17 Life Lessons I Learned in 2017
Today is the last Saturday of the year and what a year it has been!
I’m honestly not one to make an annual review of my year because – I don’t know. I don’t like grading my year and evaluating if it was a “good” year or a “bad” year. I find it cool that other people do it, though. It’s just not something I personally do hehe. I actually recently read an essay piece about this and you can check it out here.
What I like to do, instead, is to reflect back on the past year and remember all the lessons I’ve learned in 2017. Because you all know how I like life lessons 😉 And also, my homeboy once said:
“Life is a succession of lessons which must be lived to be understood.”
– Ralph Waldo Emerson
So here I am, reflecting on the lessons I lived this year to understand. Grab a chair and a box of tissues or three because you might need it.
Or maybe you won’t but I might, okay? Okay.
1. There is no real world out there.
This year, I was especially tired of adults telling me about the “real world out there” as if the world we young adults are living in isn’t real.
Newsflash: it is.
Every hardship and every experience that we go through childhood, adolescence, and young adulthood will ultimately affect our adult lives. And this fact is backed by science yo. But also, like, that actually makes total sense? Because are we not molded by our own experiences? If you feel you’ve been told to prepare for the “real world out there” plenty of times, I have a post for you to check out.
2. Stop comparing your level 18 to someone else’s level 38.
It is never healthy for you, okay? As much as social media gives our comparison beast easier access for things it will compare to us, you have to constantly remind yourself that social media is a highlights reel. You don’t know what’s happening beyond that certain celebratory post or that beautifully styled photo.
3. We all have our own pace.
Sloths taught me there are those who thrive in the slow lane. And that our slow lane doesn’t necessarily mean the sloth’s slow lane. Maybe that’s just its norm.
In the same way that a squirrel’s norm is skittering at a quick pace. In the same way that a mammoth moth’s norm is a mere week more of life after becoming the huge and beautiful insect that it had become as it emerged from its cocoon. (Seriously. Sometimes Nat Geo Wild have sadder, more tear-jerker stories than any soap opera that ever existed.)
You cannot tell a life well-lived just by how much it has achieved in a certain block of time. We all grow at a different pace and we all get to where we have to go at different times.
4. You are allowed to be human.
To make mistake. To be flawed. Don’t let anyone say you can’t be like that.
Friend, nothing good comes out of obsessing on achieving perfection. Take it from a perfectionist like yours truly.
5. You define you.
Not things. Not stereotypes. Not society. You and only you define who you are. And on that note…
6. Let go of the people polluting your life.
Find yourself people who will enrich your life with support and compassion. People who will accept and love you for who you are. It is a disservice to your own self if you surround yourself with emotionally unhealthy individuals.
Remember: toxic relationships of any kind are like tooth decay. Pull that little beast out of your life for good and you will thank yourself later.
7. There are some things you simply cannot control.
And trying to control it will end in vain and you hurting. Let it go <3
8. There are some things that you cannot say.
I absolutely love the growing number of empowered people who have found the strength to use their voices this year. From amazing people who take the time to educate others of their culture even when it’s not their job, to the incredible array of individuals, both men and women, who shared the awful experiences they had in their workplace and community.
It is truly inspiring to see that more people have found how powerful their own voice can be.
But at the same time, I have also learned this year that there are simply things you cannot say.
Perhaps you just can’t say them yet or perhaps they are not something you should say ever. But I find this does not necessarily mean your voice is restrained and you are restrained. It just meant you are not harming anyone else by saying them. Does that make any sense?
9. There will be people with different opinions from yours.
Boy, being more active on Twitter this year really hit the nail for this.
There are as many opinions and perspectives as there are people. And there is nothing wrong with creating a discourse about your differing opinions. In fact, do so! To let other people see how you interpret and see these issues and share your opinion on them is the best way you could make other people see things in your perspective. And this I support 100%.
But there is a difference between “Look, here’s why I think you’re wrong and that what you’re saying is harmful to others” and “You’re SO wrong! Are you a freakin idiot?? I’m the one who’s right lalala!”
And you have to be careful not to cross that line. Otherwise, no well-intentioned discussion, that could have possibly taught all parties something, would happen.
Also, note to self: don’t feed on the trolls. They know they’re provoking you, Kate. Don’t be tempted. You’ll only satisfy them.
10. There is absolutely nothing wrong with indulging yourself.
Look, prioritizing and focusing on what matters are good and all until that’s all you ever do. Please, take care of your body.
Our bodies are not machines and, heck, even machines need breaks. So take a break too! Treat yourself to an ice cream after a long study session. Cuddle your pet for several minutes before going back to finishing that project. TAKE. A. FREAKIN. NAP.
Breaks are important and not to be taken for granted. Allow yourself to be human, remember? 🙂
11. You don’t have to show everything to everyone.
In this day and age, sharing could easily turn to oversharing. Which is not really good for most part.
I got to listen to this amazing podcast episode in Emma Gannon’s Ctrl Alt Delete where she and her guest, Rae Earl, talked about the consequences of sharing everything in your life on social media, along with body image and mental health. It’s a fun episode and if you like listening on conversations about the Internet and how it affects our lives like I do, you should definitely check out the rest of Emma’s podcast.
12. Don’t judge how other people spend the money they earn.
It is not yours. Plain and simple.
13. Changing your routine a bit can work wonders.
I shared this post on getting unstuck with life and I mentioned how writing my first drafts for blog posts on my tablet instead of typing it in my laptop as I always do helped me with my writer’s block and on actually finishing a draft. I still do it, you know. And it still works wonders!
See, you don’t have to necessarily change everything in your routine. You don’t have to do a complete routine overhaul. Simply tweaking and changing a bit here and there can already seem like both familiar and refreshing to your brain.
14. Don’t be so quick to assume someone’s character.
I’ve learned this year especially that every person has character depths. Even those that you think seem like a cookie cutter of a certain stereotype. You just don’t know them that much to see it but it’s there.
And anyway, thinking of people this way instead seem a lot better and more compassionate and more thoughtful than to simply assume everyone’s shallow, right? 🙂
15. Choose to be positive.
Because you do have a choice. And you can choose not to dwell too much on the bad stuff. Another takeaway from your resident cynic potato (aka me.)
16. Find time for your hobby.
Hobbies are important, y’all.
I’ll probably write a more in-depth post about this next year but in the meantime, know that those people who laugh at your hobby and say your hobby’s ridiculous?
They’re the kind who don’t get anything from Santa.
They’re a bunch of sad folks who have yet to find their own hobbies. Forget about them. Keep doing your hobby. (Unless, of course your hobby involves hurting other living beings badly then please please please look for a better hobby.)
17. Don’t give up.
This may seem a bit cliché but hear me out here.
Honestly, there have been plenty of trying times throughout 2017 for me. And I’ve hit a real low at some point. But you know what? A small part in me had this cliché line on repeat whenever it happened. It was just a constant phrase I hear during those low times.
And so here I am now 🙂
Friend, no matter how “good” or “bad” this year has been for you, remember that, in spite of everything, you’re still here. You’ve reached this point and you’re 200% stronger than you were at the beginning of 2017.
You probably got new battle scars all over you too. But hey! That also mean you’ve got a lot of experiences and accomplishments on your arsenal too! Don’t take that lightly. It’s huge, no matter what other people say.
And you’re gonna greet 2018 with more resilience and more strength than you’ve greeted any other year before.
Don’t give up. You got this.
I believe in you. <3
I hope you have an awesome year ahead! <3
What lessons have you learned this year? Do you also have a wise homeboy? Share it all below!
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photos from: SC Stockshop and Annie Spratt on Unsplash
WOAH such an inspiring read. I especially love #1. “…as if the world we young adults are living in isn’t real.” So so true!
Fantastic list. Fantastic post!
Thank you so much Cristian! Hope you have an awesome year ahead! 🙂
I loved this post, I learnt some of those lessons too this year. Yeah, some things don’t depend on you and that’s hard to live with but true. Never giving up is the best lesson everrrr (seriously). 🙂 And omg this summer I did few changes in my routine and not only the results were good, but they really made me happier and somehow more motivated in general, it’s weird, but it does MIRACLES!!!! 😛
Loved this post, thank you for this!! 😀 <3
Happy new year!!! 🙂
I’m hoping for the best for this coming year too! and 18 is my lucky number, so hopefully it won’t suck too bad 😛 I look forward to reading more from you in 2018 – Happy New Years xx
Aww thank you so much! I look forward to seeing more of your heartwarming comments this year! 🙂
Happy New Year! These are all such fantastic lessons. 🙂
I look forward to seeing your upcoming hobby post when you make it. I think hobbies are SO important. I honestly think that without hobbies I would be utterly lost. Having things to work on that I’m passionate about keeps me sane.
Some of the things I learned in 2017 were to be a little bolder and not be so afraid of change. Sometimes change is good, and necessary, but it tends to terrify me. lol
Here’s to a wonderful new year with plenty of more valuable lessons to be learned and memories made! 😀
I am like, 5 days late but Happy New Year to you too! 😀
YES. Hobbies are important and ohmigosh same here too! There was this one period in my 2016 when I didn’t read books for leisure, blog much, AND draw just because I told myself I need to focus on school more and gahh that was the worst decision I made.
I love those lessons and completely agree with being a little bolder! And that’s okay! I’m also still acquainting myself with change ahaha!
Hope you have an awesome year filled with great memories and experiences ahead!
Love this post, you really hit the nail on the head with all of it!! Happy new year 🙂
Aww thank you very much! Happy new year to you too!
Ohmigosh yaaas I announced the winners on my latest post 🙂 so sorry it was quite late 🙂