March 19th 2020
It’s better late than never…
Okay, so I understand that it has been a while and that I really have very little excuse for why one of my last posts was about being back even though I immediately followed it with a 5 month hiatus, but I think I am ready to finally ease myself back into this blogging thing. I thank any of you have stuck with me even though my page was dead for a few months and I hope I can come back and deliver more content to you in 2020 and start this new decade doing what I love most which is writing.
So, 24 was a bit of a turbulent year for me and a lot happened since this time last year and it was probably the most uncomfortable growth I had experienced in years. That being said, I did gain a lot of valuable lessons and insights from last year that I hope to carry into this new year and use to make myself and my life a bit better and easier moving forward. I also hope that some of these valuable lessons can be beneficial to anyone reading as I like to think that, in times of struggle, the lessons I learn can be used to help others and not just myself.
So, without further introduction, here are 25 things I learned about life, myself, and the world around me in my 25th year of life:
- Sometimes the best solution is leaving things alone- This lesson came to me in a very strange way so here it goes. Last year, my friend Katie came to visit me in my new home in North Carolina and we decided to watch a movie through my Roku TV. There was a point in the movie that the frame rate dropped, and the quality dropped too and normally I would fix this by pausing the movie or rewinding a bit or restarting the WiFi. This time, however, I left the movie alone and within a minute, the whole thing cleared up. That is sort of how I have been approaching my pettier problems lately, especially in my relationship. If it doesn’t matter in the long run, I drop it…or at least I’ve tried to. Sometimes I still need to learn when to drop certain things and when I should speak up but I have definitely progressed.
- There is no shame in admitting when you need some mental health help- I will fully admit that since around July of last year, my mental health was on the decline for quite a while before I decided to do anything about it. New stressors like a new job, new relationship, missing friends and familiarity of my old home, and even just changes in my body really had me feeling a bit crazed. I was (and still occasionally have) manic mood swings, bouts of depression, severe anxious episodes, and wild spirals from overthinking. This really weighed heavy on my relationship and made working e-commerce during the holidays even harder than it would normally be without these factors. However, I have really made an effort to get my mental health under control. I am beginning to seek more professional help, talking to my loved ones more, and being more candid about mental health related issues with people that matter most in my life. There is nothing wrong with telling people that you are not performing at your best because you are struggling with your mental health.
- Going to sleep early and waking up early really help me be the most productive version of myself- I think I really learned this from my boyfriend and I think I’ll find that a lot of my list will be things I’ve learned from either work, my boyfriend, or the one new friend I made here. My boyfriend really pushed the value of getting a full night’s sleep and the value of taking naps. We go to sleep between 9 and 10 most nights and typically wake up between 6 and 7 in the morning, even on weekends. Now, I am adjusted to this schedule personally and find myself waking up naturally and comfortably between 6 and 7. This has helped me maximize my time and get more done early on in my day.
- Exercise is good for my mental health- I have gotten into a relatively consistent routine with my mom attending multiple workout classes a week. I have really started to place a higher value on getting in shape and I really hope that in my next trip around the sun that I can start working towards more of my fitness goals. If my boyfriend and I continue to progress in our relationship, then I really owe him at least an attempt at Crossfit (which scares me). But I have really found that my mental health has improved by going back to my roots and doing more yoga and getting in a good sweat at least a few days a week.
- Love isn’t always expressed in the ways you are used to- My boyfriend and I have been on a journey and learning and appreciating how the other enjoys giving and receiving affection. I am way more lovey with my affection. I am very vocal and will write long messages and say I love you a lot and show my love through selfless acts and by putting the other person and their feelings first. My boyfriend, on the other hand, is way less vocal and showy with how he loves so I have to recognize his love in its subtlety. He shows his love by random messages of appreciation, small gestures, and by listening. Calling me on his drive home from the gym or to tell me about things that make him excited, anxious, angry, or sad are all ways that he shows he loves me. I am still working on being more receptive to his style of love, but I am trying my best.
- Distance doesn’t hurt true friendships- My biggest concern when moving was that I would lose friends after a few months of being away or that the closeness would fade after everyone got used to me being gone. However, I really feel like things have not changed at all between my friends and me. If anything, I think I may have unlocked new ways of being even closer with them than before.
- Moving out is expensive- I finally got my own place and I have just gone through the process of furnishing it by the time this post goes up and it never occurred to me how expensive getting my own place would be. Like to make my space look the way I want it, I have spent so much but I also really love the opportunity to express my personal style a bit more than in the past living under my parent’s roof.
- People handle conflict differently and you can’t always expect someone to approach it in a way that makes you most comfortable- My current boyfriend is the first guy I have ever dated that hasn’t let me get away with my shit. I am not used to dating someone who calls me out for my bad habits or has had something to say when I point out his bad habits. The fighting stresses me out sometimes but it has also taught me about the value of communication. We are still not perfect at resolving conflict, but we are definitely learning how the other approaches things and what is going through our heads individually during arguments.
- It is okay to not be the best- I always had it in my head that if I wasn’t one of the best and most knowledgeable at the table, I was doing something wrong. I am all for having people to learn from, but I have had this deeply ingrained fear of being the weakest link and it has honestly done a lot to cripple me in the work environment. By constantly worrying about looking like the worst, I held myself back from putting my ideas out there or having any confidence whatsoever. I’m starting to shed my desire to be the best and begun to just accept where I’m at and understand that, if I work hard, I’ll get to where I’m meant to be.
- I need to learn to unplug a bit- I spend a lot of time online at work just to go home and spend more time texting and scrolling through social media and I’ve learned that I need to unplug from being in 24/7 communication with people. I still like talking to people every day, but I also place a high value on personal space and space to grow as an individual. Since I moved, I feel like I haven’t allowed myself that same independent space to grow that I used to. I’m hoping that moving out on my own will give me the opportunity to take some time to relax, write, watch content that makes me feel at ease, read more, do yoga, etc.
- There is nothing wrong with spending money on yourself- I have had this constant battle with myself when it comes to spending money. I have always found that spending money on small things for myself has made me anxious because, even if I needed something, I still found the idea of shelling out the cash to be intimidating and wasteful. However, since I started working and getting salary, I have tried to open myself up to indulging a bit more…now I just need to waste a bit less on food.
- I am not professionally competitive and that is okay- I learned this quite recently…and by “learned”, I mean admitted to myself recently that I am just not a professionally competitive person. I am not the kind of person to read tons of articles or do tons of extra work on the weekends or jump through hoops to beat out others and advance my career. I’ve never been career minded. My professional goals are just to be happy, make enough money to live within my means while still being able to afford things that would make me happy, and staying sane. I don’t have dreams of being a CEO and that is completely alright.
- Love is a choice as much as it is a feeling- I guess I’ve always sort of known this, but I never really framed it this way until recently. But love isn’t only about feeling butterflies when you’re with the other person. It is about caring about them enough to make a conscious effort to show them you care every day, even on the days where it is hard or exhausting or even when it doesn’t seem worth it. Love is a conscious effort
- Some of the best memories are made completely by accident- Trying to squeeze IKEA furniture in my boyfriend’s car on the day he asked me to be his girlfriend. Accidentally going to the Bay Bridge instead of the Golden Gate Bridge with my coworker. Getting moved to pit by surprise when I flew home to see Jon Bellion in concert. Finding a random innertube in the hallway of my hotel in Florida. Going out to a random karaoke bar with all my coworkers on a random Thursday night. All random happenings that had a big impact on how I experienced my year. Being open to things not going how they were originally planned is a large part of the human experience. Happy accidents are a thing.
- Writing has done way more for me than I ever realized- Taking a long break from writing made me realize how much writing has shaped me as a person. Writing has changed the way I express myself verbally to people. Writing has helped me be more creative at work and, in turn, has helped me create content that benefits the rest of the team. Writing helps me get my anxiety out and work through things through written word. Writing has helped me capture memories and feelings. Writing has honestly given me this ability to share my voice with people all over the world. That is why I intend to get back into it this year.
- Creative burnout is so so real- I am incredibly burnt out even after taking a few months off from writing on my blog. My blog wasn’t really the root of my creative burnout problems, work was mostly. But my blog is what fell through the cracks as a result. I would work 9-10 hour days doing nothing but writing and creating content just to go home and work a second job that expected me to do the same and as a result, my brain just didn’t have any more room to get creative on this platform. I am still actively trying to combat burnout by taking on tasks at work that don’t require as much creative writing and doing more creative exercises outside of work to balance out the fatigue.
- A work/life balance matters more than you realize- Ever since I started working at my current job, I have become incredibly aware of the importance of a healthy work/life balance. At this current moment in time, I feel like my work/life balance has improved slightly since when I started writing this post in early February, however, I know I could separate work and life a bit more for myself than I probably do. It doesn’t help that the current pandemic has moved my work into my life space because I am currently working from home. A poor work/life balance has really done a number on my mental health, so I really encourage any person looking to make any big transition in their career to be aware of how much time you are taking a day or a week to unplug from your professional mindset and feed your soul.
- Society is way more fragile than we think- In the time of a global pandemic in which many cities and countries are going into full lock down, I have become incredibly aware of how much structure in our society is just a construction that can be completely erased in an instant. Simple pleasures like going to the gym, mall, or out to eat are completely null and void for the time being and it has really made me realize how quickly things can escalate and how quickly the entire foundation of society can change.
- It is okay to take a break and come back to something- This post is exhibit A. I took a long break from posting for the sake of my mental health in the hopes that I would regain my fire for writing and begin writing again. It was a longer break than I would have liked and I didn’t exactly plan for it, but I am glad I did it and I hope I can come back with even more content soon and give you a look into the time I was away and what I have been dealing with emotionally and mentally and what insights I’ve gained from time away. I feel like this applies to just about anything. Taking a break can really add a bit of perspective to why you started doing something in the first place.
- My passions lie more in personal growth and happiness than the do in building a fancy career for myself- I had this realization relatively recently but I believe I have really known this all along. I have never truly been passionate about getting really high up in a career or making tons of money or being a boss. I have always cared more about making myself happy, making others happy, and feeling fulfilled in the long run. This realization has really caused me to shift gears in my career and I have started to think about where I hope to go from here and whether or not the path I am on now is really where I want to be.
- Growth is not a linear process- Getting better doesn’t mean never faltering or failing. It doesn’t mean that the moment you decide to be better that you never sink back into old habits or make similar mistakes. Growth doesn’t happen all at once and part of growth is forgiving yourself for little failures along the way.
- If you want to see something get done, make the plans- I found that the best way for me to get organized and get things done is to just write things down and actually put the plans out there. I do this with work and with life. I just write down what I want to see happen or what my ideas are and, even if I never go back to the document again, I find that the act of writing it down has really helped me feel more prepared and thought out.
- Spending time outside and taking drives are my favorite ways to recharge- Spending a little time outside or taking nighttime drives are two of my favorite ways to clear my head and recharge. My boyfriend and I have gotten into the habit of doing both more recently (mostly because we can’t do much else in quarantine) and it helps a lot, especially after a long work day or just a long day in general.
- There is a lot of value in writing just for myself- Before I made a blog, all I did was lots and lots of personal writing. I had a journal nearly full of just thoughts and feelings and ideas and plans that I didn’t share with anyone. Actually, the thing was, I was afraid to share my feelings with anyone because I wasn’t confident enough in my writing to do so. Now, I am great at writing for an audience and suck at writing for myself. One of my 2020 goals is to write for myself again so I have something to look back on at the end of the year to make my personal progress.
- A year, even a bad one, is only 365 days- I have had less-than-stellar years before and this year may not be off to the best start, but even if this turns out to be the worst year I’ve ever had, everything is only temporary.
Okay, so that was a super long and I apologize for the lengthiness, but it has been a while so I had a lot to say. I am going to publish this now and work on some other stuff. I am hoping to have 1 post a week out for now and eventually bump it up to 2 then hopefully back up to 3 within the next year or so! I’m not sure what my regular posting day is going to be but once I figure that out I will keep you all informed.
Thank you so much to everyone who stayed following despite my disappearance. I am excited to dive back into everything.