5 Things I Learned in the Year 2017

this year

I don’t know about the rest of you, but for me, this has been a hell of a year. There have been some horrible things happening and it honestly has kind of seemed like the world has been spinning off its axis. Between the heartbreaking number of mass shootings and record-breaking natural disasters, some days the world just seemed like too much to handle. However, as much bad as there has been in the world this year, there has been as much, if not more, good. Communities have come together to rebuild and help those in need. More and more, people are exactly who they truly are and find themselves surrounded with love instead of hate. I’m definitely not saying that things are perfect, because there is still way too much negativity and hate in this world for that to be true. What I am saying, I guess, is that 2017 has been the year of humanity. It has been the year that humans have fought so much adversity and continued to be strong. It has been the year that has strengthened our resolve in becoming a world where all are happy, loved, and accepted.

On a more personal level, 2017 has been a year of challenge and change. You know how they say “You grow through what you go through”? Well, that has basically been the best way to describe this year. If you had asked me at the end of last year what I thought I would be doing right now, I can tell you that I never would’ve guessed I’d be struggling so much with my interstitial cystitis that I would be on a break from graduate school. So much about this year was surprising, as I guess life always is. But as is true with every year that passes, this year had quite a few lessons.

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The top five things I learned this year:

Nothing works out the way you expect it to.

As I said, I never would have expected to be in my current situation. I had fully planned to have graduated with my masters, secured a great job, and been living on my own. While I wanted to end up back on the Central Coast, the process by which I returned was unpredictable. Life has a way of screwing with your plans, and you know what? That’s completely okay. The only thing guaranteed in this life is that nothing is guaranteed. And I’m learning to take comfort in that.

Have faith.

I don’t necessarily mean this in a religious context. What I mean by this is have faith in your path, in your fellow humans, and, most importantly, in yourself. Some days, when it seems like everything is falling apart, it can seem incredibly difficult to have faith in anything. But if this year has taught me anything it’s that everything happens for a reason (even if it’s not what we expect), there are more good than bad people in this world, and you are MUCH stronger than you think you are.

Sometimes, life sucks. 

I’m usually all about the positivity, but you know what, not every day is going to be rainbows and unicorns. Some days just really suck. But our society makes us feel like we can only show the good. It almost seems like it’s taboo to struggle, and that’s bull if you ask me. We are all struggling with something. We all have our mountains to climb, and the difficulty of these mountains cannot be compared to one another because they are all so different. Even if you do your absolute best to live a positive life, the negative needs to be honored too so that it can be worked through and left behind. Try to just accept the suck, deal with it, and keep moving forward.

You don’t owe anyone an explanation.

Sometimes we feel like we have to explain our choices or our situations. But why? Why do you feel obligated to tell everyone why you chose to do something or why your life is the way it is right now? First off, they probably don’t really care, or at least, they aren’t judging you the way you think they are. Second, are you going into all this detail to justify your choices or situation to them or to yourself? This is something I’ve really struggled with since going on medical leave from school, but really, the only people you need to explain yourself to are the ones you deem important to you, not the ones that deem themselves important.

Those who are meant to be in your life will be. 

This is something I think everyone has to remind themselves every now and then. Whether it’s after a breakup, when you lose touch with long time friends, or you’re living in a new place, those that should be in your life will be there. If you think they are important, you will make the effort to be involved with their lives, and vice versa. Sometimes, however, life just happens and people lose touch. It doesn’t mean anyone did anything wrong or is a bad person, it just means that that relationship has run its course and served its purpose.

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This year has been full of difficulties and self-growth. I’ve learned so much about myself, my priorities, and my health. I have laughed and cried more than any other year I can remember. If you’re anything like me, you’re ready to put this year in the past and see how the future unfolds. If you’re anything like me, you’re probably a little terrified too. But just remember, each year is going to have its ups and downs. Each year is also going to be chalk full of valuable lessons. Most of all, no matter what 2018 throws at us, we got this!

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