2013 is coming to a close and I’m sitting in amazement (as I do every year) at how quickly this year seemed to slip by. I remember being a little girl and overhearing adults talk about how fast a year goes and thinking to myself that they were crazy. It felt like decades between each passing Christmas, and have they ever had an entire week in the third grade? I did and it did not go by fast! Now, here I am dumbfounded over the fact that my ten year high school reunion (that I won’t be going to) is next year when I literally just graduated high school, and the children I used to babysit are either getting engaged, married, or posting embarrassing pictures of themselves at bars. It’s a strange feeling when you realize that you are closer to 30 than you are 20. In one way, it’s a little sad because the attention and glamour society gives youth is alluring (don’t get me wrong, I KNOW I am still so young) and in another way, you hang out with 20 year olds and think “thank God I’m not 20 anymore.” Every year life deals you a different set of cards, and whether you walk away feeling like you won or you lost, the fact that you survived means that you won. Here are 13 life lessons that I learned in 2013.
1. There is life beyond depression. When I was 19 I was diagnosed with severe depression, and I mean, who could blame me? Life kinda sucked for reasons I won’t go into now (but you can read about it here). Doctors gave me a cocktail of medications that would supposedly make me as that fake happy girl you see on TV whose boyfriend did something so adorable that it sent her into a fit of laughter and as she opened her eyes, she sees him down on one knee with a ring bought from Jared most likely on clearance. Sometimes I was that happy, but it was mostly just a side effect from $1 shot specials and 99 cent tacos at 2 am. As you can imagine, that happiness was short lived and only experienced Thursday through Sunday. When I entered 2013, I had been off anti-depressants for about a year and for the first time, I didn’t need them. I finally began actually enjoying life. If you are on anti-depressants, please do not feel any shame for taking them. They helped me a lot through my life and I am grateful for modern medicine’s ability to provide such things. But just know, it won’t last forever and there is hope that you won’t have to take them forever.
2. Here is something that, if you’re like me, will blow your mind: Egypt is in AFRICA! You are judging me right now, I can feel it. But I don’t care because this was life changing news to me. I don’t remember why or what I was researching to figure this out, but when I did, I was dumbfounded (second time using that word in one blog. I must be dumbfounded a lot). I immediately sent a group text because I needed to inform the masses of my discovery. I imagined that everyone would be just as amazed and in shock as I was, and I wanted to save them the lifeline they would clearly need if they ever found themselves on “Who Wants to be a Millionaire” and Regis asks them to locate the continent in which Egypt is located . Instead of the praiseworthy and grateful texts I expected to receive, most of them consisted of “Ummm…”, “Did you fall asleep during Geography?”, and the ever-condescending “Wow.” Fine. Whatever. Don’t call me if Regis ever says that you can phone a friend.
3. Quality is more important that quantity. Over the summer, I logged into my old MySpace account to look at pictures and read messages and comments. When I was 20-23, I was a social butterfly befriending anyone who smiled at me. There was never a lack of things to do or places to go. As I was reading messages, I was like, “Who is this person? Why did I fall asleep under their table after eating macaroni and cheese?” I had a large quantity of friends but a low quality of relationships. This year, I’ve found myself at home more than I ever expected and I even recently found myself whining to my sister “I’M TOO YOUNG TO BE THIS BORING.” The truth is, maybe I am a little boring now, but I have quality friends that accept me in my boringness and that’s all anyone really wants.
4. Be willing to let go of people. People can pretend to be someone they aren’t for a long time, and when their facade finally becomes exposed, you have two options: Either dwell on your offense and live in bitterness, or process your hurt and let them be. I don’t believe that you should continue to pursue a relationship and chase after a person who hurt you. You can love from a distance. The prodigal son’s father never went chasing after him. He loved from where he was and knew that the son knew where to find him if he needed him.
5. Riding a horse along the beach may seem like an ideal summer day, but not if you’re in Tijuana. Don’t do it unless you want to spend the rest of your day wondering if you’ve lost the ability to reproduce.
6. Don’t focus on the mean people. I used to read celebrity interviews and they would often talk about how mean people on the internet would get them down. I would always think, “Why do you care what people say?? I would never let that bother me if I had that much success!” Then in August I wrote a blog post that ended up going viral. It was fun for the first few hours, but as it gained more and more popularity, the comments became more and more mean. People were taking personal stabs at me, and someone from my school even posted a long, drawn out status basically about how terrible and judgmental I am (to their credit, they may not have known that I was a fellow student). I remember reading comments on my lunch break and having to walk outside to cry because I was allowing these strangers to get to me. Then I realized, that’s exactly what they are. Strangers. They have no idea who I am and that I never intended for anyone outside my circle of friends to read that blog post. That experience was short lived and yet it taught me an extremely valuable lesson about weeding out the negative and focusing on the positive.
7. If you feel that you’re too small or inexperienced to make a difference, just remember that a baby in the room will always get more attention than the doctor in the room. Don’t be afraid of humble beginnings and don’t feel embarrassed for growing.
8. Pursuing your dreams will cost you. This year has been extremely hard for me for this reason. I have always worked and been able to provide for myself, and by providing for myself, I mean providing new Coach bags and the fashion “must-haves.” I have never felt so unfashionable as I have in 2013. Going to school means being unable to work and being unable to work means that I have to come to terms with the fact that I won’t be buying the latest Michael Kors bag or a new pair of boots anytime soon. Sometimes I do feel sad because cute clothes, makeup, and fashion have always been a big part of my life. Maybe it will be again someday, but for now I am learning that you can’t always have it all.
9. Some days you’re 2001 Britney and other days you’re 2007 Britney. It’s just a fact of life. It’s important that you have friends that love you where you are and let you have your 2007 Britney days and don’t get uncomfortable and insecure when you have your 2001 Britney days.
10. Love yourself. I have had the greatest year of personal breakthrough that I have ever had, and the key was learning to love myself where I was. I spent years thinking that I would love myself if I lost however-many pounds or if I had a new car or a more praise-worthy job or if I looked like Beyonce. Then I realized, true love isn’t based on conditions. Accept yourself! Fall in love with yourself! Post selfies! Because the truth is, the one person you will never be able to escape from is yourself.
11. Debating on Facebook makes you look ridiculous. I’m amazed almost on a daily basis at the lengths people will go to avoid being wrong. With hot topics like President Obama’s re-inauguration, healthcare, and gluten, the Facebook debates have been in full force. If you are a Facebook debater, please stop. You are making the rest of us uncomfortable.
12. It’s OK to like what you like and to not like what you don’t like. Seems simple enough, right? I think part of being in your early 20s is all about figuring out who you are and what you like. A lot of times you take on other people’s hobbies and interests as a way to fit in because when you’re 21, fitting in is important. The problem is, years down the road, you’re 27 and wondering why you have scrap-booking kits and Cardinals football memorabilia when you don’t even know how to watch football and the only photo album you use is on Facebook! This year was the first time I really came to terms with what I like and don’t like. Sure, it may be every guy’s dream to find a girl that likes to look pretty, drink beer, play video games and watch football, but I’m not that girl. I like two of those four things and whoever ends up with me will just have to deal.
13. God cares more about the process than the outcome. A lot of the times, we can get stuck on the fact that we aren’t where we want to be and end up throwing ourselves a pity party and crying out in between bites of left over lasagna and stale Chips Ahoy cookies, “Whyyyyy God, Why??” I’ve learned that instead of asking God “why,” it’s better to ask God “What?” What is God doing that I am missing because I’m too focused on the outcome and not the now? I’m not where I want to be in a lot of areas in my life, but God, in his kindness, is taking his time with me so that the outcome doesn’t destroy me. Embrace the process. God knows what he’s doing.
2013, you were one of a kind. For the first time, I felt what it was like to really be alive and in love with life. I will treasure your memories for a lifetime.
Sharing is my love language! Like this post? Share it on Facebook, twitter, google+, or whatever else you’d like!