It’s hard to express into words everything that I have discovered and uncovered this past year about myself, others and the world around me. However, that doesn’t mean I’m not going to try. 2017 was a year of trials and tribulations, all of which led me to the person that I am today, as well as continuously shaping me into the person I am becoming. I have spent awhile picking out the 17 most important things that I have either learned or built upon this past year. Some may seem so obvious, yet, let me remind you they are oh so important in your daily lives. As you begin 2018, remember to always keep these in mind.
17 Things I Learned in 2017
1. Learn Along the Way
In this important time of our lives, recognize that you won’t always get it right the first time! If you were meant to have all of the answers by now, you would. Trying new things you’re scared to do or stepping outside of your comfort zone, although terrifying, could provide yourself with some of the most amazing opportunities that you couldn’t have even dreamed of. We’re all just on a journey down our own path, learning as we go.
2. Don’t Take Things Too Seriously
Okay but in my personal opinion, you have to actually try super hard to be someone that doesn’t laugh often. Laughing is one of the best stress relievers I have come to know (as I’m doing it almost every minute of every waking hour) and I have learned to not take things too seriously all the time. By doing exactly that, you aren’t as easily able to take things light-heartedly and just thoroughly enjoy life. Sometimes, the best thing to do is just laugh at yourself, let it roll off your back, and keep on keepin’ on.
3. Love Over Everything
There isn’t enough love in this world and I can’t even begin to stress that enough. In today’s society, everyone is so concerned with their own personal image and self that they forget to stop and recognize those around them. Really invest yourself and your time into other people and really care and love for them. After all, this world would be absolutely nothing with just you in it. Take time to understand and appreciate others in your life and how they contribute to your success.
4. Don’t Overthink
Even I have to remind myself of this one, almost every day to be exact. Ever go off on those tangents where one small negative thing happens to you and somewhere ten minutes later you start to feel like the world is ending? Yeah, me too. TRUST ME. But let me tell you, at the end of every single freak out, world ending moment that I encounter, I sit back and ask myself, “What was the point of that?” And, chances are, there was none. I freaked myself out for reasons that don’t even exist. Yes, there will be negative things that occur in your life or just simply things you don’t understand but, be sure to not overthink as it just causes unnecessary stress.
5. Invest in Those That Invest in You
This is a BIG ONE. 2017 was a huge year for me in really finding out how people interact with each other and how we choose who to invest our time in and who we don’t. Often, we invest our time in family and our close friends that we truly cherish. We don’t have enough time, energy, or even love to give to every single person we encounter or merely think of an acquaintance or friend. This leaves virtually no room for any of that same time, effort or love for yourself and you end up confused and finding yourself spread awful thin. Really take the time to evaluate those in your life and only invest your being into those that would do the EXACT SAME for you. If you find that you are investing more in others than they are into you, take that wasted energy and put it back into yourself. You’ll be extremely shocked with the results, TRUST ME.
6. Stop Comparing Yourself to Others
This one may seem as a given but going to a Division 1 University, I feel like many girls, as well as myself, may need this as a reminder here and there. As stated before, everyone is on their own path figuring out just what exactly they want to do with the rest of their lives. Each person faces their own struggles and successes, which, may I remind you, do not even merely compare to your own. Someone else’s success is not your own failure. Continue to remind yourself that you are your own person and you have your own successes coming your way, just be patient.
7. Loving Yourself Isn’t Selfish
I think a lot of people tend to get loving yourself confused with feeling like you’re better than others and automatically assume that you only care about yourself and no one else. However, this couldn’t be further than the truth. Loving who you are and being proud of the person you have become has absolutely nothing to do with anyone else. There is nothing better than feeling comfortable in your own skin and don’t let anyone ever knock you down for this. Chances are, those that do this are the exact ones that aren’t comfortable in their own.
8. Rejection is Redirection
Ah, yes. The fear of rejection. Something we all have and if you say you don’t, you’re lying. Fun short story time for you all, at one point this year, I literally had a guy tell me almost straight up that my friend was prettier than me. Okay but how fun is that, right???? (Please sense the sarcasm in my voice, or in this case, words). Yeah that knocked my self esteem down for a bit but, rather than dwelling on it and the rejection aspect of it, I took to the positive side and let it redirect me. Or, I applied for a grade appeal for a project of mine because I didn’t feel as though I received a fair grade and was straight up told no. Rejection isn’t always a bad thing (even though it may seem as so at the time). Understand the situation and the rejection at hand and then ask yourself why it is occurring. Is there something you can do about it? If yes, then do it! But if not, it may simply be God telling you that it’s just not part of your plan. Let rejection redirect you to better things!
9. Trust Yourself
Going through your young adult years, it’s hard to place trust in yourself and to hope that everything will turn out okay in the end. But half the battle in working through these years is exactly that; you can’t really get to where you want to go unless you place all of your trust in you. I’ve learned throughout the past couple years that you can’t really trust anyone fully except for yourself. In the end, everyone has their own personal interest in mind and it’s hard to rely on others. Yes, you can trust others to an extent but, trust yourself and your gut and in the end, it will all work out.
10. Focus On What You Can Control
Throughout our lives, we will be thrown an endless amount of curveballs and things we won’t expect coming, AT ALL. And the worst part is, most of these we can’t even control. Like for example, you make plans and then BOOM you get the flu AND a cold at the same time; you know, things like that (lmao fml). BUT, this past year especially, I have really worked on mastering the skill of focusing on the things I can control rather than what I can’t. Like in school when you get a worse grade than you expected. I know blaming others, the professor, your TA (okay, this one may actually be valid though considering unfair grading by TAs is a national epidemic in my opinion even though that sounds a bit dramatic), etc., may be easier, focus on what you can control next time. Study harder, use a different study method, or whatever it may be. Life will hand you so many unexpected twists and turns and rather than dwelling on what you can’t do anything about, do something about the things you can.
11. You’re Stronger Than You Think
You don’t know how strong you are until being strong is the only option you have
(said some smart person that knew what they were talking about).
But for real, when faced with certain situations that you never saw coming, you never truly do realize what your foundation is as a person and just how strong you are willing to be. Hell, I’ll be completely honest with y’all. Earlier this year in 2017, I was faced with the biggest curveball that I’ve ever experienced in my life and, with passing time, I’m now able to discuss it with no emotional attachment anymore. In 2017, I went through one of the hardest breakups I’ve ever had to go through and let me tell you, I thought I was the absolute weakest person on this planet afterwards (just how everyone else would naturally feel). But damnit, I picked myself back up (eventually) and I realized that absolutely no one should make anyone on this earth feel like they aren’t worth something. Everyone is capable of reaching their dreams and ambitions so, no matter how many times you get knocked down, you stand up that many times plus one more. You owe it to yourself to be a strong person and you owe it to those around you to be an example of what it’s like to work hard and do things for yourself and no one else.
12. One Day at a Time
It’s hard to do this sometimes, believe me I know. However, when your workload is stacked high, you’ve got a multitude of things to do and you just seem like you can’t catch a break, taking it one day at a time isn’t always the worst strategy. Yes, planning ahead is essential to time management but once you do this, don’t dwell so much on everything ahead of you and rather focus on the things you can accomplish and get done in one day. I always like to make to-do lists (nerdy, I know) but there’s never a better feeling than crossing something off your list. It makes you feel like you actually have a purpose (and now I’m taking this way deeper than it needs to be so moving on….).
13. Wait Until the Smoke Clears
Everything may not always be what it seems. When faced with a difficult situation, although it may be difficult at times, give it a few moments before you really make a judgement. Sometimes, snap judgements turn out to be largely incorrect and unhelpful. I have found myself removing myself from situations that I know I need time to think in, I formulate my thoughts, and then I react accordingly. I can think of countless times where I used this this past year and I can honestly say it worked out for the better in every single one. By waiting until the smoke clears, not only are you able to fully respond to what is happening, but you’re also fully able to understand what is occurring.
14. Cherish the Few Solid Friends You Have
I cannot stress this enough but the quality of your friends will ALWAYS be more important than the quantity of your friends. I mean, would you rather have 50 so-called “friends” that only care about you when they need something from you or like 3 solid friends that would go to the ends of the earth and back for you. I don’t know about you guys, but the latter option seems more pleasant to me. I am grateful beyond belief and fortunate enough to have found a few of these wonderful people and I can honestly say that I know they would have my back as they know I always have theirs.
15. My Parents Are My Foundation
I have been extremely blessed to have two loving parents that have worked so hard to support me in everything I do and I truly wish everyone had the same experience that I do. No, my parents don’t have loads of money and no, my parents (definitely) don’t give me everything I want but, that doesn’t mean that they haven’t taught me a multitude of values and lessons that I will use throughout my entire lifetime. Through the use of discipline and respect, my parents have taught me how to be mature (in situations that need it because otherwise I’m an immature goof that laughs at everything hahaha you know what I’m saying) as well as how to treat others with respect. So many members of my generation have been deemed as disrespectful and the farthest from hardworking and I have made it one of my goals to be exactly the opposite, I hope you do the same.
16. The 5×5 Rule
It’s simple and easy.
If it’s not going to matter in 5 years, don’t spend more than 5 minutes worrying about it.
(Yeah I know, one of the hardest things ever to do but) with our stressful and fast-paced lives as young adults, it’s important to not let the little things stress you out. All of the unnecessary worrying will just distract you from the things that are truly important.
17. And, Most Importantly, Forgive Yourself
Absolutely no one, and I mean NO ONE, is perfect in this world. Not one. single. person. It’s only human nature to make mistakes and to fall down every once in awhile. But rather than seeing these as failures, it’s important to take them as learning experiences and opportunities for you to better yourself and to grow as your move forward. If anyone has fallen flat on their face this year, it’s me. But that didn’t stop me from getting up and trying harder the second time. It’s all about how you look at the situation and how you learn from your mistakes.
Okay so if I knew that this post was going to end up taking me multiple days to write and over 2,000 words, I maybe wouldn’t have considered writing it…
(you know I’m kidding).
But, all joking aside, I am truly grateful for this past year and everything that I have discovered about myself. So far, I have really focused on the fact that my parents are my rock, stressing about the things I can’t control is pointless and that I’m a force to be reckoned with.
So with that I say,
2018, bring it on.