2016 was a hell of a ride...
I know I’m about a week late, but it took me about that long to recover from celebrating the new year. Why is it that at the start of a new year we feel the need to push the reset button? Let’s be honest, 2016 was a shitty year for just about everyone. I would elaborate but I’ve decided to take a more positive approach and focus on the highlights and things that I learned from my experiences.
Top 5 things I learned in 2016
1. Materialistic things don’t always bring happiness
At first, getting rid of my car was a sad thing for me. Growing up in Ohio, your car was your life. It was your main mode of transportation and goals were set to have the nicest one on the block. I thought I made it when I traded in my 10-year-old Acura for a brand new BMW. But I was naïve and didn’t take into account all the expenses I would have while living in downtown Chicago. After my breakup, I had to completely start fresh. I had a new apartment to worry about. I spent about $800/mo to keep my car and I only used it to drive it to a job I hated. I had to suck it up and let go of my baby. After getting rid of my car, I learned how to navigate public transit. I became more humble and street smart. I learned to brave the weather and appreciate the luxury of being in a car. Uber and Lyft FTW! Putting material possessions over happiness will always leave you unhappy. My challenge to you is to let go of something materialistic this year.
2. Do what you love and you never have to work a day in your life-
My whole career was always product focused. I spent many years in product development, then moved on to merchandising and ended up in product management. I loved seeing a product grow from concept to launch but there was always something missing. I wasn’t being valued and was constantly being treated like a child because I looked young (blame it on good genes). The constant, “you, Millennials” irked me so much. I had great ideas, was ambitious and wanted to take risks on new ways to market our product. I did something crazy and quit. It was a tough time but I made it through. I ended up finding a job on Craigslist of all places. It was new and scary, but it was also extremely exciting. I took a huge pay cut, accepted a base salary and relied on commissions. The comfort of a steady paycheck is no longer there. Super scary!!! My boss had faith that I would be successful in this role and he ended up being absolutely right. I’m passionate about what I do and that in itself helped me accomplish the goals I set for myself.I actually wake up excited to go to work most days. This job has allowed me to work with some amazing talent, which opened up so many doors. I mean how often can you say you work with the World's most famous Bulldog, Manny the Frenchie.
3. Let go of anything that doesn’t deserve you-
Over time I realized that people who I cared deeply for weren’t really my friends. I had people turn their backs on me during one of the darkest times in my life. I found myself confused and extremely hurt. But through that experience I learned who was truly there for me. I’m more careful about who I trust and accept people for who they are. You teach people how to treat you. Simple as that. Let go of people who don't add value to your life. If they don't help you grow then you don't need them. Ask yourself, are they an asset or liability? Remember: You’ll likely end up disappointed if you think people will care for you the way you care for them…not everybody has your heart.
4. Stop self-induced unhappiness-
We are in control of our own happiness. It has been said that a person in prison can be more mentally free than a person living in a free world. That two people can be in the same situation but see it completely differently. It’s all about your perspective of things. You cannot control what other people do to you but you can choose how to react to it.
We tend to do things that inflict self-doubt. For example, in relationships. I’ve had discussions with friends about dating. It seems like when it's going great, there's an assumption that something has to be wrong... For some reason, we think the guys are up to something and that this can’t be real, it’s too perfect. Sometimes, a woman decides to go through a guy's phone to find some dirt. It's not something I condone but we're all going to do what we want anyways, right? Have you seen those Kermit memes? The ones where he’s talking to himself and getting in his own head.
Even if you don’t find anything, you continue to do it again until something suspicious comes up. Or if we’re unhappy with our weight, we continue to step on the scale instead of taking steps to be healthier.
Why do we always do this to ourselves? Self-sabotage. Why are we afraid to be happy? We’re all afraid of being hurt, that we end up hurting ourselves to avoid being left in the dark. I still don’t have an answer for this, but I’ve been cognizant of when I do start thinking badly. I learned to be more mindful. It’s time to let go and stop trying to control every situation. Let yourself be happy, you deserve it.
5. What people think of you is none of your business-
Realize that no matter what you do, you cannot please everyone. Some people will hate you for the way others love you. I used to worry about if I posted a picture of my vacation that people would think I was bragging or if I took a selfie that I was narcissistic. Once I put toxic people out of my frame of mind, I became happier. I no longer worried about if what I did or said would make people think badly of me. One day I woke up and said, ‘Fuck it! Fuck them!’ I took my privacy filter off my social media and decided that if anyone wanted to check and creep on me that bad that they clearly have nothing better to do.
If you’re having a bad day, just remember that there’s a miserable person checking your page as we speak checking to see if you’re still happier than her.
What would you do if you weren’t afraid?
The answers to this simple question should set the foundation to what makes you happy and goals to set for the year. Here are a few of my 2017 resolutions:
Be more of an open book – this is the reason why I started this blog
Let my voice be heard- I was always told that I have a great voice, but was always afraid of singing in public. I bought myself a Ukulele, which I will learn how to play and plan on posting a video of me singing a cover…stay tuned.
Do something extremely meaningful for someone else – I’m not sure what I will do yet but I want to make a difference.
Pay off one of my student loans.
What are some of the things you learned in 2016 and resolutions for this year?