Posted on Huffington Post

At what age do we grow up? Legally we are considered adults at 18, we receive the right to vote, we can enlist in the military, serve on a jury, give consent and many other responsibilities. These are some of the responsibilities we inherit when we hit the magical age of 18 and begin our lives as adults. Transitioning from a teen to a full-blown adult is such a exciting and terrifying time in our lives. There is a distinct difference between being a adult and acting like one. Within the next coming year I will be turning 18. Recently I have been contemplating what it means to be a adult and how an age makes me more qualified and more of an adult than I already am. I have complied a list of what I believe are the 18 most important life lessons to learn before you turn 18! 

1. Time passes us by quickly
As over said and clique as it sounds it is true time passes us by rather quickly. One minute your going to your first day of kindergarten and before you know it your standing in your cap and gown graduating high school. Take a second to step back and appreciate the age you are, stop wishing to be older because you’re never going to be this young again.

2. Don’t let labels define you. 
You are much more then one word and no one can be confined to fit into a box. Humans are multifaceted beings and are very complex; so embrace it. Embrace your differences and weird quirks because after all your differences is what keeps the world interesting. 

3. Growing up is not easy
Let’s face it you don’t know everything and you never will. Growing up and embracing all of our life experiences help us grow into the people we will become. Allow yourself to learn and grow as a person.

4. School won’t last forever
Yes.. sometimes it feels like your never going to graduate but it’s closer then you think. Some of us may love school while others hate it but either way look at it as a gift. The years we are in school are some of time most pivotal points in our lives. Believe it or not high school goes by quickly and you may end up missing it after you graduate 

5. Family is forever
Family is a gift. Yes, there are times when you won’t always see eye to eye with your family but don’t forget to thank them for all they have done for you. Family are the only people in life who will be with you throughout every trial and tribulation you may have. Spend as much time as you can with them because family time is truly valuable. 

6. Failing is inevitable
Its okay to fail, it happens to the best of us. How would you ever learn if you never made mistakes. The important thing to take away from your failure is learning how to get back up and recover from it. 

7. Some people come for a season while others last a lifetime
Friends will come and go and that’s okay because not everyone is going to have a place in your future. But if your lucky, really lucky, you will develop a friendship that will last a lifetime. If you are one of those lucky people with a life lasting friendship hold on to it and cherish it. 

8. Develop a passion
Whether it is a sport, academia, or movies whatever your passion is hold on to it. One of the most beautiful things in life is having a passion. When you have a strong passion it can lead you to do amazing things and unlock many doors. 

9. Try something new
Have you ever learned a foreign language, run in a marathon, or tried a different cuisine? Whatever you have not done before try it. Life has so many amazing possibilities waiting for you, so try to broadens your horizons. 

10. Talk to someone you never thought you could be friends with in school
People can always surprise you Maybe the kid you thought seemed kinda different in chemistry class is really the most fascinating person in the world. Hey you will never know unless you talk to them. 

11. Don’t live in the past look toward the future
The past already happened so don’t dwell on it. It is okay to look back from time to time and reflect on what has happened but it’s important to make peace and move on. The future is where your headed so focus on improving it and becoming the person you hope to be.

12. Age is just a number. 
Your never to young or to old to start following your dreams. Never let someone tell you you can’t do something because of your age. If you have a dream follow it. 

13. Develop your own opinions
Learn to fully think for yourself, before you know it you will be living on your own. Develop your own political views, personal likes, dislikes and opinions.

14. Get to know yourself
Develop a strong sense of who you are, what your beliefs are and what you stand for. You are the only person in charge of you, so develop your beliefs and use them to make a positive impact on the world. 

15. Take time to thank those who have impacted your life
We all have had those people who have helped shape us to become the person we are today. Whether that was a teacher, friend, coach, classmate or family member tell them how they touched your life. I am almost 100% sure they are going to appreciate it and be touched that they had a impact on your life. 

16. Words are powerful
Learn that your words really do have an impact on people. What you say can make a difference, use your words to build up people rather then tear them down. 

17. Write your future self a letter
Take a few minutes to write your future self a letter about what your life is like now and what your goals are, and open it in 10 years from now. I am pretty sure your future self would love to get a note from the current you. Imagine how much of a refreshing throwback that will be! 

18. Most importantly be grateful
Everyday is a gift, be grateful for who you are today.