I thought about doing a sort of recap of my year. Then I thought of making a new year’s resolution. But since so much happened this year that I don’t know where to start said recap and since I think resolutions are a bit old, I decided that the best thing to do is list down the things I learned about life and myself this year.
A couple of months back, I made a post about the 27 Lessons I’ve accumulated in my 27 years of existence. This is not a repetition of that (or, I think it’s not. Maybe a bit of validation). In the 365 days this year, every single day is an opportunity to learn from things that happened to me or things I see happened to others. I’m not saying that my eyes are always open for those lessons or that I’m always receptive, but I’d like to think I’m smart enough to know that there are moments when the universe is really trying to tell me something.
Thank you, 2013, for these lessons.
1. Everything should always be custom-made.
There is no such thing as one size fits all in life, and I’m not talking about clothes here. Oftentimes, when I congratulate other people on their milestones I start thinking, “what am I doing with my life?” This year, I find myself having less and less of those moments. Not the congratulating part but the existentialist bullshit that seems to always come after. I figured, they have their milestones, I have my own. My milestones may not be what’s expected or what society says is normal, but they’re mine. Only I and a select few can understand how important those milestones are to me and the life path that’s slowly (very slowly) becoming clearer to me.
In 2013, I kinda validated that what works for others won’t necessarily work for me. No relationship, no career, no life path is exactly the same no matter how similar they may seem. So, don’t climb the corporate ladder because it’s what’s expected if what you really want to do is sell kebab on the beach. Don’t get married if you’re not ready just because everyone’s starting a family. Don’t wear skinny jeans just because famous people are wearing them (newsflash for guys: very skinny jeans look terrible on you). Don’t ever feel like you’re running out of time. Wait, scratch that. We’re always running out of time, so there’s no sense wasting it on things that aren’t fit for us. Write your own story. Blaze your own trail. Make everything custom-made to your life.
2. Some roles should be absolute.
We cannot be everything for everyone just as everyone cannot be everything for us; we choose what roles people play in our lives. For example, your sister could be a friend, a parent, and a shopping buddy. Your parents could be providers, emotional refuge, and home. Over time, these roles may change and add up. As we get older, as our wants and needs start to vary, we find ourselves asking for more (or even less) from the people we care about.
In 2013, I learned that each important person in my life have different roles to play but each should have one role that should remain constant – that one role I will always need them to play. A parent could be a sounding board and a mentor but should always be a parent. A sibling could be a travel companion and competition but should always be a supportive foundation. A spouse could be a provider and friend but should always be a partner. Some roles should be absolute regardless of time and circumstance.
3. Most of life’s important questions is answerable by yes or no.
I’ll give you examples of these important questions. Do you want children? Do you want to spend the rest of your life with this person? Do you want this career path? Are you happy with your life right now? The answers to those question are either “yes” or “no.” If your answer is “yes, but…” then the answer is “no.” Am I over simplifying things? Maybe, but I don’t think so. Life is already complicated enough without us adding to it. Shouldn’t there be other considerations like people, resources, or time? Yes, there are. There will always be many other things to consider but answering with a yes or no will start the ball rolling.
In 2013, I learned that some things, most of them very important life-altering things, should be easy if we choose them to be. We should try not to think so much about what ifs or maybes; it’s what we want and need right now that matters. After all, how would we know what we’d want ten years from now? Will we even be around ten years from now? The sooner we can answer them, the sooner we’ll know what to do. Answering yes to those important questions will determine how much effort we’d put into making that “yes” stick a lifetime. Answering no will help us move on to other things that are worth our while.
4. Some wounds are too deep to be fully healed.
It has always been said that time heals all wounds. While true most of the time, there are cases when the best you can have is a wound that scarred over. People hurt each other, whether they intend to or not, and for some reason, people are skilled at inflicting wounds on people they claim to care about. Some people hurt more than others, some people heal quickly, and some never really do. Some people forget, some people forgive, and some just can’t afford to do either. And there’s nothing wrong with that. We do what we have to do to survive and live again.
In 2013, I learned that while it’s best to heal clean, a little scarring doesn’t mean you aren’t healed. There simply are wounds too deep and too important that can’t be erased even by time. It doesn’t mean you will always hurt, it just means you will never forget. It might hurt a little to remember how those scars came to be, but you will move on, you will live, and you will have the best people in your life who will never allow you to get wounded that way again. And you’ll find out that those scars will make you love yourself more because not only do they make you tougher and stronger, they make you realize what you’re worth.
5. You are stronger than you think.