17 Lessons I Learned In 2012
1. Everyone suffers in strikingly similar ways, even though it doesn’t seem like it. It can be easy to judge bad moods and harsh attitudes (or to feel alone when you’re down and others seem to have it easy), but most of us experience very similar problems at some point or another (heartbreak, car troubles, frustrating jobs… You feel me yet?).
2. Relationships and interactions are so karmic, it’s humorous once you notice. Most of us, including myself at times, don’t know that we’re sending out bad energy, and then it’s lost on us when people are cruel back. Likewise, it’s funny how being in a good mood makes it seem like everyone around is kinder. Usually, you get what you put in.
3. Sleep deprivation, a mild dependence on espresso, and a chaotic schedule don’t have to be hell if you embrace them. At least you’re living. The alternative is getting too much sleep, being boring, and being, well, bored. Just make sure you know what hour is appropriate for doing work and what hour is deemed best for drinking — and try to get, you know, some sleep.
4. And on the other hand, don’t fall victim to the vacuum of chaos. It is possible to be the quiet eye of the crazy storm — it may just take some practice (and meditation or something. You’ll figure it out).
5. Everything is connected to everything else. Thanks, Barry Commoner (and RIP). This is true for just about everything.
6. It’s scary to tell someone you care. It’s scarier to not.
7. Expectations dampen experiences. Just live and don’t have an agenda or an image of what should be.
8. Fears don’t dissipate easily, but tell them to and they’ll listen. Face what seems scary, and afterwards you’ll almost always look back and go, “What the hell? That totally wasn’t scary.” You’ll feel like you experienced a new part of the world.
9. Sometimes growing as an individual makes it clear who’s not. Personal growth can make it obvious who is comparatively lagging, and you realize you’ll never have the same relationship with those people again — you’re moving one way and they’re stagnant.
10. No one should be intimidating. No one should be put on a pedestal. We’re all living on this earth together, all grew from the same stage of infancy to childhood to adulthood, and despite what royalty or fame or politics would teach, no one is inherently higher than anyone else. Fundamentally, we’re all living on the same planet and are capable of making an impact in some capacity. When you feel inferior to anyone, you shut down your capabilities.
11. It doesn’t really matter what you’re doing — it’s why and how you’re doing it.
12. When living is most exhausting, you’re almost surely going against the natural flow. There may be another choice that’s best, not so challenging — and this isn’t to say the easiest path is the best, because that certainly isn’t true, but there’s a way that naturally just kind of works. Things just fall into place. Go that way.
13. We’re most judgmental of others when we’re most judgmental of ourselves. Oops, sorry for being a jerk. I was just self-conscious, really.
14. Life is more rewarding when it’s really felt — when you romanticize it a little and are awe-struck by daily surprises and allow yourself to be vulnerable to pain. We’re all able to feel the same emotions. It only comes down to how much we scale down the dials.
15. You cultivate more of your character by losing yourself sometimes. You’ll figure yourself out again and gain more of yourself, too.
16. Confidence doesn’t = lighter cares; lighter cares = confidence. If your fuel is your confidence, you might just end up with a needy ego, but if you relax your mind and your concerns, life just seems easier and confidence rises. Boom.
17. You pretty much get what you ask for from the universe. The problem is we often don’t know what to ask for and what we’re actually asking for.
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Our generation boasts some of the most successful young entrepreneurs in history, and many of these millionaires never finished school, opting out to get a head start on their ventures. Even if you aren’t the next Zuckerberg, know that there are so many ways to learn and consume information in today’s world.
So many of my relationships in life — when I was more insecure, when I didn’t like myself, when I didn’t think I deserved much — have been about proving, over and over again, that I am okay.
Today I began an essay: For as long as I have known how to be, I’ve been ashamed of my body. My publications all live within this same confessional territory.
Almost there. But not quite.