1. Get off of your phone.
At risk of sounding like a broken record, I’m going to say it – turn your phone on silent. There is so much science to prove that being more “connected” with the world makes you less connected with yourself and it also makes you more lonely. So turn off the cellular device and utilize whatever skills you have, whether that is going on a hike, writing a poem with actual ink on actual paper, or just drinking a cup of coffee. Do it without the distraction of instagram notifications.
2. Give your soul some space to breathe.
This year, I’ve been learning how to make space for myself. I’ve realized that I need time to figure out how I feel about things and that both time and space are vital to my well being. For me, this has translated into not doing things (whether that is shopping, social media, eating, dating… etc) out of boredom. We all have methods of coping with (read: hiding from) our emotions and it is important to recognize and minimize those habits so that we give our souls space to breathe and process the world around us.
3. Ask for what you want.
I’ve never been good at asking for what I want. I tend to walk through the doors that open for me and either accept it or complain about it until something better comes along. But this year, I realized that it was time to express my needs and desires and actually ask for what I want – whether that was in romantic relationships, friendships, professional opportunities, or just from myself. You may be the person who knows what they want and pursues it relentlessly – and if you are, i admire you – but I think we all could benefit from evaluating what we want and asking for it without hesitation or embarrassment.
4. Say yes or no when YOU want to.
This comes down to setting boundaries. I used to say yes to everyone, all the time. But I began to wonder what life would be like if I were less busy and actually had the balls to say no to people. Maybe I’d be more productive in things I was legitimately excited about, instead of being worried about tons of obligations. I’ve found that saying no to what I need to allows me to say yes to the things that I want to.
5. Go ahead and let people love you.
If I’m being honest with you all, I’d say that I don’t know how to let people love me. Like many of those around me, I tell the truth that fits the perception I want people to have of me. But I don’t let the whole truth. And if someone doesn’t know the whole truth, they aren’t able to love all of me. And that’s a shame, because there are so many facets of my inner world (and yours too!) that people can and should have the opportunity to love. So instead of running away from vulnerability, let’s take the rest of this year to intentionally make connections and let people love us!
6. Learn something new.
I graduated from college almost two years ago and was so excited to never be graded on anything again. But last year, I realize how restless I’d become. I needed to branch out, so I’m learning as many new things as possible. Now, hear me out, I’m not saying we have to STICK TO the things we try or that we have to reach pro status at any of them; but I think it’s important to learn new things, even if it’s just learning ABOUT something. So far this year, I’ve tried learning German, how to freestyle rap, how to cook beets and kale so I’d actually want to eat them, about the political climate of Nicaragua, how to dougie, and all about the Zika virus. I think that being curious makes life much more fulfilling.
7. Enjoy the colorful moments.
Colorful moments are everywhere; whether it is late night cake and tea with a friend, flirting with the cute guy in the waiting room of your therapist’s office, or enjoying the flowers in your neighborhood. It’s super important to take a step back to enjoy the little moments that make your life worth living. Yes, structure and goals and success are important, but what are outlines if you’re not able to color in them?
8. Find adventure.
Adventure has been one of my keywords this year. I’m taking an archery class, skydiving, and taking a trip to Nicaragua this year. But what I’ve found about adventure is that it happens in the small moments. Adventure is born out of bravery and bravery is born out of fear. So look around at the things that you’re afraid of and choose to do them anyway. That is adventure.
9. Speak who you are.
Last year was the time when I realized that I wanted to be a writer, and this year is about me owning up to that realization. Unless you are literally the bravest and most honest person that ever existed, I think we all have that thing that we want to be but are afraid to admit it. I’ve straight up ignored people who’ve asked me what I want to do, but how bad would it be to say that I’m a writer? I think my brain makes it scarier than it actually would be. So let’s all own up to our dreams and speak out who we really are.
10. Be WEIRD.
I’ve been obsessed with being liked and with fitting in for most of my life. I didn’t want to be made fun of, I wanted to have friends, and I didn’t want to be the center of any controversy. But the more I learn about myself, the more I realize that I’m totally weird. But you know what? WE’RE ALL WEIRDOS! So why not let our freak flags fly? Why not be obsessed with musicals or coding or Avatar or whatever we want to be obsessed with? Let’s let ourselves be weird because that’s the way we find the weirdos who are just like us!