Monday, August 10, 2015

10 Things I Learned This Year

So, we passed that time of year again. Graduation. Parties. Friends. Family. Planning, thinking, finishing, doing...starting.
Your life as you know it is ending, and then you realize that your life is just starting, too. What a contradiction.
Watching the 2015 graduating class go through the ceremonies and the parties and got me thinking. I've only been graduated for a year, but in that year I have learned a gazillion things. I have become aware of things that were there for 18 years, but I didn't notice them until now. I have discovered new depths and dug deep into rich, healthy soil that has been being primed for this post-high-school life. A lot can happen in a year. Everything comes and goes - everything - to the point where somehow your life looks similar (because it's still yours) but the color, the look, the feel - EVERYTHING has changed.

Somewhere along this great timeline of life, someone thought it would be a great idea to have young adults have a complete change in EVERYTHING right smack-dab in the middle of what could be considered a young adult's mid-life-crisis. (Currently, I don't like this person.) But even when everything changes, we keep going.

" doesn't stop for anybody." - The Perks of Being a Wallflower

So, life doesn't stop. Neither do we. We never stop learning, doing, breathing, thinking, living.
And this is what I've learned while I've not stopped in the last year:

  1. Family is the most important thing that you will ever have, other than your faith. So, get to know them, if you don't. Lose the attitude - your parents actually do know more than you. Make use of their knowledge. They've lived longer than you. Also, find another model-figure for your life and make use of their knowledge. Usually someone who hasn't lived with you for the last 18 years has a different perspective. Also, family is not limited to blood-relatives. Some of my family members are sunday-school teachers from 3rd grade. Some are co-workers. Some are my mom's clients that I cat-sit for. And then there's my church. (which personally I think can be a little weird, because it's like: assuming everyone in this building has accepted, they're all my bro's and sista's....sorry, what was your name? I don't think we've met..." And it's also weird when those people know your name because you're on the worship team, but then you're like "actually I don't recognize you at all....I was probably looking at my music..."). Basically, EMBRACE YOUR FAMILY.
  2. You can't change people. You can only change yourself, your reactions, your responsibilities. So, if you don't like something that you can't change, change your reaction. for example: this spring i had an incident with the director of the play that i was providing music for. she felt that i wasn't putting enough effort into the music (when in reality i was putting in as much effort as i could muster). I had to tell her that i was doing that, but in order for me to do any better, i was going to need HER support, and the music director's support too. and then, rather than being really mad at her (because i really wanted to be mad at her) i decided that she was stressed about the play and the deadlines in it, and i was stressed about the same, and the only thing i could do was be nice to her. and you know what? it worked. the more understanding i tried to be, the less angry i felt with her and the easier it was for me to put more effort into the music. 
  3. Treat others as you would like to be treated. (And don't be a two-year-old and be mean. Be decent. It will be returned to you.)
  4. Make new friends. This one, I think, is critical. Usually, we spend most of the first 18 years of our life surrounded by familiar faces: friends that we grew up with from childhood, family, people from church, etc. I think we have a tendency to harden our abilities to meet new people, thus creating cliques (which, if you have ever been on the outside of a clique, is actually very painful). So when a new face shows up at bible study, introduce yourself. When you see a new family at church, or at a gathering, or WHATEVER, go say hi. (I know: this is coming from the introvert. But I'm not entirely hopeless. I have at least 3 friendships that are new as of the beginning of the year.) WARNING: if you are in a clique and you do this, you might lose your place...just sayin'.
  5. Clothing does not wash itself. (I had to put this one in.) I have never been good at doing laundry. I put a load in the washer, and then forget about it for two days. Thankfully, I've been getting better about not leaving it for days at a time, but in the process have developed another habit: waiting to wash the clothes until I have none left to wear. DON'T DO THIS. Because chances are, you'll choose to do laundry on the very day that everyone else in your living quarters chooses to do laundry. And then that results in laundry wars. (*ahem*, underwear helmets and laundry basket sure to remove all cameras from premises so as to avoid blackmailing material...)
  6. Get a job, and learn how to love it, even when you hate it. Currently, I'm not totally in love with my job, because I'm learning that everyone in the world does not wish for bubblegum, rainbows and unicorns. But, the paycheck makes up for it. And I have awesome hours. So basically it balances itself out.
  7. Have fun. Literally. For a couple months after I graduated, it was like I was still in school. Always busy, always doing something. And then things slowed down. This last month or so, even though I'm still really busy, I've been focusing more on doing things I enjoy - like staying up until 2 a.m. reading. Or going for walks with my mom. Or going to a movie with my sister. Or just meeting a friend for coffee. (I LOVE coffee dates.) Or Skyping with people halfway around the world. Slow down a little, enjoy what you do.
  8. Be YOU. I know you've heard this before, but I cannot stress it enough. This is your life. More particularly, this is your first year on your own. (Yeah, I know, it's freaky.) So you get do change the things you don't like about yourself, and nourish the parts that you do like. You get to take that clay that your parents have spent 18 years centering and shaping (not details yet, just form) and you get to start saying "I like that, lets add a little detail. I like this, lets put some in here. And...oh GOODNESS we need to get rid of that..." You get to shape yourself, and let God shape you. It's really awesome.
  9. Laugh at yourself. No kidding, here. I used to get super stressed out and then the tiniest little thing would set me off and I would either turn into the Hulk, or run sobbing to my room. SERIOUSLY let it go. When you mess up, LAUGH. It makes the situation that much less painful, and everyone else around doesn't get a ruined day.
  10. Find something you love about yourself. EXAMPLE: I have great legs. No, really. I LOVE my legs, especially when I work out and they are semi-tan. Also, I love that I'm an introvert. I mean, yeah it can be a little bit of a problem when I have to be around people...but when I DON'T have to be around people its really awesome because then I'm this super low-maintenance person. When you start looking for something you like, you get to know yourself better. It's really interesting, because it basically goes like this: "Lets see....what do I like about myself....OOH! I like that. But what's that? Ugh...gross. I think that needs to go. So, trashcan where are yo- OH MY GOODNESS LOOK AT THIS LOVELINESS where has that been? has it been hidi- have you been hiding all this time? THAT IS SO COOL!!!"
or something like that.
10 things in 1 year. I've probably learned more. I've probably learned more important ones. But I've probably also forgotten them.
These are the ones I remembered. These are the ones that are important to me.
so what did you learn this last year?  what do you remember? what's important now? You should totally tell me about it in the comment section! :D

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