This was really hard to write. I don’t know why because I really do like finding the lessons in my experiences but I guess I put myself on the spot. But as we head into 2014, I felt like it was important to reflect on this past year. So um, here goes nothing!
Time flies when you don’t have a plan
I think everyone thinks they’re going to take over the world at the beginning of a new year. Some do, but most don’t. I had a lot of plans for 2013 that I’m just now gaining traction on. How can you actually accomplish something and not underachieve in your new year? Identify some goals. Keep yourself accountable and do a little bit every day. It’s not magic, but it works.
Avoid burning bridges
At the end of 2012, my life was a little bit of a mess. I was in a substantial amount of debt with no health insurance and in the process of moving from Connecticut back to Chicago with some uncertainty about where I would live long term. This was a recipe for disaster, but luckily I left my old job on good terms and they took me back when I needed it most. I started again on January 1, 2013 and I am coming up on my second-time-around 1-year anniversary. I’m proud to announce I’m debt free and have been for quite a few months now. You never know how life is going to turn out, so it’s best to keep your options open.
But sometimes you have to let people go
I had a few friends that disappeared in 2013. There were no verbal disagreements or ugly falling-outs. Sometimes you just grow apart and that’s how life works. If you find certain relationships are no longer serving you or feel one sided despite your best efforts, it’s best to keep it moving.
If it’s not a hell yes, it’s a hell no
I’m not 100% sure who coined this phrase, but it has been my compass for much of 2013. I’m almost 30, so it’s become extremely important for me to figure out what I want out of life. This means no more doing things just to do them, doing things out of obligation and doing things that don’t bring me joy. My t-shirt company Bon Bon Vie became a huge burden for me in 2013 and I stepped away quite a bit and realized I didn’t miss doing it so much. It’s hard to abandon something I put so much time and effort into, but until further notice, doing that again full time is in the “hell no” category.
Your past doesn’t have to be your future
I spent a lot of time in the past thinking of myself in terms of being depressed or being hypothyroid that it became a huge part of my identity. I’d find myself bringing those things up in conversation with people I didn’t know that well because that was just who I was. It was no different than talking about where I live or what I do. If it were serving me in some sort of constructive way, I suppose it would have been fine but it wasn’t. Iyanla Vanzant breaks down the concept of being addicted to your story here:
What you give is what you get
It’s easy to complain when you’ve had a bad day at work or you feel like someone has been inconsiderate of your time. Or maybe you’re dwelling on something someone said to hurt your feelings. I’m definitely guilty of that. Sometimes we need to vent and get things off of our chests. But living in negativity is not the answer. In 2013 I tried a lot harder to pinpoint what was going well in my life rather than nitpick at what’s wrong. And for the things that suck no matter how I looked at it, I made more of an effort to change those things or remove them from my life. Making time for gratitude and appreciation is much harder that finding something to complain about, but it makes a world of difference.
We all need some coaching sometimes
In 2013 I invested in coaching and I believe it was a worthwhile investment. After a period of transition, I decided I needed some further direction. Vasavi Kumar, Nicole Dunbar, Sheila Brown and Arielle Loren were some of the amazing women who coached me in one way or another and you should think about doing the same if you’re not sure what your next step is.
Consistency is key
I’ve started and stopped many ventures, but I realized if I want to make anything big happen in 2014, I need to be consistent. This blog has been one of my main projects to keep myself consistent and I had a few false starts but I think I’m going to stay on my schedule this time.
Leggings are not pants
Education means nothing without action
I am, well was, what I referred to as an “information product whore”. I bought a lot of books, invested in Skillshare and Udemy courses and went on a retreat. I love learning and collecting information. Though I consider this one of my greatest strengths, it’s also one of my greatest weaknesses. I took a Gallup StrengthFinders assessment earlier in the year that slapped me in the face with this piece of information:
“Your mind is open and absorbent. You naturally soak up information in the same way that a sponge soaks up water. But just as the primary purpose of the sponge is not to permanently contain what it absorbs, neither should your mind simply store information. Input without output can lead to stagnation. As you gather and absorb information, be aware of the individuals and groups that can most benefit from your knowledge, and be intentional about sharing with them.”
Remember that all the knowledge you have is worth nothing if you’re not sharing it with the world somehow.
Sometimes you just have to spoil yourself
I don’t consider myself to be extravagant with money, but I took 2 trips to California in 2013 and I paid to upgrade to first class. It was So. Worth. It. I had just paid off my credit cards and it felt good to be able to do that for myself.
Relationships are hard, but worth it
Started from the bottom, now we here
As you can see from the baby bump pic above, I’m going to be a mama!
Just when you think you have it all figured out, life has a way of reminding you that you’re really not that in control. About 5 months ago, I had adamantly declared to a friend that I would be perfectly fine with never having children and my life was good just the way it was. Then a rattled off a list of why kids were a pain in the ass and I felt quite proud of myself for managing to not get pregnant in my 29 years on this Earth.Then about a week I took a pregnancy test. I already knew the result before I went to CVS and bought a First Response test. I felt pregnant. Sometimes your body tells you all you need to know, but I just needed to get the formalities out of the way.
I went through a range of emotions the first few weeks. First I was was excited, then I was scared, then a little sad. Repeat. But when I went to the doctor and had my first ultrasound with my boyfriend and I knew everything would be ok.
Some if the best things in life are inconvenient and unexpected, but that doesn’t make them any less special. I have a feeling that this baby will be the best thing that has ever happened to me.
That’s my 2013 in a nutshell. What did you learn in 2013? How do you plan to use those lessons in 2014?