Life Lessons from 2014

Each new year heralds in a new frame of mind for most. Whether one decides to lose 10 pounds that they’ll inevitably gain back or quit smoking; most people are under the impression that when the ball drops on NYE the world magically resets.

I’m here to tell you that this is false. Life is not the Legend of Zelda (however much you wish it is, it isn’t) you can’t just eject from life and go back to pretend everything’s okay. You always have to look at your experiences and decide for yourself what you will take away from it.

This past year I’ve been through a lot; there’s no doubt about that. But, when New Year’s Eve came around this year, I didn’t resolve to do anything. That’s right, no bikini body aspirations for me. Instead, I sat back and looked at my year in review and tried to take something away from it. Here are some things I learned last year:

Lesson #1: Everything Will Be Okay.
That’s so cliche, I know, but it’s something you constantly need to remind yourself. When shit inevitably happens, take a second to slow down and comprehend what happened. Nothing lasts forever, you should remember this during bad times and good times as well. It’s just not natural for things to stay as they are forever; change is inevitable.

Lesson #2: You Could be the Coolest Person Ever but Someone Will Still Dislike You.
It’s true. The haters are alive and well and the best thing you can do is ignore them. The most important thing is to focus on those people who think you’re the greatest thing since the Beatles rather than those who make fun of you for adulthood acne (yeah, someone made fun of me for that recently…).

Lesson #3: Family is Everything.
Now, this doesn’t have to be your blood-related family. I think we as humans have the capacity to choose our own families. Family means, in this context, the people who love you and you love the most. I visited my family in Serbia this past summer and never having met them before they took me in, clothed me, fed me, and treated me like they had known me forever. Your family will always have your back.

Lesson #4: Mortality is real.
Oftentimes, I find that people our age disregard death and think that it’s something that will never happen to them. But, this year for the first time in a long time, I stared death in the face when my beloved Uncle passed in a fatal car accident. I said to myself that he was way too young to die and that death is for old people. I then realized that this can happen to anyone. Life is not eternal and nothing is forever. This is morbid, I know, but I guess you could say that I didn’t appreciate the value of my own life until someone I loved lost theirs.

Lesson #5: Never Let Anyone Hold You Back.
At the end of 2013, I had a pretty bad breakup. I let this boy tell me what to do and try to tell me how to live my life. He even got upset with me when I told him I wanted to study abroad. The lesson here, and no I’m not just complaining about an ex, is that you should never let anyone hold you back from doing what you want to do. If they truly love you for exactly who you are, they won’t try to trap you or tell you that you can’t. I spent a good portion of 2014 trying to get over this relationship until I actually went on my study abroad trip. It was when I left the country and did what I wanted to do that I was able to find my freedom.

So, I implore you to take a look at your life and see what you need to do. My late grandfather said that if you want to make a change in your life, you must look at the person in the mirror first. And can we please retire this silly notion of waiting for the year to change to make a resolution? If you really want to improve your life, start today.

I wrote a post similar to this one on Best Kept Self. Check it out!

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