January 2014 brings with it a daunting kind of freedom.
Here’s a whole new year for you to fuck up or not fuck up (really, I’ve learnt, it’s a matter of perspective, oh, and actual actions.)
Here are 13 lessons I’ve learnt from 2013 to try and help guide me through this coming year.
1. Family is everything.
Coming from the girl who has always felt abhorrently alone, 2013 has been a harsh year of learning just exactly what family means. Too often, good will spewing from a family member’s mouth comes across as dreaded nagging. In my case, it was the harping from my mother and brother that really pushed me over the edge. What I’ve learnt though is that though they mean well, their actions are often misinterpreted/misconstrued.
In fact, Schopenhauer puts it best when he wrote, “The little incidents and accidents of every day fill us with emotion, anxiety, annoyance, passion, as long as they are close to us, when they appear so big, so important, so serious; but as soon as they are borne down the restless stream of time they lose what significance they had; we think no more of them and soon forget them altogether. They were big only because they were near.”
Similarly, family fills us with annoyances and emotions because they are the nearest/closest to us.
Just remember, they nag because they care, and if all else fails, gently tell them that though you know they mean well, is there any other way they can phrase what they’re saying so it gets through your thick noggin?
2. A mother’s love knows no bounds
My mother has been there for everything, and though everyone who knows me inevitably knows about my mommy issues, this is a fact that has never resonated more clearly within me than now.
When her words of wisdom failed, she let me walk away to come back again. Prodigal daughter returned.
3. Friends fuck up and sometimes, you have to let them know.
Sometimes, you’re the bad friend.
Sometimes, you’re the suckky person. Truth.
Sometimes, you screw up.
You need to know when you did, and when to admit you were wrong. Sometimes, you’re the friend that fucks up, but true friends, forgive. In their own ways. Thing is, we’re all just human, and there are limits to our forgiveness.
I lost one of my best friends in 2013, and I tried to justify it in the most horrible way possible. The truth is, I fucked up as much as she did, and I kept silent, which was worst.
A, if you’re reading this, I’m really sorry. I know that this apology comes late and probably means nothing to you now, but still, here it is.
The truth is, sometimes, to be good to yourself, you have to make the conscious decision to let go of someone who was destructive in your life. And sometimes, you’re the destructive element in someone else’s life. Learn from that mistake, take it in and let it go. Be a better friend towards the next person, because the other thing you need to admit is that sometimes, some mistakes are irreversible.
4. Sometimes, love ends and it’s no one’s fault.
This has been the hardest lesson to learn.
I used to believe that when a relationship ended, there was always the hope of “next time”. It was a grand illusion designed to make me feel better about myself. The truth is, there may or may not be a next time, but that shouldn’t stop you from living your life.
When a chapter ends, you should just let the chapter end. Not fill it with postscripts, because, seriously (and I wish, so desperately that I could go back and change all of these P.S’s) prolonging the story will only ensure that you fuck up more.
Sometimes, love ends, and it’s no one’s fault.
Sometimes, one person loves someone more than the other.
Sometimes, people just get too comfortable and they stop growing.
Sometimes, you’re just not meant to be that person’s “person”.
Sometimes, a lot of things.
But the walk-away lesson is this: when it ends, let it end beautifully. Like a fairytale, leave it at “the end” and let the reader continue the rest with their imaginations. Don’t tarnish it with 4a.m. drunken texts and desperate “take me back”‘s.
This is a mistake I’ll probably continue making, but damn if I don’t try not to in 2014.
5. Nothing good ever happens past 3 a.m.
You are not the life of the party.
More importantly, you don’t have to be. This is a major case of #FOMO that goes on with my generation, and the truth is, Ted’s momma was right. Nothing good happens past 3 a.m.
You’re staying out cause you don’t want to go home alone. You’re drunk, you’re desperate, you’re lonely. You’re not going to meet the love of your life in a bar at 3a.m. You’re not going to discover the cure for cancer. You’re not going to do anything except drink more and then go home with some equally drunk dude and you’re gonna have drunk sex and regret it the next morning when you have to get to work.
6. The Love of your life doesn’t exist right now.
As a 21 year old girl (yes, I refer to myself as girl because I have yet to understand the nuances of being a woman), I’m still searching for my “the one”, but as my co-worker loves to tell me, “he doesn’t exist yet”. Quite simply and aptly put.
If I’m still “out there, discovering myself”, chances are, he’s doing the exact same thing.
He doesn’t exist for me because I don’t exist for me yet. I mean, technically, I do exist, but… y’know. Not as “the one”. I don’t even really know where I’m going with this, and that’s the entire point. I don’t know where I’m going.
7. If you have to do something, do it well.
Now this, is an important life lesson.
I’ve heard so many of my millennial counterparts whining about how much their life sucks. Hey, you’re preaching to the choir, but if you have to do it, you might as well do it well. That’s all.
8. Stop envying other people’s lives!
This is the one thing I’m super, super guilty of.
And you wanna know something that says a LOT about my character?
I’m envious of the people who get to do nothing all day.
Sure, I work a 12 hour day job 7 days a week, but why am I envious of the people who don’t?! This, I just don’t get, and when I do figure it out, I’ll let you know.
The truth is a cliche. Rome wasn’t built in a day, and I want to build an empire for myself. Business wise. This means putting in the groundwork/grease work and I should be goddamn happy to do it and appreciate that I even have the ability to do this instead of whining and pining.
9. Optimism is a state of mind.
I leave you with another quote from the great Schopenhauer, “It is a curious fact that in bad days we can very vividly recall the good time that is now no more; but that in good days, we have only a very cold and imperfect memory of the bad.”
10. When faced with the decision to go out and party or stay at home and sleep, ALWAYS choose sleep.
Sleep is like the best thing in the world.
Maybe I’m late to the sleep party, but honestly, I don’t know why I had such an intense case of #FOMO in 2013. I’ll party every night and end up crashing once a month, and THAT WOULD ALWAYS BE THE NIGHT THE GREATEST PARTY WAS HAPPENING.
What I’ve since learnt is that… Parties come and go. Every weekend will have a new greatest party ever. You will always miss out on things but depriving yourself of sleep will only cause you to miss out on more.
Choose wisely the things that matter, and let go of that #FOMO and start living like for yourself. The people who matter will stick around, and the ones who guilt trip you for missing one party, probably don’t even care that much about you.
Also, I’ve skipped TONNES of party now, and my contact list has grown smaller, but the ones who are always there for me are the only ones I actually love hanging out with anyway.
11. Let the past stay that way.
The past happened. It’s over. There’s nothing you can change anymore. Instead of reliving every horrible moment/fantastic moment in your mind, let it become a memory and let it go. Nothing you can do will bring you back to that moment, and instead of letting the present slip into the dusty land of “oh I wish I’d done this instead of that”, live.
Yes, I did use that cliche, but cliches are such because they’re mostly true.
12. You can’t love anyone else until you love yourself.
I’ve never had the best track record with relationships. No matter how I view it. No matter how justified I think I am or how I justify the way I handled my past relationships. Truth is, I fucked up. I fucked up because I placed the weight of my world on their shoulders. There is no other way to put it.
You have to love yourself before you can love other people, because you’ll just be doing everyone a disservice by using passive-aggression to deal with issues that most likely stem from you.
So many of my relationships fell apart because I was such a needy bitch. OK, not all of those relationships ended because I was needy, but because I wanted more than I could give. I wanted to play house more than I actually wanted to love someone. Maybe that’s because I come from a divorced family, but honestly, the truth is just because I couldn’t love myself and so didn’t think that anyone else could either.
I’ve probably fucked up more relationships than I can count because of that. 2013 has helped me identify that problem, and I’m doing my best to fix it. Love yourself because #YOLO.
13. Fear will take you to places you were never meant to go
Don’t let fear stop you from doing something you really want to. Similarly, don’t let fear push you to doing things you don’t want to.
Releasing yourself from fear is the greatest freedom in the world. I’m a firm believer in destiny and fate. I think we’re meant to experience the things we’ve experienced as part of the learning process.
Somewhere along the way, my pigheaded stubbornness has set me back more times than I can count. Mostly because I refuse to admit that I’m wrong. That was my major fear. Admitting that I was wrong. But by ignoring the problem and continuing my journey in my own way has actually set me back further than I dare admit. Don’t let fear guide you, but don’t let fear bury you.
It’s a conundrum, one that I’ll hopefully understand better in 2014.