I can’t believe it’s already June. It’s rather weird because the last year went by so quickly. I think it’s interesting how things don’t really feel like they’re changing much, but then all of the sudden twelve months have passed, and things seem way different. In light of the last year, I thought it would be fun to share the ten biggest lessons I learned. I feel like over the past twelve months I’ve been tested, hurt, and more driven than I ever have been before. I’ve always been a firm believer that everything happens for a reason, even if we don’t always see the reason. Every trial and tribulation offers us a new perspective, and offers us insight into where we are, where we are going, and where who we want to be.
1. You’re not as much of a morning person as you used to be. Somewhere over the last year, I got to a point where I was tired all the time, and getting out of the bed in the morning was super hard. I was much more productive at night, and I preferred staying up until 2am to get stuff done to waking up at 7am. I don’t know what changed, but I think it may have had to do with the fact that I wasn’t a fan of my morning routine this year. They say it’s much easier to be an early riser if you get up, and have a routine that makes you happy, and I definitely didn’t have that. Hopefully I’ll get back to being more of a morning person come fall.
2. Sometimes life doesn’t go according to plan. I’m a planner. I’m a five-year planner. I have everything all mapped out, and I get really invested in things rather quickly. This is something that is great…until something doesn’t work out. I don’t deal with things going against the plan very well, but I’m working on it.
3. People will surprise you, always. Whether good or bad, people are going to surprise you time and time again. Sometimes people surprise you in the best way, and sometimes people surprise you in the worst way. Regardless, people come into our lives for a reason, and they can offer us a little something when we need them.
4. Don’t allow other people’s opinions dictate your own. If you’re hearing things about someone, make sure you take the time to get to know them before you form your opinions. This tidbit isn’t limited to people by any means, but over the last year, I feel it’s been the prominent with people.
5. Allow yourself to forgive, even if they’re not sorry. I’ve been told I’m pretty good at holding a grudge, which isn’t something I necessarily like about myself, but alas, I have yet to kick the habit. The thing is, though, being mad or being angry or being, well, just annoyed with someone, takes a ton of energy, and frankly it’s a tiring process that is almost never worth it in the end. So, it’s important to forgive people. Even if someone never apologizes to you, or does but you can tell it’s insincere, forgive them. Forgive them because you’re never going to be fully happy if you’re holding on to something negative.
6. Pursue what you love. Going back to number 3 for a second, I’m not very good at going against life plans. So, when I realized that my plan to go to graduate school to pursue English wasn’t necessarily what I wanted to do, I spent a lot of time talking to my family. I attempted to talk to my friends, but sometimes that’s even hard because people aren’t always supportive of change, even if they seem that they are. When I initially told people I wanted to go to law school, a lot of people questioned my intentions. Some people asked me if was what my parents wanted, some asked if it was just because I thought I’d make more money, and other asked if I was only doing it because I was scared of the what ifs associated with publishing companies. Truth is, I said it because it’s been something that I’ve wanted to do for years, but I was scared to admit to because I was scared people would say exactly what they ended up saying, and I was scared of how people would react to my plan changing. I’ve learned though, it’s much easier to be true to your dreams than to portray an image you think others want to see.
7. Don’t care what others think. I think this will always be a lesson I learned because it’s something I continue to learn a little better every year. I try to not care, but I usually end up caring a little. I’m getting better and better, however, at not caring, so that’s good.
8. Enjoy the small stuff. Sometimes I forget to enjoy the right now when I’m focusing on the future. This year, I learned to live in the moment more, and spend more time with people who I care about. Enjoying people’s company, enjoying a coffee, enjoying a good book…it’s all important, even if you aren’t necessarily making some huge step toward an end goal.
9. I really like coffee. I used to only ever drink tea and water, but over the last year, I’ve developed a bit of a coffee addiction…and I’m okay with it. Also, that whole “most people start drinking coffee when they get to college” thing is most certainly true. This may not seem like a life lesson, but hey, it’s something I learned about myself. Caffeine addiction is no small thing, people.
10. “You don’t get to choose if you get hurt in this world…but you do have some say in who hurts you.” In light of the release of The Fault in Our Stars, I feel this last lesson is very important. I read the book last spring break, and it didn’t really strike a chord until about four months later. It’s interesting, you know, because when people are in your life you don’t immediately assume they’re going to hurt you. But something I learned this year is you usually have some kind of intuition about trust, and trust usually tells you about whether or not someone will hurt you. In my opinion, trust is something no friendship or relationship can do without. So, if you can’t trust someone, then you should assume that you shouldn’t give them the power to hurt you. You may not be able to control every aspect of your life, but you can control who you let in.