16 Things I Learned in 2016.

2016 was a big year for me. And I’m not using that word lightly, it was a HUUUUUUUGE year for me. And although it seems like 2016 was a train wreck for almost everyone, I honestly think this was my best year yet!

I graduated from college, I moved to a different state, I started my career, travelled the world, and really grew up and took control over my life.

At the beginning of 2016, I wrote a post on LinkedIn called The Year of Doing where I said that my word for this year was going to be “Doing.” And hopefully that would bring me a year of learning, positivity, and hopefully opportunities. 

And I’m elated to say that I think I did just that. I said “YES!” to opportunities, friendships, risks, trips, tasks, and the biggest one: to a new job. And the person that I am today is a much stronger, wiser, more thoughtful, and hopefully gracious version than I was one year ago.

As all people do when they learn something, I wanted to share the most important things that I learned this year with you.

  1. do one thing every day that you look forward to. whether it be getting dinner at your favorite spot, or stopping by the mall on your way home. it will motivate you to do the stuff that you’d rather not do because you’re looking forward to doing that one thing.
  2. no one really knows what they’re doing, its okay that you don’t either. “Fake it until you make it” has gotten me through so many awkward situations, parties, interviews, and classes.
  3. you’ve got to find “your people.” Meredith and Christina had it right. you find your people and you stick with them. you need someone you can go to and let out a sigh and they understand. they know that sometimes you need to go get fro-yo at midnight during finals week. and those random trips to nowhere will be your most cherished memories.
  4. college is literally a judgment free zone. I remember my freshmen year during what become known as the the Winter Apocalypse, I was walking to class and I saw a man wearing ski goggles. and the first thing I thought of was “Why didn’t I think of that?” high school was filled with worrying about what people think, but the great part about college is that somehow when you put a bunch of young adults that have never lived on their own before in the same place, all judgments fly out the door, because you’re all just trying to figure it out. we all have an underlying understanding that its a free for all.
  5. find your passion. getting up everyday to go to work isn’t always your favorite thing to do, but if you love what you do, it’ll make it a whole lot easier to get your butt out of bed in the morning.
  6. what makes you different, makes you stand out, in a good way.  there are an abundance of people in life, and the only way to leave an impression is to stand out. speak up in class or a meeting, speak to the people around you, make relationships. you never know who you could be sitting next to, or in a class with.
  7. ask for help. more often than not, I’ve realized that if I ask a question about something, other people have the same question but were just too scared to ask it. ask the questions. you could be helping out more than just yourself.
  8. quality over quantity. every time. in every aspect of your life, this applies. clothes, purses, shoes, food, relationships, chocolate.
  9. you don’t always have to jump off a cliff to go out of your comfort zone, sometimes you only have to take one step outside of it. all that matters is that you’re outside of it.
  10. you are capable of so much more than you think you are. living on your own will teach you a thing or two, reallllll quick.
  11. doing things by yourself is not “sad.” if you want to do something, go do it. this has recently become one of my biggest pet peeves. people constantly ask me “You went to the movies by yourself? You didn’t go with anyone when you went out to eat? You just went to the museum by yourself??” Yes. I went by myself and I enjoyed myself probably moreso than if I dragged along someone that didn’t want to go or went with someone I didn’t know very well just so I wouldn’t be alone. grow up, get over the awkwardness, and go by yourself. and quit thinking down upon the people that go places. wow. I’m heated just writing this. moving on….
  12. don’t just let life happen to you. I think this was one of my biggest faults this past year. I thought that I was in the driver’s seat of my life, but after a while, I’ve finally realized that I was in the back seat. I was letting anyone and everything direct my path in life, regardless of if I wanted to take that path or not. Coming to the realization that I’m in control has been a huge eye-opening and has gotten me so excited for what’s to come.
  13. never let anyone tell you it is too early to celebrate Christmas. I start in October and don’t regret a single thing.
  14. Surround yourself with positive people and you’ll become a positive person. As we get older, I’ve noticed that more and more people are grouchier. And definitely in Chicago. But what I’ve also noticed is that if you’re kind to them, they’ll typically be kind back. I’m on a mission to make Chicago a kinder place, and I’m going to be doing it one person at a time.
  15. Throw out the window what everyone else thinks. life is short. life is wild. life is fun. don’t spend any time doing something you don’t like. say yes to things. say no to other things. ask God to help you determine which is which and forget the rest.
  16. January 1st isn’t the only day you can start over. Every day is an opportunity for you to start fresh. Make a conscious decision when you wake up every morning to be more compassionate. more forgiving. more gracious. more kind. more accepting. more loving. and it will become a part of you before you know it.

It was a bigger year, but I”m confident that 2017 will be an even bigger year. I hope for you too. cheers to 2017 folks.

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