12 Lessons I’ve Learned From The Past 12 Months

2018 has been a whirlwind of a year.

A year ago, I was a community college student lacking a sense of self and purpose. There were too many sleepless nights spent worried about the future, whether or not I would transfer to a four year university, or what my role in the universe was. Although my vision for the future still isn’t crystal clear, I’ve learned a lot of lessons that have helped shed some light on the path I’m taking.

Here are 12 lessons I’ve learned from the past year that I will definitely take with me for the rest of my life.

  1. Busy != Effective

    Although being busy might look good from the outside, it doesn’t necessarily mean that you’re being productive. I spent a lot of time in 2018 being “busy” and spread myself too thin across dozens of different tasks and obligations. As a result, I had dozens of different projects scattered across my timeline that were in their rudimentary stages, and had barely any projects that I actually finished. If I had focused my time and energy on fulfilling one project at a time, I would have grown much more creatively and academically.

  2. Growth is nonlinear

    Whether it’s personal, academic, or career related, growth is definitely not a linear process. There are always ups and downs. While it’s important to enjoy the highs, don’t spend too much time in the lows. Allow yourself to grieve, and then analyze what happened. Failure is inevitable. It’s up to you whether or not you’ll fail forward, or backwards.

  3. Comparison is the thief of joy

    Developing on point two — don’t compare your journey to that of other’s. For a lack of better words, it feels bad. Someone else’s success does not devalue yours, and vice versa. What takes you 20 hours to learn might take someone else five, and that’s completely okay. The only person you should compare yourself with is you.

  4. Bad day != bad life

    I used to struggle a lot with anxiety and depression. The biggest thing that helped pull me out of the abyss was accepting that bad days happen to everyone, but it doesn’t necessarily mean that it’s a bad life.

  5. Pace yourself

    Burn out is so incredibly real! You are not a robot. Take breaks. Breathe. Relax. Sometimes it’s better for your brain to take a break than trying to do that 100th problem.

  6. Exercise is super important for your wellbeing

    The past year can be distinctly split by my fitness habits. During the first nine months, I exercised regularly through a combination of ballet and hitting the gym. However, since I’ve transferred to Davis, I’ve found it difficult to find the will to exercise. I don’t think I’ve exercised for more than two consecutive days during the fall quarter and it’s taken a huge toll on my wellbeing. That being said, I’m going to reinvigorate my fitness habits for the next year (I’ve already registered for ballet for the winter quarter!) and get back on track to feeling good.

  7. Communication can make or break relationships of all kinds

    Whether it’s romantic, platonic, or professional, remember to communicate! If you don’t like something that your partner/friend/coworker did let them know. They might not have even realised that they did something that upset you. Open lines of communications strengthen all relationships.

  8. Remind people that you love them

    This one was huge for me this year. Everything on this planet is temporary - even the people you love (sorry to be a buzz kill). Cherish the moments you have with those you love.

  9. Be good to the planet around you

    Mother Nature is dying. It’s no joke. I’ve been trying to reduce my single-use/disposable consumption lately through low-waste grocery shopping, cutting out fast fashion, utilising public transportation/biking, and using a zero waste kit.

  10. Feeling does not make you weak

    So cry, laugh, sing, and dance. Who gives a damn? People tend to think of me as quite a stoic person, but I’m in fact quite the opposite. I cry (a lot), laugh, and feel a lot of feelings all the time. Feeling emotions is what makes the human experience so unique so why deny yourself the pleasure of being undeniably human?

  11. Sometimes you just need to let it go

    You know that thing that you did three years ago at that one party that makes you want to throw up in embarrassment? Yeah. That thing. Let. It. Go. I promise that no one cares about it as much as you do. There’s a good chance they don’t even remember.

  12. If something keeps you up at night, pursue it

    Whether it’s a passion, dream, or idea that turns you into an insomniac, you’ll only keep yourself up if you don’t pursue it.