2016 vs 2017

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Today I watched a video of a very kind woman on YouTube and she was talking about aging. She said that when she turned 50, aging really began. She changed not only physically but as a person. Well, I dare to say that I am going through something very similar in my 20’s. Every year it seems that I shed a layer of myself that was clouding my view of the world, interfering with my relationship with Christ, and stopping me from enjoying my life to the fullest. And the craziest thing is every year before this year…

I had honestly thought that I had reached my full potential

That’s the first major difference between me last year and me this year. When 2016 came around, I was on a cloud. I had finally made it to the country of my dreams despite the many times I believed people were trying to stop me. This was also a major step up from 2 years prior. (In 2015 I had finally gotten my own place after being homeless.) So, naturally I thought that I was the sugar honey iced tea. I thought that I had become the most wise me that I would become. The most peaceful me that I would become. And I was making easy money, which sometimes made me think that I was even the wealthiest me that I would be. I was acting quite stupidly the entire year and needed to be knocked off of my high horse.

Well after about 6 months, off the high horse, I went. My time to return to America had come and I returned to living a normal life. Before I knew it, I was desperately seeking work and running out of money. Since I moved to a new state to enter college, my tuition was way higher than I could afford, so I had to ask my parents to help me. I had gained about 40lbs and become out of shape, so when I tried to join an athletic group at my school, I struggled. I became desperate for companionship and often attended my own pity parties. I got my dream job and couldn’t even enjoy it.

But God had other plans for me. I spent 2017 learning. I read about 4 or 5 books, which was more books than I had willingly read in a year since I was in middle school. With the completion of each book, paired with life experiences, and my new found fondness of bible study, I realized that I have a long way to go. I realized that life can and probably will get better and worse every year and to never again believe that I have achieved my full-potential yet. That mindset has honestly made me into the person that I am entering 2018 and it’s been a great thing.

Worrying literally just makes things worse

I am a true worry-er. I worry about every little thing. I’m still working on this, but I’ll tell you that I have finally realized why I need to stop worrying and that is a big contributor to my ability to worry less now. If I can’t change something or someone, then it can not be changed by anyone other than God himself. If I really believe believe in him then I will just move on.

Just because I call something a fact, doesn’t mean that it is

This one was my downfall, especially socially. If I had gotten it in my head that someone didn’t care about me or my feelings, that someone was trying to attack or offend me, or someone generally meant harm towards me, I just stuck with it. I also acted accordingly and that would damage relationships or make them worse. I figured out over the past 5 months though, that what I believe is not automatically fact and that I need to consider this before I act. It doesn’t mean that I have to agree with the other side of the story or even like it.

Stop giving people more than they asked for and STOP CHASING PEOPLE

Oh. My. Goodness. This one really came with my desperation for companionship that I had honestly thought I had left behind when I picked up celibacy (because dating went out of the window when I made that decision, since no one wants to be with a celibate woman). I was practically begging people for friendship and willing to give up my own peace and sanity to feel like I was being accepted by others. I was willing to drop plans and rearrange my schedule at the drop of a dime for any and everyone. Of course I got tired of this by the time the year started to come to an end and I can tell you now, that’s not me anymore. If I drop everything, it’s because someone or something is that important to me and what I was dropping was not. Not because I am worried that if I don’t spend time with a person, they will end our friendship.

Along with that, I had to learn to stop giving people everything. This could be money but it could also be advice. For one, some people become uncomfortable when you are offering them things constantly because they feel like the owe you. Second, trying to win people over is futile. Third, wasting breath constantly giving people unwanted advice or opinions in non-emergency situations just creates issues.

Upfront honesty really is best

I never thought I’d be the one saying this because I thought I was very good at letting people know how I feel. Nope. I was just really good at being openly critical of every little thing. I expected people to read my mind or I didn’t want to discuss things with them because “they’re adults and should know better”. I’d also not tell guys the real reason I was frustrated with them or not into them anymore, then secretly resent them and hate to be around them. Well, I’m over that.

Let go of anyone I don’t want to have around anymore

Not just men who I wasn’t being honest and upfront about wanting to break it off with. Problematic friends, people I knew had no good intentions for me, people who didn’t really have my back. Delete them. Block their numbers. Whatever. Just let go. I used to hold onto people the same way I clung to clutter. “What if I need them later?” Dude. C’mon.

Now, I don’t mean that I am cutting people off every single time my feelings get hurt or I get frustrated. It’s not something I don’t think about before I do it. But I’m done being afraid of letting people go. Especially when some people should’ve been gone a LONG time ago.

There’s more to gain from any job than just money

At the beginning of the year, all I could do was complain about my dream job. I felt like I wasn’t getting much out of it and that I was failing the few expectations set for me. It wasn’t until I started contemplating quitting for the first time that I really had to ask myself what this job was worth. Around that time, I had began reading Girl Code and watching a YouTube series called Entrepreneurship 101 and I realized a couple of things. First, a job should offer me more than just money. What I am not being paid in cash, I should be being compensated for in experiences. Second, I am in college and this is the prime time for me to collect all of the knowledge I can. I have people with a variety of expertise (not just the field I want to go into) at my fingertips. I shouldn’t have to be handed what I need to pursue my own success.  I should be chasing it down!

Invest in myself and my passions

I believe that if there’s something I like to do and I am good at it, it should be nurtured and improved because it can be the key to my success. Now, I could potentially find success in something I had never done before and that’s okay too. But if I am wondering where my future success lies and I’m tired of the lifestyle I’m living now, it wouldn’t hurt to begin with investing in my passion. This idea even applies down to my fashion sense. I took a sum of money (not much) this year and decided to take myself shopping for my capsule wardrobe. I picked only pieces that I knew flattered me, were of good quality,  and were within my budget. Since then, I have been so much more confident in my day to day life because I always feel like I have something nice to wear. This time next year, I am hoping to have made some investments in myself that have really uplifted me.

My success is only limited by what I believe

I was holding myself down for a long time because I either thought I had nothing more to learn, or I thought I couldn’t be taught. It wasn’t until I started to apply the things I was learning, trust God, and fearlessly approach new challenges that I started to really see this as the truth. So long as I believed in myself and worked to achieve my high goals, I was never really disappointed in the outcome. I had worked hard and remained positive the entire time, so I always gained a lot. I now believe that this will be true for a lot of things I would like to accomplish. As long as I have faith and work hard, doing as I have been instructed to by God, I can accomplish any and everything meant for me to.

Stay calm

I’ve been writing about this one lately because over the past 4 months, specifically, being calm has been the only way I have been able to get anything done. I used to freak out completely, but I came to learn that the best thing may be to calm down and maybe even just go take a nap.

I don’t need a ton of stuff

Yep! My first posts on this blog were about just that and I have found that letting go of my intense need for a ton of stuff has been freeing for me physically, spiritually, and emotionally. I learned a lot from cleaning out the junk in my life, the ones I listed here are only some of many, and I look forward to the life lessons and growth I will see in 2018.