2018. A year of change. Of climbing mountains, literal (I did my first summit ever this year–in Greece!) and metaphorical. A year of new places, new adventures, new experiences, new friendships, new beginnings, and year with some very difficult endings. A year filled with so many challenges and lessons.
Here is a summary of some of the most important lessons 2018 taught me:
- Who you surround yourself with is exceptionally important. They have the ability to make or break you.
- Both good times and bad times show you who your real friends are. Don’t mourn the ones who walk away just because things got hard, because they were never your real friends anyway. And if they don’t celebrate alongside you in the successes, they weren’t your real friends either. A real friend cheers you on in the good times and carries you in the bad. If you choose well, your friends can be your greatest strength.
- Letting go is hard. It sucks. It’s painful. But it is freeing, and it opens your heart for even greater things to come.
- If a relationship feels toxic, try to talk it out and resolve the problem. If it continues to be toxic, and if it continues to put you in emotional distress, it’s ok to walk away.
- In a world full of fakes and frauds, dare to be real. Dare to be authentic. Dare to be vulnerable.
- Things are not always as they seem. But sometimes, they’re EXACTLY as they seem.
- Take risks. Do hard things. Face your fears. The end result is worth the struggle and pain it takes to get there. Plus, you’ll have more regret over the risks you didn’t take than the times you swung and missed. “What If?” is much more haunting than “I tried”.
- If you have a gut feeling about something, trust it–it tends to be right.
- Tomorrow is never guaranteed, so never leave something unsaid, don’t hold grudges, and hold your loved ones a little tighter. Trust the ER nurse in me on this one.
- Take time for yourself. Extroverts, I’m talking to you (and I’m right there with you). Whether this is writing, reading, working out, traveling, yoga, cooking, drawing, dancing, etc.–you do you. Taking time for yourself helps you refocus and refresh, and it does wonders for your mental health.
- Figure out what it is that sets your soul on fire, and pursue that. Live life fully alive, don’t just merely survive.
- Spend your money on experiences, not materialism.
- Forgiveness does not equal reconciliation. And sometimes, that’s so ok.
To all the friends and family, old and new, who’ve been there this year, who’ve laughed with me, who’ve been my shoulder to cry on, who’ve dreamed with me, who’ve answered the late night phone calls, who’ve traveled with me, who’ve pushed and challenged me, who’ve helped give me advice and perspective: THANK YOU.
Typically, I hate the New Year because it feels like an ending. This year, I’m excited, because it feels like a beginning. 2018, you were difficult, but I’m grateful for all the lessons. 2019, I’m ready, and I’m coming for you. And without further adieu, in Ariana’s famous words, I say to 2018: “Thank you, Next.”