I tend to resist change, so I’ve been putting off my year’s reflection. But today’s the day. Tomorrow, hello 2016!
Lists are my jam. So let’s do this. Here are 7 1/2 (because 15 is just too many #TLDR) take aways from my year:
1. If you want to win first place, don’t you dare stop pushing yourself forward, even for a moment.
I began this year with Janterm at BSC. My senior capstone project: BA 499. I had to establish, run, and close a business within three weeks time. And to ‘win’ I had to raise more in revenue than my competing classmates. I honestly don’t think I have ever worked harder for something. I worked tirelessly on that project 24/7 for a month. It consumed my life. Only in moments of self-doubt did I fall behind. In the end, I succeeded.
Stay confident. You are capable. Push forward. Don’t stop.
2. A text is nice. A call may seem urgent. A letter is rare, unique, personal, and appreciated.
I’m a writer. Pen to paper kinda writer. And I wholeheartedly believe in the power of a letter.
Taking the time out of your week to write, even simply 3-5 sentences to someone, is something special. Find cute cards. Buy some postage, and show the people you love that you love ’em.
3. That which you think you can’t do, you probably can if you try. And then try again.
During the miserable couch debacle of 2015, I was losing hope that I was cut out for adulthood. I was slowly giving up on the thought that I’d find a decent, affordable couch and then LIFT said couch up three flights of stairs into our apartment. But… I did. With the help of my sweet roommates, I can now look back on that awful day with pride and just laugh.
4. Mental illness is normal.
Mental illness is a scary term that makes it sound like anyone diagnosed with it is at some sort of extreme. They’re crazy! That is not the case. In fact because of the melodramatic name, many disregard mental illness altogether and don’t consider it a real diagnosis. Others agree that people may be mentally ill, but certainly not anyone that they know, because… they’re not crazy.
This year I learned mental illness is real. And it is normal. In fact, according to the National Alliance on Mental Illness, in a given year approximately 20% of adults in America experience mental illness. Mental illness manifests itself in different ways, from anxiety to body dysmorphia disorder and depression to bipolar disorder. I continue to learn more about types, causes, symptoms, and treatments allowing me to better understand and empathize with myself and others. I encourage you to seek similar education as well.
5. Find what you love, and do more of it.
Whether it’s writing, crafting, hiking, dancing, or spending quality time with your roommates, don’t wait. I’ve spent more time doing what makes me happy this year. And I’ve been happier as a result.
Make the time. Schedule a little bit of that you love into every week.
6. “Putting yourself out there” is a real thing.
And it’s hard. Especially as an introvert, putting yourself out there can be terrifying. What does it really mean? Allow yourself to do things you want to do, to meet new people, to try new things, to share yourself with others, to be vulnerable. You may fail at first, but in the process you may unknowingly open doors of opportunity. You may learn more about yourself or about someone else. And that in itself is a worthy reward.
7. Whatever it is that makes you you, be that. Do that. Love that. “Those that mind don’t matter, and those that matter don’t mind.” -Dr. Seuss
This year I tried sushi for the first time. Being an obsessive photo taker, I had to document the moment. My sweet, patient friends with Snapchat pulled up on their phones, waiting for me to taste the Asian rolls of goodness first watched me meticulously arrange my food and place setting and snap a few pictures. They didn’t judge me or get annoyed. They were patient and kind.
Point: Some people judge you for being you. Others love you for being you. Those are the ones that matter, so just keep being you. You are loved.
7 1/2. Sit down and reflect on your year. What are your take aways?