Saturday, November 16, 2013

13 Things I Learned in 2013

It’s been awhile. Like 100 some days awhile. And in that time I have done virtually nothing besides move cross country, start a new job, move again, adopt two new pets, buy a used car, and generally realize Utah and Michigan are about as opposite as salt and pepper.

These last three months were just a small portion of what I have been kindly referring to as the “Year from Hell.” In fact, I am keeping a countdown until 2014 (46 days) in the hopes that it can be a very symbolic, and significantly improved, year for me. On paper, 2013 had many highlights: new job, exciting city, finally getting a puppy. At the end of the day though, 2013 has been the most emotionally exhausting year of my, and Chafonda’s, life.

My hiatus from blogging has been predominantly because of my exhaustion. That and my mother taught me, if you don’t have anything nice to say you don’t say anything at all. And frankly as 2013 was coming to a close I had nothing nice to say. Until now. That and people kept bugging me so I caved (honesty is always the best policy.)

Without further ado, the 13 Things I Learned in 2013.

13. I was definitely not wrong when I watched Mary-Kate and Ashley movies: I was meant to be a twin. And this spring I learned just that. The most important point here is that you know your body better than anyone. Listen to your instincts, and don’t let anyone tell you that you’re “fine” when you feel anything but. Be your own advocate at all times, no matter the situation.

12. You will wait forever. No one can be responsible for your happiness. They can try, and bless them, someone will try so very hard in your life. When it comes down to it, you’re the one that has to make changes, you have to alter your own path, and steer yourself to happiness. Don’t expect someone to do it for you.

11. Tattoos on fingers hurt the most. This is not yet a scientifically proven fact, but it should be. They also must be redone often. I still love mine.

10. AMEN. People make choices, decisions, mistakes. So do you. Just because you think you have made a better one does not give you a right to judge. And a constant need to judge others just leaves you empty. Don’t assume you are better than someone. The moment you do you have already lost.

9. This goes without saying much. Some people won’t like you. Ready for my harsh truth: get over it. Move on. Who cares? Happens to the best of us. 2013 was a great teacher of that for me.

8. There will come a time as an adult where there are no take-backs. Sometimes you can’t unsend the text, you can’t rewind your words. Always choose them carefully, especially with those you love. It is possible to communicate anger without being hurtful. Don’t let yourself learn this lesson the hard way. If your words appeared on your skin would you be more careful with what you said?

7. There’s a place called “Dunford Bakers.” They have the best donuts in the world. I’m not kidding. My favorite part of Utah? Not the snow covered mountains, the Dunford Donuts. Game-changers.

6. After college, or after being in close proximity ends, you find out who your friends are. Which people will still be a part of your life, and who will show they want to be? Who are the friends that will transcend the all nighters, late summer nights, and tailgates? Who will stand up with you at your wedding? Who will genuinely care about your happiness?

5. It’s okay to have really good days, and really bad days. It is okay to eat a chocolate donut on those bad days. It is not okay to let yourself make every day a bad one. Sometimes you have to stop crying, put the Oreos away, wash your face, and go for a walk. Maybe that means telling yourself today will be better. One day you will believe it more than others, and it will get better.

4. Life is WAY too short to safeguard your opinions from the judgmental eye of others. Own up to how you feel and what you believe in, even if it is unpopular. Don’t apologize for being who you are. Utah has only reaffirmed this in me lately. I am definitely not in the majority here. My motto, “Oh well!” I’m proud of how I was raised.

3. This is the lesson that my mother has attempted to instill in me since I was in utero. Not only is it okay to say “No,” it is wise. It is a sign of maturity. It is key in controlling your own destiny. You don’t have to always be the “yes-woman.” Leave that nonsense to politicians.

2. Take a giant risk. Go for it. Move cross country 1,500 miles away from the world you have known for 23 years. It will be scary, and you will cry in hotel rooms from Iowa, to Nebraska, to Wyoming, but some mornings you will wake up and see the sun rise over the mountains. That’s when it all feels okay for the moment. Without these risks comes the “what if,” and that translates to regret.

1. Your own self-doubt is the greatest barrier to your wellness, and success. The voices in your head, they will hold you back more than 99.9% of the voices of others. This also goes with risk-taking. Sometimes you have to ignore everyone else and do what is right for you. I took two opportunities this year that I knew weren’t right for me, but I felt I HAD to take them. When I failed (which I knew I would), I felt so embarrassed. Quickly, I realized I have to focus on my positive intentions, abandon the self-doubt, and do what my gut leads me to. Very rarely is my gut wrong, and most often she leads me to great Pad-Thai. 

Thanks 2013, here's to a new year. Cheers!

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