December 28th 2020
Every time I feel I finally understand the meaning of hard growth, I get hit with something new…
I’ve often heard it said that the week between Christmas and New Year is a lawless land. Spotify Wrapped has already come out so it is free game to listen to all of your guilty pleasure playlists without hurting your street cred, you still get to live on the high of that “I’ll start my diet after the new year starts” promise as you fill yourself with reheated Christmas dinner, and no one is really too invested in work or anything and we all sort of just become sloths for a week. This week, I decided to take off of work which is super rare for me (I had 70 hours of PTO left over this year if that speaks for me work ethic/severe work FOMO). So now seems as good a time as any to slowly dip my toes back into blogging and tapping into that writer brain of mine.
Right now I’m sitting at a Starbucks, outside in 40° weather enjoying an iced latte and pretending life is normal. My boyfriend is in bed on the second hour of his 30 minute nap and I got tired of waiting around so I took myself out. A development I’m both disappointed in and proud of as, although I’d love for him to spend time with me during my off days, I am also proud of the growth I’ve accomplished to be able to go to Starbucks alone and just write without fear of judgment. And with that little “establishment of setting”, I think I am ready to get into my list of things I learned in 2020.
- I learned the value of alone time and my own company- I used to SUCK at doing things alone. Even small trips to the store were a lot for me and now I’m doing so many things alone with ease. I think part of this came from ending a relationship back in May and spending a few months single and with very few friends in my area that encouraged me to really thrive in my own company.
- You can begin again and again and again- Every ending is a new beginning. I used to think that was a corny thing people would say to encourage you to get over sad things like losing a friend or moving away or breaking up or something but it is actually so true. In this year I moved from my parents house to an apartment to my boyfriend’s house back to my apartment, was broken up with by my boyfriend, found a new boyfriend, lost my old car, gained a new car, lost my crazy and gained a therapist. I am learning that there are unlimited ways to be reborn.
- Don’t convince yourself you’re “too okay” for therapy- I am SOOOO guilty of this. I spent years telling myself I didn’t need therapy because I fully believed that my problems weren’t important enough to warrant seeing a therapist but I love speaking with my therapist so much. It is honestly the highlight of my week. It gives me the ability to let go of problems in the moment and put them in a little box I lovingly call my “I can’t wait for therapy” box where I can just let out all of my grievances from the week, even if they are super petty and small. I honestly think it has helped me with problem solving and conflict resolution so much, as well as encouraging me to become less attached to outcomes and things that stress me out. I would recommend therapy to any person who has the means to obtain it and has been questioning whether or not their issues are “important enough” for it.
- Everyone is fighting their own battles and, just because someone’s is harder than yours, doesn’t mean yours are insignificant- You can’t walk away from your own life. When stuff is hard and life gets overwhelming and confusing it is impossible to just turn it off and walk away. So the next time someone tells you that someone else has it worse, acknowledge the prospective that offers but also give yourself a pat on the back for enduring your own personal hardships. Having your own hardships, no matter how small, still counts and they are still valid.
- Caring about politics is way more important than ever before- If you know me, I am very anti-politics. I really hate getting into the nitty-gritty of political talk but, this year more than ever before, I found it important to develop an opinion. I guess I always had an opinion but it is way more substantive than in previous years. While I feel like many of my peers are more politically informed than I am, I am definitely making more of an effort to understand political policy and how it will impact my life and the lives of those that matter to me.
- The passage of time doesn’t make certain issues any better- I used to think that because it was 2020 that we would all have evolved passed racism and homophobia but this year has really shown me that a lot of us are still living in the past and really need a lesson in human decency in the 21st century. This is your friendly reminder that we are all humans regardless of our skin or sexual orientation and how others live their life is none of your business so long as they aren’t endangering anyone. I think I am going to make a post soon with some good small businesses, charities, articles, etc. that you can use to educate yourself and show your support to people who deserve to be recognized, helped, and supported. (plus it gives me the excuse to educate myself too)
- A work/life balance is so vital to maintaining mental health- I learned this but I still haven’t gotten to the point where I can confidently say I have a good grasp on my work/life balance. I spent so much of this year grinding at my job to the point that I feel incredibly burnt out and I struggle to maintain a healthy work ethic. I am taking time off now in the hopes that I will come back refreshed, but I definitely let my lack of work/life balance slip for too long and I suffered for it. So, my advice to you is to talk to your boss or supervisor early on before you start losing your mind. I did earlier this year and my work life has improved tenfold and I am hoping to keep that improvement going into 2021.
- If your life improves in their absence, they were likely the problem- I never wanted to admit that my last relationship was toxic but, it was. I spent 10 months with someone that really made me feel inadequate and low a lot of the time but I stayed because I loved them and was hopeful that things would improve. However, I think one of the most important things to keep in mind is that a relationship should encourage you to be the best version of yourself and that relationship made me the worst version of myself. It is a version of myself that I am still trying to recover from. I was anxious, paranoid, and toxic as a result of the toxicity I surrounded myself with. Since my ex and I broke up, I finally feel like I am healing and becoming a better version of myself with someone new who really makes me feel driven to be that better version of me. I am happier and problems I had in my past relationship are not coming up in my current relationship. It goes to show that sometimes the universe takes away people and things from us to show us how great we can be without them.
- It is okay to never get closure- I stopped talking to a friend this year after a petty argument that I didn’t start nor did I want to finish and honestly, I am so detached from the situation. I never got closure or a final conversation or anything and I am FINE with it. My ex tried to give me closure this year and I didn’t even want it. It is funny that, in previous years, I have written about agonizing over a lack of closure and learning to live without closure and now I have become so detached that I don’t even really want closure most of the time because I have gotten so good at giving myself the closure I need.
- A lack of structure breeds complacency. It is important to hold yourself accountable- I am aware of this lesson but suck at enforcing it. I think that the current quarantines have led a lot of us to be really complacent. I know my life has become a cycle of work and sleep and work and sleep and not much else and I have slipped out of a lot of my healthy habits. However, I think I slipped out of a lot of habits even before this and I want to work on getting them back. I have a weird fear of structure and boundaries that I am currently working on because I really want to get back to where I was in 2018 with blogging and fitness and reading and my other passions by getting myself back into a regimented schedule that is structured without feeling rigid or restrictive so I can go back to holding myself accountable. The most important thing I need to keep in mind is that this needs to be something I can maintain when I start going back into the office.
- Do not close the door on potential opportunities- The first time I met my boyfriend in person we told each other that we would never work out and decided to just be friends. I got really lucky that he put in the legwork to make the friendship work in the beginning because, without his effort, I don’t think we would be where we are now. But I know that I’m not always going to be that lucky and sometimes opportunity truly does only knock once so I’ve learned that keeping an open mind is important, especially with so much being uncertain right now.
- There is always something new you can try- I think I want to end this off by saying that there is so many limitless possibilities you could try when going on your life path. It is never too late to start your own small business, learn to dance, or write a book. Try everything, especially now. We don’t know what tomorrow may bring so use your time wisely. Work on your mental health, pick up a new skill, or just coast if that’s what you need to do! Just know that there is nothing in your way from testing the waters on a fresh path.
What is one thing you learned this year? What is something you hope to accomplish next year?