Birthdays. Setting fires. Holding hands. Making stew on cold nights. Mountain climbing. Sleep. First dates. Vacation. Spending the day in bed. Buying wedding rings. Exploring a forest. Playing peekaboo with a baby. Watching someone smile genuinely. Camping. Stargazing. Counting rings on a tree. Realizing that someone loves you. Returning that love. Getting drunk for the first time. Smell of old books. Looking through black & white photos. Learning your ancestors’ names. Laughter. Hot chocolate. The feeling of getting back up after falling down. First day of college. Last day of college. Acing a job interview. Screwing one up and realizing it’s not the end of the world. Collecting shells. Sunbathing. Listening to someone’s heartbeat. Sound of waves crashing against shore. Rain hitting a tin roof. Heartbreak that turns into heart-healing. Your own house. Decorating that house. Coming home to someone you love. Hearing the sound of their footsteps on the stairs. Honesty of fall leaves. Their colors. Fresh snowfall. Singing favorite songs off-key. Seeing love come into someone’s eyes. Watching your parents look at each other like the very first time. Sunrise. Sunset. The way fire burns into ash. Smell of a campire. Waking up with light spilling over the sheets. Breakfast in bed. Living long enough to watch wounds heal over. Change. Wilderness. Forgiveness. Change some more. More change. Spring. Flowers blooming, opening up like you can. Good memories. Learning how to forget bad ones. Warm feet in a cold bed. Sleeping with the only person you care about. Waking up to their mouth and arms. Smiles that reach all the way to the eyes. Letting go of balloons like dead weight. Floating in water on your back. Skydiving. Risk. Adventure. First C on a test. First A. Favorite teacher. First poem. Last poem. Holidays with family. Roadtrips. Changing the sheets. Your father’s gnarled hands when he grows old. Grandchildren. Children of your own. Their first day of college. Their graduation. Their wedding. Anniversaries. Making daisy chains. Smell of freshly-cut grass. Pride. Feeling good about yourself. Loving what’s in the mirror. Not being afraid anymore. No more heaviness. No more grief. Survival. Picking berries til your fingers are stained dark. Frost on windows. Holding someone without sex. Sex with love. The joy of swearing. Counting the years you’ve lived. Another candle on the birthday cake. Another mark of victory. That bellyache laugh that hurts all over. But hurts so good. Breath freezing in winter. Feeling that breath on your skin. Someone’s eyelashes blinking into your palm. Accomplishment. Self-worth. Love. Triumph. Sitting under willow trees without weeping. Apologies that get accepted. Understanding that comes from forgiveness. First fight. First makeup afterward. Less hurt. More good.
“Nineteen things I’ve learned before I turned nineteen.
1. Always carry $5 and a lighter with you (even if you don’t smoke).
2. Ask every person you meet how their day is going. Genuinely ask with the soul intention of learning how their day is. Ask the coffee shop employee. Ask the person next to you in line at Walmart. Ask your distant friend. Ask everyone.
3. Take many photos of yourself. Take photos of yourself when you’re happy. Take photos of yourself when you’re sad. Take photos of yourself because there are millions of trees in the world, and we all look at the same sky, but there is only one of you.
4. Stay in contact with your parents. Try not to hate them. They are the reason you have the ability to feel anything at all. Try not to hate your parents.
5. Opening your skin will not set your demons free. Open your heart. Open your mind. Open your hands.
6. Nobody knows anybody completely. That’s okay.
7. Be gentle, but be aggressive. Take a stand. Nobody hears your voice if you stay silent.
8. Respect everybody. We are all humans trying to survive. We all deserve respect.
9. Wearing black will ALWAYS make you feel better about yourself.
10. Always give tips, whether it be a couple extra dollars or a piece of mind. You never know how much you could be helping someone.
11. Change is the only thing consistent in life. Do not allow that bother you. Embrace chance and move with life, whichever direction it chooses to take you.
12. Smile often. Smile at strangers. Smile at your friends. Smile when nobody is looking and you’re alone in your bedroom. Smile when somebody is rambling to you.
13. Body image means nothing. Your body is merely just a seatbelt in the car. Your body is here to protect you. You choose the direction you go, and your body will not hold you back. Only you can hold yourself back.
14. Don’t hold grudges. Don’t allow yourself to hate anybody. Forgive them. Learn to love them for the person you never got to see them to be. Believe that a beautiful human exists in that person. Wish them well.
15. Drink orange juice. Lots of it.
16. Don’t allow the opinions of others to choose your destiny. We are all simply trying to live our own life.
17. Sing all the time. Sing off key. Sing in a silly voice. Sing like you’re on stage. Sing no matter who is around. Singing is breathing for the soul. Sing.
18. Take time to think. Write your feelings down. Write letters to the people you love. Texting is overrated and not as heartfelt as a nice handwritten letter.
19. Live for yourself. Breathe for yourself. Do everything in your life for nobody but you. This is your life. This is it.”—(via maikalehua)