As a new year approaches, we often like to make changes and improvements to ourselves and the life we live. We call them New Year’s Resolutions. We’re going to resolve all our issues! We’re going to lose that last 5 pounds. We’re going to run at least 4 times a week. We’re going to eat so much healthier, maybe even go vegan. We’re going to find true love at the local coffee shop where we’re going to read more Tolstoy!
Let’s be realistic for a moment. The new year is a great point in time to get ourselves back on the right path. There is nothing wrong with that at all. As we thought about what to write for our “New Year” post, neither of us make New Year’s resolutions so we weren’t going to write about that… However, we do think it is important to look at the year behind us. How did we grow and mature? What did we achieve, both big and small? What lessons did we learn from our many mistakes? What have we learned about ourselves and how can we go forth in this next year, equipped with everything we learned from last year?
It’s important to remember not to dwell on the past, but rather reflect.
So here is a little list of things we both learned in 2015 that we hope to carry with us as we enter the new year filled with new experiences:
- Be true to yourself
- It’s such a catch 22 to be true to yourself while being a young adult because all you want is to impress people and make people like you but also at the same time, what is the point in people liking you if it really isn’t who you are? I moved home this past year after being gone for 5 years and it was honestly so humbling to see which friends from college stopped caring to keep in touch, which friends eventually stopped answering my texts, and which friends I realized I didn’t need in my life. At that point, in realizing how the true friends i made before college were still here for me back home even after in some cases 9 years without seeing each other, who cares? There are people out there who will like you for who you are and who you have been and their are people who won’t. It’s a lot better to stop worrying about it all the time and just be true with yourself and not give a care about anything else. ~ Alex
- I think this is one of the hardest things to do because even in my mid-20s, I still want to please others. However, this year I’ve learned to love myself and my weirdness. I’ve embraced my love of online video gaming which has introduced me to many wonderful people. I’ve embraced my love of science fiction and fantasy, which as fueled many enjoyable conversations with people I’d never expect. I’ve accepted my antisocial tendencies and others have taken note. ~Whitney
- Life doesn’t always go as planned
- This is the biggest lesson I learned this year in the hardest way. I spent so much of my life off and on and then full speed ahead in college with going to Law School being the plan. I was going to be the next Elle Woods. Because honestly, law school, “what, like its hard?” Okay. Real talk. Law school is a buttload of money and unless you are certain it is what you want, do not do it. But what about my life plan? What am I doing now? Oh no. Begin mid year panic. I found the mortgage path. Yay. Mid year panic over. Life on track. That’s cute. Did you know the Mortgage Loan Originator Licensing test is actually really freakin’ hard? Thus commencing my end of year panic. I was supposed to be licensed by October and working in mortgage by November. It’s January and I’m still studying. But over the course of the month of December, I have had about fifteen Real Adulting Adults tell me “Surprise Alex (or some use of my last name here), life doesn’t always go as planned. Its okay” So I’m not licensed yet per my plan, plans change, plans evolve, thats okay. ~Alex
- This is a lesson I am constantly learning. This year was the most chaotic year, I think, of my life. There were moments when I thought I would seriously just pack up & move to Antarctica and there were moments I never wanted to end. I had planned, replanned, and replanned my plans that I felt as life itself was spiraling out of control. Instead, life was taking me down the exact path I needed to be on. Often I thought I would never make it to the end of year with my sanity in check, but look! I did! And I love where I ended up! ~Whitney
- Put yourself first sometimes
- I’ve always been the friend who lets myself suffer for the benefit of my friends and loved ones. I shed off more and more of me and bottle up more and more emotions because I don’t want to burden anyone, they already have their own problems, and its my responsibility to take them on as well. That’s what friends do. No. I learned about halfway through 2015 (wow, mid year was a major eye opening time for me) that I’m a better person and a better friend when I start putting myself first and taking care of myself. My mental health and serenity needs to be most important in order for me to be properly there for anyone else. And you know what? Sometimes its okay to just tell your friends no, not now. Whether it be “no I really can’t go out” “no I don’t want to go out” “No I’m going through a lot right now and need not to listen to other peoples’ problems” it’s okay. I have done more in the past year for myself than I ever have before and I’ve never been so emotionally stable. ~Alex
- This year I have learned a fascinating new word. No. (Well, actually no, thank you.) I have always been an introvert, yet it seems for the past 15 years I have always stretched my comfort level in the social realm. Throughout 2015, I found myself choosing a night in with a good book and hot cup of tea instead of socializing with others in a public environment. The first few times, I felt extreme guilt, but after a while I realized that I needed those moments. I needed time for myself in order to be there for the ones I cared about. Having a little “me” time was a huge lesson I learned in 2015 that I will definitely carry into 2016 and the years to come. ~Whitney
- Enjoy the little things
- Life is short. We don’t really have time to dwell on the small things and ignore the little fun things in life. You never know when your time to come will happen (because remember, life doesn’t always go as planned!). It’s important to enjoy all the little things, spend the 6$ on that latte you love, smile at the squirrel running up a tree, treat yo self to that build your own pizza or sushi you’ve been craving. Do it. Do all the little things that make life just a little bit extra. One thing I started doing pretty religiously this year, baths. Bath bombs, epsom baths, aromatherapy baths, bubble baths, and any other bath you can imagine. This is my time with me for me. It helps me unwind and it is such a little blip on the radar of life that makes life so much better. Life is happening all around you, enjoy it. ~Alex
- Life should be fun, free, and memorable. Too often I find the society I’m in to be constricting. Don’t eat that, don’t wear that, don’t say that, don’t read that, don’t watch that, all your time must be productive, always look busy…… This year I have learned to slow it down. Taking a moment to sit on my balcony and listen to the birds is liberating. And I only “wasted” 5 minutes! Taking the time and saving a little money to grab a chai latte before a knowingly crazy shift did wonders on my mental health. Taking the time to just hug someone you care deeply about seems to make that day’s troubles melt away. Taking a 30 minute walk to the store instead of a 2 minute drive inspires conversations otherwise lost. We only have 100 years (give or take) on this Earth, it is important to enjoy as much as we can. ~Whitney
So let us welcome 2016 with open arms and an open mind, equipped with the knowledge and experiences of 2015!