This year picked me up by the feet, hung me upside down and rattled me til everything I thought I knew fell out of my mind and I was forced to pick them all up and start again.
It’s hard not to get emotional writing this…and that’s weird right, because I’m sure I don’t come across a very emotional person. I’m not…I’m pretty good at being in control of my feelings but when I look back at this year I can’t help but think how fortunate I am to be ending the year in the place I am standing right now.
As I’m sure you can guess, a lot of shit went down this year that absolutely rocked my world. Bad things, of course…’bad’ because that’s all a matter of perspective isn’t it…and good things…very very good things. Wonderful things that I’m still not too sure what to do with.
I wanted to do a little run down of some of the lessons I learned this year. I’d say it’s because I want you guys to learn from my experiences, but I’m a firm believer that second hand information could never be as effective as first hand experience. You have to live something to truly believe it…and maybe some of you have already lived and learned these things, and that’s cool, and maybe some of you are yet to really get what I’m talking about…that’s cool too. Do you. Learn as you go. Don’t ignore the lessons though. Don’t become that person who makes the same mistake over and over again because you don’t want to keep it 100 with yourself.
Decide what you’re worth and stand by it
I told myself I would be ending 2014 with a new job. I’ve never read The Secret but my understanding of it was that the whole speaking something into being thing is…in fact…a thing. So I did, and in 2014 I had many opportunities come my way…but none that could give me what I felt I was worth. Eventually, in the most random week of my life, I was ‘interviewing’ (I realised I no longer have formal interviews…just really chill chats) for a job that would meet and exceed my expectations for change. I’m so glad now that I didn’t jump the gun and settle for anything less than what I wanted for myself. This, I’ve realised recently, should also be applied vigorously to your relationships as well.
Technology might actually drive you crazy
I suffer from anxiety. Sometimes this anxiety manifests itself in compulsive, seemingly uncontrollable behaviour. That behaviour is almost always centred around technology, namely, social media. Now I grew up in the era of Nancy Drew, so solving mysteries just seems like a pretty cool thing to me. And nothing’s wrong with a little Harriet the Spy action from time to time, but the real problem arises when you start to create your own mysteries for you to solve. I make no apology for the fact that I’m a boss ass internet stalker, but sometimes you need to learn when to just…not look. Obsessing over what other people are doing is a sure fire way to end up with papers in St. Ann’s real quick. Sometimes I actually have to say to myself ‘Self…wtf are you doing? Get your life…’. Focus on the people you love and yourself…that’s really all the information you need floating in your stream of consciousness. Anything else is going to poison the water for you, real quick.
And this segues nicely into my next lesson…
Text life isn’t real life
My friend Veesha snapped me back to reality with this one during a mini meltdown I was having. I would extend this to include social media life isn’t real life. This shit right here is something I repeat to myself like a mantra now. With the advent of the dreaded blue ticks on What’s App in particular, the neurotic just got a little more neurotic about being communicated with via this lovely channel. But the truth is…text life IS NOT real life. Stop trying to interpret every little ‘k’ or every moment of silence…more often that not, reality is trumping cyber life at that very moment. Keep your head out of the cloud folks…shit gets crazy up there.
Fitness makes you feel yourself, a lot
I can’t say I’ve ever had awful body image issues. The worst was probably in my first year of University when I dropped to 108 lbs via a weird pseudo-eating disorder. A quick trip home fixed that right up though…once people called me ‘bird foot’ enough I was like ‘nah’. I started working out…like really going to the gym regularly, about two years ago. Right now I work out 5 to 6 days a week, and I do it not because I feel like I NEED to, but because I genuinely want to, and love to. I’ve never appreciated my body as much as I do when I’m lifting. For someone with control issues like me, it’s amazing to have something that literally I alone have control over. Once you put in the work, you see results, and that’s a great feeling. Of course your body improves aesthetically along the way, and you begin to concentrate on body fat percentage instead of weight, and eat to nourish your body instead of deprive it. Long story short – if you truly want to be happy, you better start squatting.
When people show you who they are, believe them
Well boy…this one is cliche as all hell but believe you me…it is going to save you a lot of trouble down the road if you just accept that people do not change. Well…that’s a bit extreme, people CAN change, but they’ll only really do that if they’re doing it for themselves. People are not going to change for you. Believe that. Accept that. If someone shows you they are untrustworthy, please believe they will always be that, unless they see some benefit to themselves to stop being that. If someone comes across as weak…well, sad to say, but unless they truly feel the need to be strong for themselves, they will continue to be weak for you. Women in particular like to believe that love is this magic elixir that heals the lame and restores eyesight to the blind but ahm….spoiler alert…it isn’t. Pay very close attention to the red flags…they’re red for a reason.
Life is going to check you
A lot of us – myself included – have these very lofty ideals. We think we know exactly what we want. Look! We even have a list! We know exactly what’s going to happen when, and with whom, and where and how. We are set on our course and we don’t usually step a toe out of line. I suspect what happens then is life sees this and is like..HA! Guess what bitch! CHECKED. And then you get checked. And the checking proceeds as such: something pretty huge and unexpected happens that makes you completely toss out every list you ever had for the way your life was supposed to go. There’s a saying – Man plans and God laughs. Well…yeah. God’s laughing. One of my biggest takeaways from the latter half of this year was to be more comfortable with the notion of not being in control. all. the. time. Sometimes you need to FEEL your way through something, ya dig?
This year more than most, I realised the immense value of keeping shit 100 with the people you interact with. I’ve never been a facetious person eh, don’t get me wrong, but now I realise that a lot of the trimmings and bows we think people respond positively to, are actually holding us back from being our true, awesome selves. See this world has us thinking we need to be a certain person – we need to talk, dress, act, share on social media a certain way. We’ve figured out that if we want to appear one way we have to do one particular thing. Truth be told…that’s folly. It’s an enormous waste of everyone’s time, but especially your own. I’ve started embracing and advertising the fact that I’m weird as hell and encourage everyone to stay weird. Seriously, own your flaws…and if any of them are serious enough that you want to start addressing them…actually acknowledging them openly, I think, is a great step in the right direction for being better. Stop trying to be something you are not…NOBODY is perfect…believe that. This world would function a little more sanely if people just stopped trying to ‘sell’ themselves and just allowed themselves to be loved and appreciated as they are.
No matter what happens…you’ll be just fine
I think the greatest lesson I learned, and accepted this year, is that no matter what life throws at me, I will always get past it. I may a little battered, and a little bruised, but these things heal and soon you’ll forget you ever hurt like that. We have this incredible ability to bounce back from pain, from heartache, from sorrow, from loss…when it’s happening of course, you never think you’re going to make it out alive, but then you do, and then you wonder why you ever believed you weren’t as resilient as you are. Nothing can destroy you if you don’t allow it to. Maybe you lose something huge, or something you think is huge…but my advice would be to focus on all the things you have not lost – all the people who are still in your life, and who love you and who want to see you happy. And even more than that…turn your focus inward and see that you hold limitless potential within you. You command your life because you command your state of mind, always.
Anyway, let me stop the pontificating, y’all get where I’m going with this.
Here’s to 2014, thanks for everything. I hope 2015 can be just as convoluted, complex, incredible, surprising, earth-shattering and fabulous as you were!