Looking back at my year I never expected 2016 to turn out the way that it did. With 2017 just around the corner, I thought that I would reflect on my year. Like every year, 2016 had its ups and downs but to my surprise the happier moments definitely surpassed the struggles of this year.
On December 31st 2015, I told myself that I would make it my goal to be more “spontaneous”. At the time that meant being more confident in as many aspects of my life that I could possibly manage. To the average person it might sound like an easy task but for me; being both shy and introverted, made this seem almost impossible. Trying to step outside of my comfort zone is something that makes me feel completely unsettled and the thought of it was completely anxiety provoking. I immediately regretted this as I felt like I’d set myself up just to fail. Never in my life have I ever been spontaneous. The words calculated, predictable and boring would probably resonate with my personality. I guess looking back, it’s made the past year definitely one to remember.
To my surprise I actually kept to my goal. Of course throughout the year I learnt some important lessons, some of which wouldn’t have happened had I not been committed.
Do the things that you want to do regardless of whether people approve of it or not
Get that ridiculously expensive handbag that you’ve always wanted. A tragus piercing? Yep get that too if you want it, because I did! I learnt that I can’t please everyone in my life with the decisions I make. Everyone is entitled to his or her own opinion and unfortunately people will have one about the choices you make. They will be both positive and negative but you can’t let that stop you from doing the things you want or want to do. I learnt to filter out the negativity and stop over thinking. I did a few impulsive and out of character things this year and it definitely made my year more exciting.
Learn to say “No” because people aren’t mind readers
In the words of Taylor Swift “speak now” was literally my mantra for the year. I learnt to speak up for myself this year. I’m a people pleaser or what I like to call a push over. I’ve spent my whole life being shy. Trying to break out of that this year was difficult but completely necessary. I actually found myself in situations where I had to speak up for myself and say “no” to things that I didn’t want. I didn’t want to be a doormat. Although it’s something that I’m still working on, the last thing you want is for people to have the expectation that they can walk all over you.
“Rejection” in any shape or form is going to hurt no matter how strong you think you are
I’ve experienced my fair share of rejection this year and undoubtedly it hurt. People are going to tell you that you’re not “suitable”, not “compatible” and not “good enough”. I was lucky enough to be told all 3! As much as I tried to avoid it, it found me. In the past I would strategically avoid putting myself in situations where being rejected was a possibility. Nobody likes being disappointed especially when you’re a self-proclaimed perfectionist. It sounds completely silly but in perspective I probably missed out on a lot of really good opportunities. As horrible as it is, it’s unavoidable when you go after the things you want.
For me I couldn’t bare the thought of someone telling me to my face that I wasn’t good enough. Instead I learnt that the reality of someone not having the courage or respect to tell you to your face is far worse. Regardless of how it happens: stay humble, listen to what they have to say, swallow it like a pill, cry if you have to and grow from it. I say it like it’s simple but of course it’s not. Even though I faced situations where I tried to mentally prepare myself for the worst-case scenario, it still didn’t amount to the reality of it.
Preempting the outcome of certain situations I faced this year just made me worry and overthink so much. The most important thing I learnt is that things won’t always swing in your favour. Not everyone is going to like or will want what you have to offer and that’s okay. It took a while for me to accept this because I’m a people pleaser by nature. I’m sure you can imagine what a curse having this trait can be.
It took me a while but this year I learnt the importance of gaining perspective. It will probably seem impossible to see in the moment and as clichéd as this is going to sound…something better will come along. I cannot remember how many times I was told this. At the time, I had to constantly remind myself of this when I felt like giving up. It’s so easy to completely catastrophise a bad situation that we fall into the trap of feeling sorry for ourselves. We’re human; it’s in our nature so I asked myself this question:
In a year from now, will this even matter?
The answer to my question whether I liked it or not was always simple – No.
Go out even if you don’t feel like it, you’re probably going to enjoy yourself
The one thing I promised myself was that I had to go out more. I didn’t exactly have the so-called typical university experience so I thought I’d play catch up this year. For me going “out” out is a hassle. I know, I sound like an 80-year-old living in a 23 year olds body. I’ve also mastered the art of using my introversion and shyness as an excuse to successfully convince myself that I won’t have a good time. To my surprise I actually enjoyed myself more than I thought I would. I spent more time this year catching up with friends and reconnecting with old ones, which I’m so grateful for. I even discovered a newfound love for tequila thanks to my sister. Let’s just say those night’s out were definitely nights to remember!
Focus on doing things that make you happy
This year I rediscovered my love for dance again and started taking some classes. I’ve been able to keep active and dance again all in one. I’ve actually been inspired to take up ballet classes again, which I will hopefully start next year. Dance was such a big part of my life growing up and this year I realised how much I missed it.
I’ve also found my love for running. I’ve found that it helps me clear my head when my emotions are all over the place. I found that running was the best distraction from all of the other crap going on in my life. I also found this with blogging. I embraced my love for fashion and finding my own style, which ultimately lead me towards blogging. Although I haven’t been blogging for a very long time it’s something that I’ve completely fallen in love with. As rewarding as my line of work is, it can be very stressful. So being able to do these things during my days off has helped me find myself again.
It’s okay that you’re not working your dream job right now
In one year I’ve been able to move on from my first graduate job. I’m finally working around people that I aspire to be like and it’s helping me stay focused on my career goal. I’ve finally accepted that it’s going to take me a couple of years to become a clinical psychologist. I know that everything that I’m doing now is experience towards reaching my goals. I know that I just have to stay focused. Although I’m not where I want to be right now, who says that I need to stay here forever? I think my biggest fear was that I’d get stuck in one place but I’ve realised that you don’t have to be if I don’t want to. Get the experience you need and move on. Ignore what everyone else is doing and focus on yourself.
You’re going to make mistakes, everyone f*cks up…
It’s true and extremely unavoidable when you’re trying to be spontaneous. I think the silly optimist in me was so excited to fulfill my goal that I naively hadn’t thought about the consequences. I tried a lot of new things this year, put myself in new situations that made me nervous and uncomfortable. All of those things probably did my confidence a lot of good looking back at it all now. When things don’t turn out the way you want them to, don’t regret the decisions you make because the feeling of regret is so much worse. Sometimes you have to live a little even if it means learning from your mistakes. I disappointed myself more times than I would have liked this year but I know now that I can’t let these mistakes define me.
I hope 2016 was a great year for you. If it wasn’t then leave everything behind and look towards 2017. I’ll be working late on New Years Eve so I’ll be having a quiet night in with my family. Whatever you decide to do stay safe and I wish you a happy new year!
Until next time,
Jeans: Abercrombie & Fitch | Jumper: Zara | Hat: Topshop (from 2 years ago but here are this years current ones) | Boots: Zara (black currently sold in stores but sold out online. Currently only the burgundy ones are being sold online) | Coat: Zara (purchased last year) | Bag: Givenchy Lucrezia bag