watch Netflix, eat chocolate, and ignore it until it goes away, but that never, ever does anything to make it better. Living on my own has taught me how to open up more with my family about problems and ask for help.

I'm learning how to let go of parts of my past // I have always known that losing friends happens, whether it be over a fight or just losing contact. In college, you have the opportunity to discover who you are, try different things, and meet so many different people. BUT you simply cannot take advantage of this opportunity if you cling to all parts of your past with all your might. I believe that I have found a healthy balance of my old friends and my new friends. I have a class with Theatre Geek twice a week, and we often have lunch or dinner twice throughout the week as well. I call my Twin at least once a week, and we text each other every few days, even if its just an interesting picture from Instagram or a hilarious gif. As much time as I devote to keeping contact with my two best friends in the world, I am constantly on Dean's Patio (a huge patio/meeting area in the Business school) with people from my Fraternity between classes and I try to have meals with different people on the same day. You are not going to grow as a person if you confine yourself only to the people you have known for years.

I find myself learning how to be more open-minded // With the enormous number of people in this world, you can guess that the number of different perspectives is infinite. I have always considered myself to be somewhat of a creative thinker, sometimes capable of churning out an out-of-the-box solution. Life can take you so many different places if you just let it. Part of being open-minded is learning how to adapt in a non-self-destructive way. Life can get pretty crazy, so it's up to you to decide how much crazy you can handle.

Catch you next time

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