What a decade. In 2010, I was 16. Needless to say, I had no idea where I’d be and what I would be doing now at age 26. I won’t go into who I was back then and who I am now. However, I do want to share what I’ve learned:
1. It takes time for people to show their true colors. First impressions are often bullsh*t. I remember my first impressions of some of my very best friends. They were way off. Think about a first date. The other person does and says all of the right things. Great! You may have had an nice time. Again, this is all great. However, you need to understand that this person is flawed and those flaws will surface at some point. You may not know what those flaws are and you may not know if those flaws will bother you in 2 years. Oftentimes, when we have a crush or whatever, we build them up in our head. So keep your expectations in check. You are flawed too. The first impression you give off is also bullsh*t. You don’t know if that person will accept your flaws in 2 years. Now, it’s good to take chances, but my advice is not to jump to any conclusions about people immediately. Take your time.
2. You get what you give (sometimes). There’s an element of luck in every outcome. However, if you study for a test, you are more likely to get a better score. If you go to work with an “I’m not going to leave until the project is done” attitude, you are more likely to get a positive review. If you try to be the best friend or significant other you can be, the other party is more likely to reciprocate the effort. Now, before you become a complete control freak (like me), remember that element of luck I mentioned before. You cannot control other people. Sometimes life is unfair, and we do not get the anticipated outcomes. It’s okay. Adjust your sails.
3. Alone time is a good time. Don’t be afraid of staying in on a Saturday night. Don’t be afraid to go to the movies by yourself. Friends aren’t always available, but you are your own best friend, so remember that if you experience any sort of FOMO. As a proud introvert, this is all too easy for me to say. However, there was a point during this decade where I had to learn this.
4. Dress well. Eat well. Be well. The best days are when I’m wearing a nice outfit, eat healthy foods, exercise, and I’m taking care of myself in general. Do what it takes to be the best version of yourself and make sure you get there the healthy way. I do not believe in fad diets. I find that they work, but once you go back to “normal eating,” you go back to the way you were before you started the fad diet. I’m not an expert. That’s my experience. I stick to good old fashioned portion control, sleep, and physical activity. And it works.
5. Sensitivity is a strength, not a flaw. Don’t get this one twisted. We live in a society where sometimes sensitivity is viewed as weak. That’s just wrong on all levels. As a heterosexual female, I think sensitive men are attractive as hell. Be kind to everyone you meet. Be careful when offering criticism. Apologize when you make a mistake. Try your best not to be the cause of someone else’s pain. As an empath, I used to think something was wrong with me because my high sensitivity. However, now I am embracing it. Best decision ever. Which brings me to my next point…
6. Empathy is a rare gift. If you have it, don’t be afraid of it. Use it every day! Do you ever have conversations with people who seem to understand what you are feeling? Like they are almost reading your mind? They are probably an empath. Empaths automatically put themselves in other people’s shoes in any situation (even if it is painful for them). They can’t help but care. On the other hand take care of yourself. Remove yourself from unhealthy situations and demand respect from everyone. If you don’t have empathy, practice. This world needs more of it.
7. I’m not sure if there is much benefit to drinking alcohol. Okay, some of you are going to hate me for this one. Oh well, I’m not blogging to be “liked.” Disclaimer, I love me a nice Bloody Mary, a glass of red wine, or even a bit of spiked egg nog around this time of year. I am by no means a sober person. I do feel like I drink less than a lot of my peers for the following reasons:
-Many don’t sleep well when they drink.
– Personally, I’d rather spend the money on new clothes, shoes, and other things for myself.
– Ya lose ya filter. Not always great if you are among co-workers.
-Your judgment becomes clouded. Heavy drinking can be a recipe for bad decisions.
– I don’t drive here in the city, so I don’t have anything to worry about, but drinking and driving is THE ABSOLUTE WORST IDEA EVER. END. OF. STORY.
– You don’t always feel well the next day. Hangovers negatively impact productivity and your mood.
– If you are in a relationship, heavy drinking can really mess things up.
Again, I don’t plan on cutting drinking out of my life completely, but it is a good idea for everyone to think twice before getting that 5th drink at the company happy hour. Food for thought!
8. Timelines are stressful. Avoid them if you can. Many people have timelines for certain milestones in their life. While it is good to have goals, things don’t always happen as planned and sometimes it is better not to force things just to match a timeline. If you can, relax and let the universe guide you towards your destiny. This one is easier said than done.
9. Social media is addicting. I don’t remember the type of phone I had before 2010, but I could tell you that it was used to text the 3-4 friends I had at the time, and to call my parents when I needed to be picked up from the ice rink/mall/friend’s house. No Snapchat and no Instagram. I had to log into my Facebook account from a computer, which meant I only checked Facebook when I was home. Simpler times for sure. I didn’t know what everyone was doing at any given moment. Now I experience information overload every morning before I even get out of bed. I should really consider deleting these apps off of my phone…
10. Never brag. Nothing good comes from bragging. Have you ever conversed with a person who is overselling themselves and think to yourself — how much of this is true? Don’t be a bragger. I don’t take them very seriously.
I lied. Here’s an 11th lesson for good luck!
11. Nothing good happens after 2:00 am (or even midnight if you are like me and go to bed at 10:30 pm). I stole this lesson from the best TV show ever, How I Met Your Mother. Spoiler alert (nothing major, so don’t worry): Robin, the woman Ted (the main character) has suppressed feelings for, calls him around 2 am to come over. At the same time, Ted is in a very long-distance relationship with Victoria, a woman who he was planning on breaking up with. Instead of turning down Robin’s bootycall, he goes over her place and cheats on Victoria before the intended break up. Now, this happened because Ted was immature. However, as he was telling this story to his kids (weird, right?) he recalled some advice he received from his mom. “Nothing good happens after 2 am”. I completely agree. Without getting too raunchy, If someone calls you to come over late at night, they want one thing only. Or if you have been drinking and it is late at night, you are at risk for doing something really stupid. Even walking around alone at night is dangerous. Just go home and go to bed.
I know, I can be a little self-righteous. I have my own code that I like to live by. The code is reflected in these 11 lessons. I believe this philosophy has brought me happiness and self-acceptance. Some of you readers may think this code is humbling. Maybe even cynical. However, you can turn it around and accept that there is truth in every lesson I list (even if they suck). Up to you. The most inconvenient truths are the most enlightening.
The next decade will probably be nuts. I anticipate happiness and obstacles. Just like the current decade. I will learn many more lessons and become a better version of myself.
This is an excellent opportunity to reflect on who you were 10 years ago and to love yourself for all of the growth you’ve endured.
Happy new year!