The other day I posted this on my personal Facebook page: “I’m working on my new year’s blog post, drank way too much coffee, and just feeling super duper jazzed on life right now. Grateful for every single thing that has happened to me this year good and bad. It has brought me to a really cool place in my life. Grateful for every person who is my Facebook friend because it means at some point our paths crossed in some way and because I watched The Butterfly Effect, I know that means we impacted each other in some way. So excited about 2016 I could cry. I feel a lot of pressure to write a really good post for the blog, but I’m sure I will fall short of my own expectations, which is fine too. I just want to pass some of this energy on to you and I hope you’re feeling stoked on life too. If not, come over and let’s talk. Love you all.”
I have deleted and re-written this post at least twice. Mostly because I feel like I have learned so much this year that I could fill a book but then I realize that I have so much left to learn and honestly who am I to doll out advice? I am no expert on life, but I picked up a few things this year, so I will share them here. I originally was going to title this post “15 Lessons I Learned in 2015” to mirror last year’s post, but I have learned more than 15 things. And maybe they aren’t even lessons, just observances, maybe? My thoughts on life and things learned this year? Anyway, here they are. But before you continue, I just want to thank you for stopping by My Boring Closet and reading. This year has been so much fun for my blog, and I really love the community here and on social media. Thank you for all your comments and for sharing your thoughts with me. If you feel so inclined, I would love to hear a thing or two you learned this year! Feel free to share in the comments (you can be anonymous if you want!) or on social media. Enjoy your new year and celebrate that we have enjoyed another trip around the sun together.
1. Be present.
I have always been close to my family, but after the loss of my grandmother in May, it became so apparent how much I really need to cherish every moment spent with the people who are important to me. I try to make time to visit my parents as much as possible, and spend time with my sisters as often as I can, and really be present when I am with them. I am a social media addict, I will admit it. I never stop working, and most of my work involves the internet. But nothing is more irritating than spending time with someone and they are on their phone all the time bouncing between Facebook, Snapchat, Instagram, iMessage, and everything else. We all have the tendency to plop in front of the TV and zone out on our phones because we are so comfortable with our family and our close friends, we know they will love us no matter what, but one thing I wish I had done more of with my grandmother is asked more questions and heard more of her stories. Our parents and grandparents have so much wisdom to share with us, but we have to actually talk and listen to them. This year, I want to be mindful of where my mind is and try to keep it in the present as much as I can.
2. Be happy with what you have while working toward what you want.
This is actually the exact thing that prompted me to leave Los Angeles and my pursuit of an acting career. Yes, I wanted a career as an actress, but I was completely miserable in the pursuit of it. Moving to Denver three years ago was hard because I gave up my dream, but I gained so much happiness living in a city I love, meeting such wonderful people, and discovering new dreams. Now, I am so happy working towards those dreams and even though I do get impatient at times and I wish I could fast forward to see what that looks like when I finally get there, I am so completely happy and content where I am in life. I know I will get to all those things I want eventually, but enjoying the present has made me so much more more fulfilled.
3. It’s okay to not take anyone’s bullshit.
My mom was the kind of mom who always said things like “girls are only mean to you because they’re jealous” and “boys are just intimidated by you,” which may not be true, but it did instill in me a pretty healthy dose of “not giving a damn,” because from a fairly young age I realized that I didn’t want to be friends with girls who competed with or were jealous of each other, and I certainly didn’t want to associate with “mean girls.” And if a guy is “intimidated” or probably just not interested and ignoring me (sorry, mom, but it’s more likely this is the case), I don’t want to waste my time with them. If you don’t like how someone is treating you, it’s okay to call them out on it. If they want to change, great! If they don’t, great! At least you know. In my early twenties, I felt like I always had to act like I was “cool” with everything because I didn’t want to come off as “crazy” or “demanding,” but the older I get the more I realize that it’s actually okay to request that I be treated the way I want to. By the same token, if someone doesn’t want to show you the respect, kindness, and attention you deserve, then walk away. Trust me, there’s lots of people out there who will.
4. My sisters are my world.
I mean, not just my biological sisters, but all of my girlfriends, who I love as sisters. These friendships are so important to me. There are certain friends that I know will always be in my life no matter what. I may be lucky enough to see them nearly every day, or maybe I only see them once or twice a year (or less), but they are always there when I need them most, and when we do see each other, we pick up right where we left off. These are the people who are our soul mates. Never forget that your girlfriends will around far longer than most men in your life, so make sure you always make time for your girls and that they make time for you!
5. A risk on love is always worth it.
2015 was a very transformative year for me. I loved more than I ever have, I took bigger risks than I ever have, and I lost more than I ever have, but I don’t have any regrets. In fact, I feel like I have come through the other side a better person than I was on January 1, 2015. The things I learned this year have made me more confident, loving, and forgiving toward myself and others, and for that I am most grateful. This year, I learned so much more about what I’m looking for, what I need from a relationship, and I have learned how to be a better partner. I also learned a lot about the resilience of the heart. When your heart is broken, sometimes you feel like you might actually die from it, but you won’t. The pain you feel is your heart growing stronger. A friend of mine posted on her birthday that she has learned that she can fall in love and out of love and fall in love again. I think this is such a great statement. Just because you’ve loved and lost doesn’t mean you won’t love again. You will. Even better and even more completely than you did before. And what’s more, you’ll fall in love with yourself more every time. And in my experience, the more YOU love you, the more everyone else will too, and the more love you’ll have to give to others.
6. Say “yes” to yourself.
Yes, yes, yes. Take the vacation, drink the champagne, order the dessert, buy the boots, call in sick and spend the whole day watching Netflix and eating yogurt pretzels. Whatever that extravagance is that you think you shouldn’t do or you think you don’t deserve, allow yourself to say yes sometimes! Obviously, don’t start living a Rockefeller lifestyle that you can’t keep up with, but follow the Parks & Rec motto of “treat yo self.” Life is short, and none of us gets out alive, so enjoy those happy fun moments and memories as often as you can. Give yourself permission to say yes, guilt free.
7. Worry is a waste of energy.
If we combined all the minutes we spent worrying about things beyond our control, how many lifetimes could we live? I know I have spent a lot of my life worrying about things, but especially worrying about men. When is going to call? Why hasn’t he called? What is he doing? What is he thinking? What does he think about me? Why didn’t he like my photo on Instagram? Yeah, these are all valid things to ask yourself in a relationship (maybe not Insta one), but it shouldn’t be so stressful all the time. If it is, it’s probably a sign you need to get out. You can worry all day about whether he’s going to call you, but at the end of the day, you can’t make someone do something they don’t want to do. And if he doesn’t want to call you, do you really want to be with him? You could be out living your life meeting someone who does want to talk to you every day. (but really, guys, it’s not that hard to give us attention and make us feel special. Just sayin.)
8. Never stop caring.
I believe that what we give is what we will receive. For that reason, I will never stop caring. I will never stop being understanding, loyal, compassionate, or trusting. I just can’t because I want all those things back. So I will continue to give that out wholeheartedly until I get it in return.
9. Don’t underestimate the power of kindness.
Did anyone else read the statistic about mass shootings in the U.S.? There were more mass shootings than days in the year. Pretty terrifying. And each story we hear on the news makes us more and more numb to the violence. It might sound kind of weird, but now every time I see a stranger, I smile at them. I make awkward small talk with people in elevators. I say hello to all my neighbors. I guess I just started to think how you never know what kind of battle someone is fighting on the inside. I’m not saying that means all these strangers have plans to commit massive acts of violence, but it has just made me think about how little kindness there is in our world. Maybe if we were all a little more friendly and a little more tolerant of one another (and stopped staring at our phones all the time), we could help that problem. Maybe people wouldn’t feel like they have to go to such extremes. Maybe we could stop having an attitude of “it’s all about me” and go to having an attitude about protecting each other and joining together to demanding the end of this senseless violence.
10. Therapy is awesome and pretty much everyone needs it.
I saw a therapist this year. I just felt like I needed it, and yeah most of the stuff we talked about was relationship related. I gotta say, she really made me ask myself some tough questions, and she helped me think about things from a new perspective. She said things to me that I don’t think my family or friends would have ever thought to say because they are too close to me, too supportive, and just not objective enough. Honestly, I think everyone I know could benefit from a few sessions, and I highly recommend it! There is nothing weak about talking to a mental health professional. In fact, I think it’s one of the strongest things I have ever done, and I feel so much healthier because of it.
11. The gamification of dating is killing our generation’s ability to have healthy relationships.
Tinder, Bumble, Hinge, and all the others are definitely fun and a great way to meet new people you might otherwise not have come into contact with, but the fact that there is an unending stream of eligible singles is so dangerous, because when times get tough, it’s too easy to open up one of those apps and start browsing for someone else. Relationships are hard, but nothing good comes easy, and when you stick together and work through problems instead of giving up the first time something goes wrong, you actually become closer and grow together. I know I wrote about this topic last year, but I did eventually get back on those apps. As of right now, I am not on any dating apps, and I don’t plan to join back in. I don’t want to be a part of a game. I want to be a part of something real. It’s not impossible to go out in public and talk to people and just be genuine and nice and meet someone else who is genuine and nice.
12. Be unapologetically you, and you will attract the right people into your life.
Do your thing. Just work hard and be you. Don’t try to be anything else for anyone else. I have noticed the more that I know myself and am confident in who I am, the more things start to fall into place. Whether it’s work, relationships, friends, whatever- the results are the same. People are attracted to confidence and realness. Be real be you and the RIGHT people will come along and stay.
13. Take all those online articles with a grain of salt.
Can we all seriously stop believing everything we read on the internet? Literally anyone can publish something online. I am doing it right now. Just remember I am not an expert, and neither are a lot of people who write those online articles. Just don’t take it all so seriously.
14. Everyone is faking their online life.
Even me! Yeah, I do post spontaneously too (champagne pics), but my blog has a brand and my Instagram has a certain aesthetic. Next time you’re scrolling through and starting to get that FOMO feeling, keep in mind that this isn’t all real. Celebrities, bloggers, other public figures, and all of your friends are all just posting a small fraction of their life. In real life, we all do the same things. We go to work, we go to the grocery store, we clean up our dog’s poop, we do dishes, we pay bills, we hang out with our friends and do nothing. I personally think that Instagram is so fun, but it’s like an art project. I love creating beautiful images, I love looking at other people’s beautifully curated feeds, but you gotta keep in mind that all of this is planned out and remember that your life, whether it’s documented online or not, is beautiful and perfect just like you.
15. Avocado toast and champagne can be a balanced meal if you want it to be.
I guess that was fifteen after all! Happy new year, everyone.