2017 was an life changing year for me. This past year taught me so much about myself and my goals in life. The personal growth I gained will be something I will carry with me throughout my future. Here are 17 most memorable lessons 2017 taught me:
1. Do the things that scare you the most.
All of a sudden before I left for Europe this summer I started to feel scared. Maybe I shouldn’t go, I don’t know what I’m doing, how will I survive alone in a foreign country? Ironically, I stumbled on a quote that read: “Everything you want is on the other side of fear.” This hit me hard, it was the truest quote I could have read. I knew I wanted to see the world and travel. And once I arrived in Italy this summer and once I returned home I was thankful I overcame my fears.
2. Confidence can begin when you get to know yourself.
Traveling alone gave me the opportunity to only focus on myself. With my full attention on myself, I started to get to know myself more than I thought was possible. I learned my limits, my goals, my insecurities, my hopes, everything. And once I started to know myself, I felt more confident in myself which I was able to show to the world.
3. It’s okay to be alone.
Before this year, I was the type of person who felt uncomfortable being alone in a public place. I constantly worried what people must think of me. Do I look lonely out to eat alone? It was frightening. However, this past summer, I was forced to be alone. So much so that I began to enjoy it to the point where I usually prefer it now. Being alone doesn’t mean I was lonely, and people are never really thinking about me like I feared they were.
4. Learning doesn’t just happen in the classroom.
When I arrived to Italy this summer, I took a class for 5 weeks. However, most of my learning happened when I wasn’t in the classroom. I learned so much about different cultures and communication even with a language barrier. Having the ability to travel to so many different countries taught me more about the world than any teacher could in a classroom.
5. Physical health is important.
This year for the first time I really became serious about my health. I had always depended on sports when I was in high school and that momentum stayed with me throughout my first few years of college. But after traveling throughout Europe and thinking I could eat anything I wanted and still look the same… reality hit me. I was not making smart decisions about my health. Exercising is important but eating healthy meals is just as or even more important. It’s also important to remember that eating differently to improve health is not a diet, it’s a lifestyle. I want to carry my enthusiasm to live a healthy lifestyle in my future.
6. It’s important to branch out and meet new people.
Similarly, to #3, I used to be content with spending time with the same people. Mostly because I was scared to make new friends. This year I had the chance to meet several new people while I was traveling alone and it made such a difference. It was so satisfying to spend time with new people and to learn about their life. Making new connections is important and another fear that shouldn’t have stopped me from branching out sooner.
7. Being present in the moment is rare but necessary.
Being present in the moment is something so rare, especially with all of the distractions our electronic devices provide. While I was in New Zealand, I participated in several outdoor activities. Most of these activities were physically challenging but because of this I was able to be in the moment. During one of the hikes on the North Island, the mountain became very steep so out of fear for dropping my phone, I put it away in my backpack. By doing so it was as if my eyes were finally opened by all of the amazing beauty around me. I was able to sit along the hike to savor my surroundings and for once, I felt completely present in the moment.
8. Constantly remind yourself of your goals.
A lot will be changing for me next year and so this year I really had to think about my future and what I want. Once I determined my academic, career, and personal goals I decided to place reminders all around myself. I discussed this in depth in a previous post but since doing this simple task, I feel so encouraged to keep working harder because I have a vision that I want to achieve.
9. Save money.
This is a new goal of mine that I finally feel serious about. Budgeting is important and the sooner I start the better my savings account will be. Since I’m a student I don’t have much income yet but next year I want to make an extra effort to save as much money as possible.
10. Waking up early does help with productivity throughout the day.
This past year I started waking up earlier even when I didn’t have class or anything really to do. I was drawn to the thought of having more time throughout the day. This wasn’t easy for me at first but going to bed earlier definitely helped me wake up earlier in the mornings. By doing this I found I really like the mornings and having a small routine I can look forward to. *this routine has been lost due to the holidays* I hope to continue this habit in the new year.
11. I am my own best friend and that is enough.
There is clearly a theme between the lessons I learned…by getting to know myself I started to understand that even though I have some of the best friends and family members; I am the only person I can truly count on. Once I realized that I wasn’t as disappointed anymore when things happened to me. It’s a hard lesson but it’s also an incredible blessing.
12. Don’t take pictures just to post.
Social media is truly not important. I feel like it’s a common habit to fall into especially as a blogger who loves Instagram but not everything has to be documented. People usually don’t really care about everything going on in someone else’s life anyways. I started to recognize that privacy is important and should be practiced more often.
13. Attachment leads to disappointment (duh).
I know this is a given but I really started to understand this lesson more this year. The more I started going into situations with zero expectations, the better I felt. This is another hard lesson that I want to continue to be aware of and practice in the new year.
14. Being with my family makes me the happiest.
I think this lesson became more relevant to me since I was away from my family this year traveling. I started to appreciated home and where I was from more once I met other people and saw other cities. Being with my family is home in itself and those connections make me the happiest and most likely will always make me the happiest.
15. Collect memories, not things.
This is a lesson I learned this summer. I made so many incredible memories while I traveled that will stay with me throughout my life. The memories I made have a greater value than any souvenir I could have bought.
16. Be patient with all things.
Patience is definitely not one of my strengths. But this year I started to learn that when I am patient, eventually good things will come. There is so much uncertainty in life but I want to be patient with all things: love, school, my future. Being patient will allow me to enjoy the present rather than worrying about the future.
17. It’s about the effort you put into the process not about the end outcome.
This is another hard lesson. I think it was common for me to stress about the end outcome of a situation rather than focusing on the process to get to the end. Usually, the effort I put into the process will determine the end outcome in most cases. It’s similar to being present in the moment rather than worrying about the future.