The 4 Lessons 2016 Taught Me

 

Hi there. Yes, it’s me. Yes, I’m still doing this blog thing. No, you don’t have to read it if you don’t want to, but it would mean something to me. I suppose.

No lies, I’m pretty pumped to get Mess In Progress back up and running. It’s a new year filled with new goals, messes, and more, right? I certainly hope so, both for my own satisfaction and for whoever is reading this.

I want to start off 2017 with a balance of some kind, so I want to reflect back on everything 2016 taught me and what exactly I plan on doing with all of it now and in the future. I learned way more about life than I even thought possible last year and if any of my experiences can benefit you than that’s awesome. If not, consider yourself honored to have a sneak peek into my life. Side note: Sorry if swearing offends you. I promise I keep it to a minimum when I feel like it.

Life Lesson #1: Alone time isn’t a punishment.

I use to dread being alone. I didn’t like doing things on my own. The thought of going to a restaurant by myself not only seemed weird, but depressing. If left to my own devices I’d become lazy, grumpy, dreary, and desperate for any kind of conversation with any person who happened to come along next. Most of the time that was my old roommate, who happened to be my ex-boyfriend, who is still one of my best friends. Complicated, but I’ve always been complex. Anyways, due to the proximity of our living situation, I definitely was “annoying and never shut up,” which is 100% true, because I love being around people and if left alone for too long I have a million different things I had to discuss.

However, 2016 gave me ample time and opportunities to do things on my own. Most of my classes were outside of the music department (a.k.a. home base). I got a job that required most of my days to be in an office. Not to mention, my work and school schedule were the exact opposite of almost everyone I actually wanted to spend time with. After moping for two weeks about how lonely I felt, I sucked it up and decided to deal. What did I do on my own first? Honestly, binge watch Always Sunny in Philadelphia. Then it progressed to going to restaurants, grocery shopping, and more, all solo. Alone time was not the devil I thought it was. I actually enjoyed it. It gave me time to figure out who and what I actually liked and I got to do whatever I wanted when I wanted.

Basically, no matter how dependent you think you are on social interactions, taking the time to be on your own can be a rewarding and rejuvenating experience. So I’m taking that into this new year with me. Alone time. Not as a punishment, but as a method of relaxation.

Life Lesson #2: Taking risks pays off.

I’ve always been hesitant to take big chances. 2016 was a year of tumultuous change for me though and I was exhausted by the fact that I had no control of my life. It seemed like I was just getting tossed around until maybe something would stick.

So I started seeking out things that I could do to create positive change.

Forget waiting for something positive to happen. If you want something to happen you need to make it happen.

I applied to a job on a whim. And I got a dope ass job at the Career Development Center, which I love because I get to work on projects that I care about and with technology and strategies that are in my intended field. I signed up for a music history class I didn’t need so that I could travel to Europe. I was fed up with my lack of motivation to exercise, so I jumped into the deep end and signed up for a half marathon. I started a project that, finger’s crossed, will end up being a successful music business conference.

That’s the attitude I want to bring into this year. If I have the opportunity to do it now, why wait? If I would have waited on applying to the Career Development Center I would have missed the application due date by a single day. Traveling to Europe? I had the money, I took the class (music history), and I fulfilled one of my lifelong dreams traveling to Venice, on my birthday no less. By May, after an immense amount of hard work, I’ll have run a half marathon, put on a music business conference, and graduated from college with an intensive major, two minors, and honors. I’m not bragging. I’m proud of what I’ve accomplished and excited about what’s coming next.

Life Lesson #3: Don’t be a bitch to yourself.

Ever start a resolution and then fail two days later? Same. I can start a million projects without any problem. How many projects have I finished? Um, rough estimate…ten?  I’m an idea person. Give me a pen, paper, and 20 minutes and I’ll have 15 ideas for various projects, businesses, contests, social media marketing strategies, and a grocery list. Following through on my projects, delegating tasks, and not waiting until the last minute to wrap things up are my weaknesses.

What that means is when I fell off of my healthy eating kick in July, I gave in and had pizza like four times that week. If I didn’t run a mile fast enough during my workout I’d deem myself a failure and stop working out for a month. If I couldn’t complete it perfectly I didn’t want to complete it at all. I would berate and belittle myself for one slip up. Why? Low self-esteem mixed with my ambitious, slightly perfectionist, micro-managing personality maybe.

One of my friends told me something that I had heard before, but it finally clicked for some reason in about September.

Would you talk to the people you cared about the way you talk to yourself?

If the answer is no, then you need to care about and love yourself more. I started surrounding myself with positive sayings, including my phone’s lock screen. I’d wake up in the morning and smile in the mirror, even if I didn’t want to. Learning to finally love me was one of my biggest accomplishments in 2016. Now I can proudly say, I love myself because I’m me and no one else is. And that’s fucking liberating.

So now, because of my newfound self-love, if I end up going to Pizza Ranch and eating the buffet instead of going to the gym to run and lift weights I’m not going to freak out and quit all healthy activities. I’ll eat more veggies, drink more water, work out, and start fresh tomorrow.

Life Lesson #4: Always get back up.

2016 ended with tweets and memes everywhere about how it was one of the worst years ever. People couldn’t wait for it to end, myself included. The world, especially the United States, was way too chaotic. I’ll be honest, I was extremely disappointed in the outcome of the election. And before you get offended, no, I am not a “bleeding heart, feminist liberal” as some people have called me. I’m libertarian. I actually have conservative views on economic policies and gun control, but I also believe in pro-choice, same-sex marriage, the legalization of marijuana, and that black lives matter. I don’t believe a person as despicable as Trump should be the leader of a nation.

Okay, that being said, instead of letting the election and other events get me down, I thought back to when I was in softball. When you’re down by a couple of hits, instead of giving up, you rally. No matter how bad the situation is, find the energy, even if it’s fake, to cheer and get motivated. That energy is infectious and will become genuine. Then step up to bat, watch the ball, and get a few RBIs. Instead of dwelling in the disappointment of the election, I rallied. I had conversations with people who voted republican, democrat, and third party to gain some understanding. I donated to Planned Parenthood. I began researching ways to get more involved in making sure our environment is protected, that all children have access to education, and that reports and cases of sexual assault and harassment are taken seriously.

2016 taught me that getting back up is what really matters and that it never hurts to keep working toward something I care about. Now it’s time to see what 2017 brings. Here’s to keeping this mess I call a life on an upward spiral.

Mess In Progress is back! I want to hear all about what you learned in 2016 even if it’s just a new dad joke. Also, if you don’t subscribe how will you know anything about my messy life?

 

 

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