By Kamrin Baker, 17
This time of year is ordinarily a time for reflection, remorse and resolve. So to fulfill the tradition, I've curated a gift for you. A gift of very personalized, awkward knowledge.
I turn 18 the day after the first day of the year, and I want to be all cute and Tumblr and make one of those insightful lists of things I've learned in the last 18 dramatic, dog-filled, suddenly internet-infused years. However, it's hard to remember all of that in one sitting. It's hard to stick to a prompt of my entire being thus far when I have just lived a year so pivotal and stunning that I can't help but honor it in birthday-candle fashion. So let's do this. 2015, you were, without a doubt, on fleek.
1. Find a weird pastime. Adult coloring books are all the rage for a reason. Buy 12. Don't even finish one picture. Spend the extra $7 on the deluxe package of Crayolas and indulge. You earned it, babe.
2. Ask strangers questions. Whether you want to know the status of lemonade from a peeved flight attendant 20 minutes after take-off, are curious about how exactly the Apple Genius guy knows that much about laptop batteries or if you were completely brain-dead when the teacher handed out the assignment, just ask. Politely. There's no harm in a no answer, and anyone who laughs clearly just hasn't figured it out yet themselves.
3. Good shoes go a long way. Pretty self-explanatory, but high-quality is the way to go. Lived-in can be a cute look, but blisters make them impossible to wear again. There is a wide array in the middle portion of the venn diagram between comfort and fashion. Find it and love it.
4. Love deeply. This goes for everything. Get lost and, as previously stated, love it.
5. Meditate. Deepak Chopra meditations are your best friend and the enemy of all stress. Eat that up, and own time to yourself like nobody's business. It's all yours, after all.
6. DJ Khaled really does give the best advice. They don't want us to eat breakfast. I promise you.
7. Learn more about things that bother other people. If your friend gets nervous when you talk about your weekend plans, listen to that, look into that and grow. Sometimes people are just weird and have little quirks, which is totally fine, but if you care about someone, care about what their heart finds important, too.
8. Pinterest is not just for moms. Damn, my wedding board is adorable. AND I can make organic dog biscuits in a heartbeat.
9. Your style is going to change. You don't need to love Kate Spade forever, Target has something for everyone and black is always an in-season shade. Embracing these fluctuations in interest is the key to confidence. See #6 for more keys to success.
10. Growing up is terrifying no matter how old you are. And this isn't going away. So far, my strategy is to ride the wave and continue building my culinary skills beyond grilled cheese and Easy Mac. This is also a really good time to put that asking questions thing into play. No one knows everything, but everyone knows something you don't.
11. Give. Find charities you care about, causes that hug your heart in all the right places and use your skills to better those around you. I love finding up-and-coming businesses that help others in their economic pursuits. It's really eye-opening and fulfilling to feel like you're making a difference. Not to mention, so many people benefit from a single flutter of kindness.
12. Use the emojis. They're there for you, and while I don't really appreciate their existence in the dictionary, I can appreciate their existence in my day-to-day communication. *heart eyes*
13. Pamper yourself. Facials. Foot scrubs. Beauty blogs. Find the good stuff, the affordable stuff, find the hypoallergenic stuff. The bath bomb meme is alive and well, y'all.
14. College is not everything. This is a statement for everyone. College is important and cool and beneficial, but it's a stepping stone; not the mountain. You don't need to bite off more than you can chew, attend the closest to an Ivy League or do things that you don't actually want to do. I'm not even there yet in my life, but I can already pick apart these ideas. If you go in without such high expectations, you can squeeze more out of the experience. Or at least get your money's worth.
15. Care. About all the things that matter. It's up to you to prioritize, but no matter how you list your life, care about everything around you. Don't let apathy overcome. Be the person who has an answer to "I don't know, what do you want for lunch?" Own up to your decisions, no matter how subpar the turkey club is. Positive or negative, the passion you put forth is the beauty that will come out.
And, with that, here's to you, dear reader. You're the beauty that's come out of my passion. The DJ Khaled to my jet ski. The mason jar DIY to my crafting board. And the hope to my 2016.