1. Stray as far away from the comparison game as humanly possible. In an age of social media, do NOT let yourself fall down the rabbit hole of comparison. Strive only to better yourself for yourself, not for others.
2. For every cup of coffee, drink at least an equal amount of water. Seriously.
3. Those who cannot create will critique. Yes, it will hurt your feelings. Yes, you will get over it.
4. Everything looks better in the morning. After the darkest night, the sun will rise, and you will have a chance to try again.
5. The most meaningful friends come from the most unexpected places. Cherish the little moments shared in light of the hectic world spinning around you.
6. NEVER take your jacket off onstage once the show has already started. Just don't. Trust me.
7. Sometimes the audience will be captivated with your every lyric. Sometimes they will talk over your every lyric. Put on the same show every night. Play with passion for yourself, not the audience.
8. You're going to go through the "dyeing your hair many colours phase." Live it up.
9. If you think you are not smart enough for college, you are wrong. You will succeed.
10. But, you will also fail some exams. Let it go.
11. You will face so much pain. Pain like you have never experienced before. It will keep you locked in your room for months. Literally. But, you will find laughter in the small moments with friends making jokes and with family and nurses in the hospital.
12. Sometimes you have to cuss in front of your parents.
13. Thank the nurse who gets the IV on the first try (and write down her name so she will come back).
14. Communicate openly. Be honest with others and also yourself.
15. People gossip. It sucks. But it doesn't mean you have to correct every single person who has a misconception about you. It is better to be silently aware that you know who you are, than loudly try to prove to others that you are good.
16. Always have an extra set of strings before a big show!!!! You will break a string before every ! single ! important ! gig !
17. Be still. Right before you go onstage, be still. Take a deep breath and still your mind and body.
18. Music is magic. It is not a game to be won, or a way to prove yourself. It is magical, and you will spend countless hours trying to harness it. Sometimes you will, sometimes you won't. But at the end of the day, it is a force to be reckoned with.
18 taught me more than any age I have experienced thus far. I started my 18th birthday playing my first ever full band show in a room packed with all my favourite people. I will start my 19th with a radio show talking about Dreams & Wishes, the Make-A-Wish fundraiser that has been my biggest 2019 goal this whole year. I feel equipped with the tools that 18 has handed me, and I'm ready for 19 to be even better.