One of the most beneficial things I did for myself this year (other than using a poster board to make a giant adventure list) was keeping a journal that I used to write down five things I learned over the course of the day. At the beginning of the year, I didn’t realize how valuable this would be to me so while I wish I could say I kept up with it daily, I did not. This is definitely a change I will make going into 2018, as I see now how much worth there is in keeping track of the lessons you’re learning.
The first 10 on the list are 10 of my personal, most noteworthy lessons from this year. 11-99 are the lessons of people whom I asked “what did you learn in 2017?” Some people answered this via social media, and some lessons are from my colleagues, classmates, family members, and friends. Some lessons are from the mouths of strangers whom I randomly selected in grocery stories, the gym, or wherever else I happened to be. The lessons are listed in no particular order.
I purposely left out any details about the speaker so we can all see just how similar we are in the things we have learned, despite any differences we may have. So often we miss out on our common ground because we too quickly assume there isn’t one. An example of that from this list are lessons number 14 & 28. The men who learned these things are different races, ages, from different socioeconomic statues, and different political parties yet they learned the same thing. Just a reminder to be open to any and every one – you never know who you can connect with and who you can learn from.
I am so appreciative of everyone who unselfishly shared their wisdom with me this year.
So…what did you learn in 2017?
1. Everything is an opportunity. Everything is an adventure. Everything is an experiment. Everything is an experience. If you approach everything you do with these four things in your mind, life is so much more fulfilling and so much less stressful. We’re here to learn and grow, not to be perfect.
2. “What you dislike in another, be sure to correct in yourself.” For years this has been one of my most favorite quotes, but this year it really became a mantra I repeated in my head daily. This quote is basically a more poetic version of the Golden Rule. If you notice that someone does something that you don’t like, take special care to look inward and make sure you aren’t doing the same.
3. It’s easier to keep up than it is to catch up. In all things. It’s easier to stay in shape than it is to get in shape. It’s easy to keep up with your finances than it is to catch up once you’re already behind. It is easier to maintain a friendship/relationship than it is to try to salvage it once it’s broken. Etc, etc. Everything requires some form of sacrifice, but it’s much easier to make the sacrifice before you find yourself scrambling to resolve the issue.
4. There are adventures to be had everywhere. I feel like people think you have to be in places like Jamaica or Europe just to have amazing experiences but truthfully, the spirit of adventure must live in the person, not the place. Be open to exploring where you are now.
5. Know yourself and Be yourself. Fully and unapologetically. Yes, be willing to compromise, be willing to change, be willing to evolve and grow, but be bold enough to be yourself in the face of people who will indirectly try to change you because they don’t like themselves.
6. If you want to feel rich, create MARGIN. I read somewhere that ‘you don’t really have $100 until you have $200’ and it’s so true. The actual amount of money you have doesn’t even really matter…it’s more so about having wiggle room and the ability to not live from one dollar to the next. Create a savings account/savings plan and give yourself the gift of space to financially breathe.
7. BALANCE is everything. It is also seemingly the hardest thing. All work and no play is a cause for burnout, but all play and no responsibility is empty and unfulfilling.
8. Be intentional, be intentional, be intentional. In all things. Keep your goals in the forefront of your mind at all times. Either you will control your life, or your life with control you.
9. EVERYONE has problems. Don’t get caught up in comparisons with what you see online or anywhere else. Everyone has something going on that they’d rather no one know about. Don’t compare, do your best not to judge, just live and let live.
10. God is real. I definitely knew this already, but every year He continues to show out in my life, reminding me that he knows me personally and intimately. I am so appreciative.
11. “You become what you believe! To own my life, be thankful, set boundaries & most importantly to see myself through my OWN eyes.”
12.”I learned that everything should be approached as an experiment. When things are an experiment, you have no expectations which equals no disappointment. Learn from your experiments, take chances. Grow and glow. Experiments are experiences.”
13. “I learned that you should not invest so much of yourself into others who wouldn’t do the same for you and (to) work more towards my happiness.”
14. “I learned that Donald Trump is evil.”
15. ” I’ve learned to let things go and just live life day by day. I feel like I spend too much time worrying about many (things) that were out of my control. I felt like I was just stressing myself out for over thinking things. Now I just let things be and I’m much happier.”
16. “That family is more important than work.”
17. “That some of the best places are the ones that are close by. Be open to going to places that are near you instead of thinking you have to go far to have an adventure.”
18. “I would have to say that love is love. I’m in a polyamorous relationship, so there’s 3 of us, and I’ve lost a lot of family and friends because of it. I’ve learned that if someone really loves you, they’ll just want you to be happy.”
19. “I learned the importance of the environment…like clean air, clean water, that kind of stuff.”
20. “Nothing. It was just a regular year.”
21. “I think my biggest lesson has been the importance of self care. We all know what self care is – making sure you give yourself care so you can keep taking care of others- but I think I’ve found it to be so much more dependent on knowing when to grant self-forgiveness. The constant voice calling yourself out, nitpicking your choices, and ever destined to make you think you either aren’t enough or you’re not doing good enough in life. I’ve learned to ask that voice what its intentions are. Is it really keeping me on track or is it the learned behavior from people of the past who always wanted to make you feel like you aren’t worth anything? You have to distinguish between the two and love the multifaceted self of highs and lows that you are if you ever want to embrace self-care.”
22. “I learned to be less rigid. and less judgmental. I’m really judgmental. and I mean, if it doesn’t affect my life, why am I even worrying about it?”
23. “Problems are a sign of life. You know how if you’re in the hospital and you flat line it’s because you’re dead? and if the lines are going up and down, it’s because you’re still alive.”
24. “Don’t compare yourself to other people. Everyone is different. Just because someone you know is ahead of you, don’t rush to catch up to them. Do it at your own pace. Achieve your own goals in the best way that will be beneficial to you.”
25. “Don’t take everything so seriously. Everything is just kind of here and now.”
26. “As a nation, we need to build up our morality and tolerance. We need to be more connected and less separated.”
27. “I learned a lot about logotherapy, which is a type of therapy that helps people discover their ‘why.’ Viktor Frankl wrote a book about it and how the survivors of the Holocaust were able to make it through because they decided they had a reason to live. It can help a lot too with people who are suicidal, like you help them to uncover a reason they have to live and it can really change their lives. ”
28. “Don’t trust Donald Trump! Take away his ‘tweeter’…and I voted for him!”
29. “I learned that no matter how hard things might get or how bad things may seem it could always be worse. So have faith that it’s all a part of the process and if you believe it things will get better. Count your blessings, appreciate what you have, and keep positive thoughts through the ups and the downs. The key is be grateful.”
30. “I learned that kids are a pain in the butt.”
31. “One thing I learned in 2017 is to be patient with others and to not be so petty :).”
32. “Well, I do everything for everyone at home and I do so much for my friends and for everyone else and I realized that a lot of those people wouldn’t do the same for me. So I guess just not to let people take advantage of me.”
33. “If you’re stressed and you have a bit of a freak out, it’s okay.”
34. “I learned who my real friends are and not to trust nobody but myself, and I also learned whatever happened in the past I should forget and move on because it will make you miserable and I also learned to make time for people/friends.”
35. “Never beg for anyone’s attention…especially a significant other’s attention. It’s the easiest way to forget your worth and lose yourself. If someone isn’t willing to compromise to work on a relationship, let.it.go.”
36. ” One thing I learned this year was that I’m supposed to clean when my parents aren’t home (apparently).”
37. “Nothing has meaning except the meaning that you give it.”
38. “This year has shown me, more than anything, that the ways forward are through patience, kindness and love.”
39. “I learned not to compare anyone else’s success to my own, to not get discouraged or unmotivated. One’s journey is not my own journey. I still have days where I struggle with this A LOT, but I try my best to snap out of it and instead get INSPIRED. I’m learning to take action in my plans…I really believe in myself now.”
40. “The people you trust the most will (screw) you over the hardest.”
41. “Not to judge. Until you walk in someone else’s shoes, you just never really know.”
42. “I learned that you’ve got to be grateful for what you have.”
43. “Sometimes you learn more by failing.”
44. ” The main thing that I’ve learned is that life will go on with or without me. It keeps me motivated and reminds me that I have no choice but to pick up the pieces of my life if I want to succeed. Learning who I am has also been one of the biggest lessons in my life. No one is going to live MY life so I cannot rely on others opinions to dictate my likes, dislikes, and actions. Life is ultimately a game of trial and error, and the beauty of that is it makes you more humble and enlightened about life. Last but not least, I learned that EVERYTHING that happens to me is a blessing, whether it be good or bad, it’s a blessing in the end. It may not seem like it, but trust me God will never give you a load that He doesn’t believe you can handle and he also gives His toughest soldiers the hardest battles. Hardships will reveal to you the things about yourself that you may not even have known, such as strength, integrity, and resilience. They will make you stronger and a better you.”
45. “I learned that life is short.”
46. “One thing I have learned in 2017 was to be more patient with others and not over think too much of things or problems because it will get better sooner or later. Also just to be more kind and happy with everything.”
47. “Things can get better as they slowly piece themselves together.”
48. “I learned that life is not a race and everyone will accomplish their goals on their own time. Someone my age may be further ahead in college than me but that doesn’t mean I’m behind. Everyone has their own path to follow and there is no right or wrong way to follow it.
49. “I learned I need more money.”
50. ” You can’t always make everyone happy and sometimes, in order to make the right choices for yourself, you may lose a couple of people but that’s okay because it all works out in the end.”
51. “If it’s expired, just don’t eat it.”
52. “Don’t trust anyone fully.”
53. “Sometimes the opportunities in front of you, are only for you. As a giver it is hard at times to not think of the next person who is in need, how you can “split” your opportunity to give everyone a slice – but, now it is time to accept that it is okay to receive during your harvest. So, accept your harvest. After all, after so much sowing, you should be confident in what is reaped.”
54. “I learned that God is the best dad ever.”
55. “Well, I discovered Red Rock Canyon in Vegas and I never knew that was there! It’s at the north end of The Strip and it’s like a mini Grand Canyon. It’s a 13 mile loop and you can hike it or drive it. Oh and don’t trust politicians. But I already knew that.”
56. “I learned you can’t lick your own elbow.”
57. “One thing I have learned in 2017, and that I keep learning, is to live life because time does go by fast. Also, spending time with family and friends means a lot.”
58. “A solid lesson I learned this year, is that everything you do in life is an investment. So whatever choices you make, you should always make sure it will add value to your life, or will help you somehow in the future. Pretty much I learned to stop wasting my energy on irrelevant things.”
59. “I learned that it’s okay not to be okay.”
60. “I’ve learned to focus more on life’s journey than its destination. We all get so focused on our huge dreams and goals (don’t get me wrong, that’s amazing), but we tend to forget to enjoy the journey and paths we take and the way God leads us so we can reach our destinations. I’ve learned to take deep breaths and allow myself to be present in everything that I do.”
61. “The importance of learning to adapt. I had a hard year, and I moved a lot so yea, just learning to adapt.”
62. ” One thing that I truly learned from 2017 is to never end my life just because of a situation that I feel like is never going to go away. Multiple times I wanted to just cut the cord, but I know God has something in store for me in the future.”
63. “I learned not to care about anyone’s opinion. I learned to be happy with myself in order to be happy with the world. I learned that I don’t need any negative vibes or people in my life & because those negative people are unhappy with their lives, they try to bring everyone else down.”
64. “Weddings are expensive.”
65. “The most important thing that I learned is that having a great support system such as family is huge and important. My family means the world to me and nothing feels better than seeing everyone succeed and happy.”
66. “I’m starting to realize that all my sadness and loneliness is a figment of my imagination and it’s not reality.”
67. “The life we are living now is not all there is! We all are patiently waiting for something better! and it will come this year. We all had highs and lows but look at us, we are still here alive and living life grateful for each and every day. We have to try and praise god and try to encourage someone else to keep fighting and being the best they can be! We are all human and no one’s better than the next, we are all in this race together! Nobody can do it on their own. We all need each other!”
68. “Stay healthy and don’t eat a lot of bad snacks.”
69. “Don’t be afraid to put your foot down.”
70. ” According to the girl at the hair academy who cut my hair today, you’re supposed to shampoo with hot water and condition with cold water.”
71. “I learned that your past doesn’t have to dictate your future. That what you’ve been through doesn’t mean your broken forever and that the non acceptance from man (the world) doesn’t make you any less worthy to have the desires of your heart. We go through situations to grow, to be better, to do better, and that doesn’t have to define you but choose to let it shine upon you.”
72. “You have to be good with yourself before you can be good with others.”
73. “In 2017 I learned that people come and go, but the ones who stay (through everything) are only going to keep growing with you, and make you a better person in the long run.”
74. “Never give up on your dreams.”
75. “Don’t trust anyone. I mean, it’s kind of every man for himself.”
76. “Working hard really does pay off.”
77. “I learned that things will break you and things will be hard and there are gonna be crazy obstacles to get over whether it’s getting a new job, finishing school, getting over your ex, or even working out family issues. BUT it is definitely in your hands to pick up those pieces and learn from your failures/mistakes/difficulties and keep moving forward. You could sit around and feel sorry for yourself orrrr you can get up and switch things around, do something different, work towards taking steps toward your goals. It’s a lot easier said than done but hey, what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger right?”
78. “I learned to live in the moment.”
79. “Dreams are worthless without action.”
80. ” I’m turning into my mother…and that’s more than okay.”
81. “That people are really mean. Especially in politics, like you can disagree and still get along. And I also learned that there are people with big hearts, you seem them helping in natural disasters and it’s like there’s hope. Mean people over here, hope over here.”
82. “Take it one day at a time with having a goal in your mind.”
83. “Not all your friends are actually your friends.”
84. “You will gain so much in life if you have self-confidence, self-love, and self-care.
85. “To not fear failure. To be okay to fail. I had a professor who purposely made the first test so hard so that everyone would fail. He curved the test so everyone still passed, but he said you have to learn to fail and then learn how to pick yourself back up. Also, that sometimes you just have to slow down.”
86. “Trade your expectations for appreciation.”
87. “I learned that my family is pretty awesome.”
88. “In 2017 I learned to just not care about the small things, and I should focus on bettering myself.”
89. “I learned how to push myself past my limits. A friend once said ‘sometimes you are like a glow stick, you can never shine until you break yourself open.”
90. “Well, I just got married! So I would say learning to be selfless. Patience is another form of selflessness, because when you’re being patient you’re thinking about the other person and not about yourself.”
91. “You can’t be stressed and grateful at the same time. When you get stressed, just automatically think of something you’re grateful for.”
92. “How to not only manage my time, but how to know what are wants and what are needs.”
93. “When you do something, it will always come (back to you) in return even if it’s good or bad.”
94. “This year I have learned that I am my biggest obstacle. I always talk about the things that I want to do and I either don’t start them or complete them. I let fear, doubt and anxiety take over instead of putting my trust in God and realizing that with him anything is possible. I made the decision to work on my blog towards the end of this year and I set small goals for myself to accomplish and it’s officially almost done. I’m learning that consistency is key and I have to just keep working towards my goals.”
95. “Forgiveness is necessary.”
96. “Some time at the gym is better than no time at the gym.”
97. “Time heals everything, and everything gets better even though it takes a while.”
98. “Different things will speak to you at different times.”
99. “Make sure your goals align with your heart.”
100. “God’s got it.”