I don’t know about you, but I’m definitely not feeling very 22 right now. I’m also definitely not the first person to make that joke. This past year has gone by more quickly than any other year before it. I’m not sure if it’s a side effect of getting older or of recognizing how precious time is. I guess both are probably true. But I’m no doctor. If I were, I probably wouldn’t have eaten all those Reese’s last week.
In some respects, I feel like I’ve learned a lot over the last year. In others, I feel like my life is no different than it was 365 days ago. That’s the funny thing about life, I think. A year can change absolutely everything and absolutely nothing, all at once.
Like, for example, I’m still sitting at home most of the time. I’m making videos and talking to people through the internet. I’m unemployed again and unsure of where my life is going. I still eat a lot of Lucky Charms. But I’m also much more clear on what I want in the future. I’m more confident than I was a year ago. I have a better handle on stress and anxiety. My skin is better. I’ve expanded my breakfast foods to include donuts and bagels.
Life, to me, at 21, was a lot of wishing and waiting and wanting. And wondering what the purpose was of all those things. Is it all to make me much more appreciative when something good comes along? Or is it all just a waiting game, with no purpose at all? And I must say, it feels pointless most of the time. But, like with everything, we won’t know until later. And by that point, we will have forgotten how we feel right now.
This is one of the reasons why I love writing, blogging, filming, and recording my life in general. I love the idea that I can capture, at any moment, how I feel, what I’m doing, what I love… and then I can remember it again down the road. That way, no time is ever really wasted. No minutes are lost unless you choose for them to be. You have the opportunity to remember every moment of your life. And I want to take that opportunity while I still can.
I guess I like to remember. I like to take notes of the things I’ve learned along the way and keep track of how I felt at every moment. That way, I don’t miss it or forget. So here is a totally original post idea that no one has ever done before, where I outline a few of the things I learned over the past year. Maybe it will help you, or maybe it will just remind me to find healthier breakfast alternatives.
1. Starting over is scary, but often totally worth it
Whether it’s life pushing you in a new direction or you deciding to start over and try something new, starting over can be terrifying. Instead of just temporarily leaving your comfort zone, you are chucking your comfort zone out the window and driving off without a map or a clue. Starting over is the worst kind of terrifying for me. But in order to move forward in life, you have to do it. You will never be happy if you resign to staying where you are now. Luckily, in my experience, starting over has only lead to positive outcomes. Unless you count moving back home, in which case the outcome is not quite clear yet. But I’m working on it.
2. People treat you differently when you can drink alcohol
Maybe this is a personal problem, but being able to drink alcohol is like a weird initiation right where suddenly everyone looks at you like an adult. You don’t even actually have to drink it, you just have to be the right age based on your driver’s license and you’re golden. It’s like vodka is some weird potion that makes everyone see you as a completely new person. It’s one of the weirdest things I’ve ever experienced in my life.
3. No one is in charge of your own happiness, except you
I used to believe that certain circumstances would make me happy. Like, if I could just get enough money to buy this outfit or move to this city or make my cat stop biting me, then I could be content with my life. But what I’ve learned is that I am capable of making myself happy at any time by just choosing to be happy. There are so many things that instantly put me in a better mood, so why don’t I do them more often? BRB, going to buy some more copper things now.
4. When you are honest with people, you end up helping them as much as you help yourself
Opening up can be extremely difficult, especially if you’re unsure how people will react or if you think they won’t understand. But a lot of the time, honesty is met with more honesty. And what you’ll find is that other people have been dealing with the same thing and neither of you is as alone as you believed you were. And there’s something amazing about that. Which is why I would really love it if you left me a comment about your terrible breakfast food habits, so I won’t feel so alone. Thanks in advance.
5. It’s OK not to have everything figured out
When you graduate high school, you think you are supposed to know what you want to study in college. When you graduate college, you think you are supposed to know exactly what job you want to have. But in reality, if anyone is that sure, they are probably lying. Most people are just moving along blindly and hoping they’re not running into things along the way. You may not have everything figured out tomorrow, but eventually things will work themselves out. Life is all about learning, because that’s half the fun. The other half is sugary breakfast foods. Ok, I really need to stop with this joke now. I told you I didn’t have everything figured out…
6. Empathy is the best super power
It’s no secret that people are going to think, live, or vote differently than you. No two people have the exact same beliefs and life experiences. It can be difficult to see eye-to-eye with people who look at things differently than you do. But I’ve learned that trying to understand other people’s perspectives is one of the strongest things you can do as a person. Empathy is something a lot of people forget, but without it, we are much weaker. It’s like a super power we can choose to have. My superhero name will be Bryncess. Called it!
7. I will never not love Taylor Swift
This one is kind of a no-brainer, but it’s important. No matter how much Taylor changes, or her shows change, or I change, I will always be a fan. After nine years, the dedication is real and it’s not going anywhere. Even if Taylor falls off the face of the earth forever (which, at this point, seems kind of likely. Where the hell is she?!).
8. It’s OK to walk away sometimes
Sometimes you will be presented with great opportunities. And sometimes they will not feel right, even if it looks great on paper or it’s something you have wanted for a long time. But it’s important to decide whether or not the opportunity is right for you. You should never take an opportunity just because you or someone else thinks you should. You have to make that decision for yourself. There are no take-backs in life, my friends.
9. You can’t live your life with the door shut
It’s no secret that opening yourself up is the easiest way to invite in hate and negativity. Especially on the internet. But a lot of amazing things happen when we open up (see #4) and we shouldn’t shy away from it just because a few people will find their way under our skin. Negativity is inevitable and we can’t let it keep us from being ourselves. Because we are all pretty great and we should be able to share that with the world without fear of judgment. Even if you spend your days laying in bed and hiding in fear of a wasp. Not that I do that or anything…
10. Over-prepare, then go with the flow
This has been one of my favorite lessons learned this year because it has helped me in so many aspects of my life, specifically job-hunting (which has taken up the majority of 21, let’s be honest). Because I am such an anxious person, I have an incredibly difficult time not over-thinking and stressing myself out. So I decided to use it to my advantage. Whenever I am walking into a stressful situation, I prepare myself for every possible outcome. That way, whichever one occurs, I am prepared. This has helped me limit my stress and decrease the possibility of getting into a situation I am unprepared for. Because I will do literally everything in my power to avoid those situations. I’m getting nervous just thinking about it.
11. Don’t let self-doubt stop you from doing what you really want to do
With creating videos, writing, and trying to find a job, there has been a lot of room for self-doubt in my life. Especially because there are things I feel I’ve gotten worse at, rather than better, over time. I am constantly worrying that I will never get to where I want to go in life. But I’ve learned that I can’t let that self-doubt keep me from following my passions. I know I would regret settling for something I don’t love more than I would regret spending my time working for the things I really want. Like garlic bread. And macaroni and cheese. And other things, too, obviously.
12. You can’t do everything alone
I used to hate asking for help. With anything. For some reason, I thought I was better if I could figure things out on my own. But since learning that it’s OK to ask for help sometimes, I feel like I’ve gotten so much further in a shorter amount of time. It’s amazing to me how willing some people are to help, even if they don’t know me that well. I am constantly amazed by how amazing people are (especially you guys, who are my #1s).
What are some things you’ve learned in the past year? Did any of these help you? Let me know in the comments!