A year of growth, a year of finding who I am on my own terms and a year of, in the eloquent words of Kylie Jenner, “realizing stuff.” But I guess that happens when you’re 21-years old. You, in fact, realize stuff. You also grow up. You literally can feel yourself growing up sometimes. You feel yourself molding into your own person. And you mature. Sometimes you feel too mature because suddenly you find yourself at a frat party in a sweaty basement and feel like a 30-year old housewife that stumbled upon the wrong house when looking for her book club (or better said, wine club). Or is that just me? Anyone else? No? Amazing.
2017 was a year of discovering that aesthetically pleasing Instagram stories are in fact way too satisfying and I will continue to spend way too much time making them in 2018. Sorry.
It was also a year of discovering that hangovers become so much worse when you turn 21-years old and someone must have forgotten to give me instructions on how to find a job after graduation because everyone else seems to have them and I feel left out and completely overwhelmed.
As I recap my year, as I reflect on the messy, beautiful, exhausting, humbling year that was 2017 I thought I’d share some things I learned. Because we all know that sharing is caring.
Realizing Stuff in 2017
One, if you haven’t heard of the 5 Love Languages, they are real, they are trending and they are life-changing. Find your love language and then proceed to tell everyone you know so they can love you best and you can love them best. It’s a magical thing, I’m telling you. (p.s mine is quality time and positive affirmation)
Two, if you get a chance to spend St. Patrick’s Day in Dublin, do it. It’s not overrated but it is very VERY cold and liquor stores aren’t open during the day so stock up the day before or you’ll spend all your rent money on pints of cider (or beer if you’re into that kind of stuff).
Three, (time for the waterworks) you don’t need anyone else’s affirmation. I’ll repeat that. You. Don’t. Need. Anyone. Else’s. Affirmation. Not everyone in this world is going to understand you or feel inclined to support you or empower you and certainly, not everyone will appreciate how you choose to live life. But hey, that’s okay.
It’s okay to let go of people who make you feel like you’re not allowed to be yourself. Because your soul, your spirit, and your sparkle don’t need to be dimmed, don’t deserve to be dimmed. We have edges for a reason, embrace them.
My mom sent me this quote on Instagram the other day (proud daughter moment that my mom knows how to use Instagram messenger),
“You will always be too much of something for someone: too big, too loud, too soft, too edgy. If you round out your edges, you lose your edge.
Apologize for mistakes. Apologize for unintentionally hurting someone – profusely. But don’t apologize for being who you are.”
Four, mental health and self-love isn’t just a trend or a hashtag. I mean, it’s about dang time it’s found itself in the spotlight because it’s about dang time we treat our mental health as an equal to our physical health. It’s just as important.
I learned this year, especially, that you’re ALLOWED to treat a cold the same way as you would anxiety attack. If you need to take a “sick day” because you’re overwhelmed and need to take a second for yourself then that’s okay! Don’t push yourself because you feel like you have to, do what YOU need to do to serve YOURself, inside and out.
Five, I learned that it’s okay to be sensitive sometimes. Pretending to be someone you are not just hurts you in the end. Trust me.
Washington, DC is a city I’ve called home for the past three years. It’s a fast-paced, straightforward, sometimes aggressive city where it feels like everyone is moving a mile a minute focusing on where they’re going and how successful they are about to be but not always focusing on who is around them. It’s a city that doesn’t really cater to those who are of the sensitive or less direct kind.
I’ve finally (three years late) come to the realization that I don’t need to conform to a place if it doesn’t feel natural or comfortable. I can still be my sensitive, spontaneous, positive, not-so-confrontational self in a place, even if it doesn’t feel like it’s designed for me.
Six, I realized that dreams are allowed to change. Plans are allowed to change. Don’t force anything just because that’s what you “thought” you wanted. Don’t feel compelled to do something because you’ve told everyone about it. Let your passion, your career, let your vision change.
Seven, set your OWN damn soul on fire. I keep getting reminded that the only person in charge of my happiness is myself. And happiness doesn’t just come from aimlessly going throughout life, it comes from being intentional (hence why I believe EVERYONE should set some kind of intention)
Happiness comes from making time for your passions and for what sets your soul on fire.
If you LOVE interning, then intern every semester. If you LOVE running, then train for a half marathon. If you LOVE yoga, then become a yogi. If you LOVE reading, then camp out at the library.
For me? I’m a girl who loves a good adventure with some great friends.
Eight, it’s okay to give a crap. It’s cool to care.
I learned this year that it’s okay to love hard. To fight for relationships. To buy gifts out of the blue for people. To give your everything to something. People may not understand you but if you like it (if you LOVE it) then it’s okay to give a crap about it.
Nine, be extra if you want to be extra.
Wear a flower crown on your birthday (guilty), put on that cheetah print jacket, use a disposable camera, buy those fake lashes, stand up at a restaurant to take a picture of your food (SUPER guilty), buy that $50 collagen that your favorite food blogger swears by.
Post on Instagram, don’t post on Instagram but don’t make fun of someone for posting on Instagram. Create a blog or don’t create a blog but don’t make fun of someone for creating a blog. Brag about your accomplishments online or don’t brag about your accomplishments online but don’t make fun of someone for bragging about their accomplishments online. Okay, I think you get it…
Basically what I’m saying is don’t yuck anyone else’s yum and don’t let someone yuck your yum.
Never let ANYONE let you feel dumb for wearing something, doing something or caring about something that you like. It’s your world friend, don’t let anyone shame you into doing anything less than what you love.
Life is TOO short and will be far TOO boring if you don’t let yourself be your best self.
Ten, DATE EVERYONE. Probably my favorite lesson of the year. Date the people in your life because it’s easy to let life happen without spending quality one-on-one time with the people who matter most. Time goes by FAST (I mean please someone tell me how I graduate college in May?)
Ask the deep questions, the questions that you don’t know the answer to via social media.
Dating can be applied to any relationship. Date your co-worker. Date your friends. Date your boyfriend. Date your girlfriend. Date your mom.
Eleven (because I couldn’t stop at just ten), tell yourself your beautiful, tell your best friend they’re beautiful, compliment the barista, call your dad to tell him you appreciate him, tell your friend you’re proud of them, text someone you haven’t seen a while and tell them you’ve been thinking of them, if someone posts about a new job/internship then text them and congratulate them, tell the person you look up to that you look up to them.
Go out of your way to vomit kindness into the world. We all know that after a year like this, kindness is something we desperately need more of as a nation and as communities.
Positivity and kindness are pretty magical and we are all capable of utilizing them MORE.
So, that’s what I learned. I also learned why biodiversity is imperative to the survival of ecosystems in my sustainability class but I figured that’s not as exciting to read about.
That’s all for now beautiful friends,