year in review, part 2

Because it rhymes.

It’s been a year. Kind of a weird one, as a matter-of-fact. I think we can all agree on that. Here are some more Life Lessons from me, a person Totally Qualified to give advice after learning things The Hard Way (quite possibly the only way to learn things).

#1 – don’t force it
I spent a lot of these past few months frustrated that I couldn’t seem to write anything, that I didn’t have the same desire to write as I had in the spring. Truth is, I needed a break. I needed to do other things for a while. I shouldn’t have expected myself to be able to write 3 pages a day for the rest of my life. I don’t have it in me. This goes for everything – if it’s supposed to be fun but you’re putting so much pressure on yourself that it feels like a burden, let it go. Step away from it for a moment.

#2 – go
Cheryl Strayed said that wanting to go is reason enough, and I completely agree. I’ve had 4 different jobs this year, because suddenly the urge to go hit me like a ton of bricks, and I went with it. I trust that gut instinct – if I feel like I need to go, I go.
And if I want you to go, I’ll let you know. Or I’ll try to be subtle and tell you that you can’t sleep in my bed because you snore. And I’ll keep telling you that until you get the hint (if you’re reading this, you really did snore, and I really couldn’t sleep. I also didn’t want to kiss you anymore). Not quite the same as my family’s “go before you go” rule, but both are valid.

#3 – it’s No Big Deal
I currently work at an art studio that does a lot of classes for kids as well as birthday parties and at the start of each one, the intructor lists off our 4 rules: No Running, Be Nice, No Big Deal, and Have Fun. Oh, how smashed we’d all be if we drank every time a coworker said “oh, it’s no big deal” on a Saturday afternoon. But it’s so true! Much like the whole don’t worry, be happy motto, No Big Deal is our daily mantra. You got paint on your face? It’s no big deal. Your mug didn’t turn out the way you wanted it to? No big deal. You showed up late to the party? NO BIG DEAL. It might seem silly, but most things in life are not a big deal. Nearly everything is fixable, and if it’s not, it’s really no big deal. You’ll get over it.

#4 – be kind
One of the rules at work, and something said quite often during a yoga practice. Be kind to yourself, be kind to others, be kind to your surroundings. Be thankful for your body, getting you where you need to be, for the sunshine and the rain, the places you can go, the people you have met. Be nice to the people closest to you and be nice to strangers. Practice self-love.

#5 – stop making things worse for yourself
exhibit a- don’t listen to sad music all of the time
Your mood depends heavily on what you’re listening to, so choose songs that make you want to dance and sing and get out of bed in the morning. Limit the amount of times you listen to Holocene to like, 3 times a day.
exhibit b – no caffeine after 6pm
I was thinking the other day about how I had so much trouble sleeping for years and years, and I’d always attributed it to my poor mental health but looking closer, I had been drinking like 7 cups of caffeinated tea per day and barely eating. And I wondered why I was so anxious and high strung all that time? Of course you won’t be able to sleep if you drink black tea at 10pm to “calm yourself down before bed”. Hindsight is 20/20!!!!

#6 – most places have non-dairy milk
Self-explanatory.

#7 – you need other people
I included this one last year and I’m including it again because sometimes I forget.

#8 – it’ll make a good story
If ever you’re on the fence about saying yes to an experience, remember that actually going to Christmas dinner at your boss’ parents house makes a better story than just being invited. Trust me.

#9 – being stingy pays off
All those months of eating oatmeal instead of cereal because water is free, drinking only tea and tap water, living with people you don’t like because the rent is low, and reading the same books over and over could mean being able to fly home or escape to the mountains for a few weeks. Ya never know.

#10 – make something
Anything.

Lastly, if someone tells you that they love you, don’t tell them that they don’t. Even if you don’t believe them. Even if your insecurity tells you that it can’t be true. Validate other people’s feelings. This is something I am learning from experience, after doing the wrong thing. Don’t ever tell someone that what they feel is wrong. And on the other side, if you feel something, don’t be afraid to tell someone. It doesn’t have to be a romantic thing, it could be anything. Let yourself have emotions.

Let’s not beat ourselves up about the forgotten resolutions, because as I said in my last post, it’s our expectations that end up hurting us in the end, not the people or the places or the events occurring. Instead think about all of the things that you didn’t plan for – all of the things you did that weren’t on your list of resolutions. Chances are, you accomplished loads of things this year that you didn’t even know were in the cards. Give yourself a break.

Oh, and like, get wrecked.

Xo, Rachel

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