Lessons of 2020

Hi friends.

Wow I am not doing a good job of blogging regularly. I started this as a hobby during quarantine, and now I am back to working full time and a crazy schedule. On top of that, I just started my last semester of college before I begin student teaching. On top of that, I am studying for my final teaching exam which is a HUGE deal and I am not prepared at all, so a lot of studying has to take place. Anyways, please forgive me for my long absences; there's a lot going on and we are all doing our best.

I tend to get inspired to write when I go for walks. Especially at night when it is dark outside. It's a perfect time for me to be alone (not really alone because of my pup) with my thoughts. So tonight, while I was walking Penny, I was thinking about the year of 2020. I know I am not the only one that has had a wild ride thus far, and the year isn't even over. So much has happened this year not only in the world and our country, but in my personal life. I feel like it is easy to say "well everyone has had a crazy year"... which is true, but nonetheless, it does not discount what's happened to you personally in your own life apart from the events taking place. So anyways, I began thinking about the things that have happened to me in my person life this year, and it's safe to say that this year has a lot of other years beat with how much has happened. Many upon many of people have come and gone from my life this year. I have had terrible car luck (worse than normal), I have changed jobs yet again, and I have learned so many important lessons about life and myself already. And like I said, it's only September.

It's more common to associate 2020 with the negatives, but I think there is good to be found. I will quote the great and wise Taylor Swift when she said, "If you never bleed you're never gonna grow, and it's alright." From everything that has happened, I've grown, and I wouldn't change it because of that reason. Here are some lessons that I've learned from the challenging and enthralling year of 2020. I hope some of them resonate with you.

  1. Agree to disagree. Anyone that really knows me knows that I am a passionate person, and I am passionate about my beliefs. This year, I have learned that this quality of mine can lead to arguments and disagreements. I have not kept my political views and opinions a secret from my family. I have been vocal, and not everyone in my family agrees with me. This really bothered me at first because I believed so strongly in my opinions and did not understand why my own flesh and blood (did you miss my overdramatic touch?) did not see things the way I saw them. But I have come to realize that people are going to think what they are going to think, and it's okay. It's more tiring to get worked up about it and try to convince people to agree with you, so just agree to disagree. The same goes for people posting on social media, or things being said on the news. I normally would allow it to make me upset and get me worked up, but I have realized it's healthier and better to just agree to disagree.

  2. Self-reflection is healthy. I have learned a lot about myself this year, including some things I need to improve to be the best version of myself. I think it is safe to say we all want healthy and happy relationships, so when certain issues get in the way of that, it's necessary to take action. Sometimes, you gotta learn that the hard way. I've had to learn it the hard way this year. I have had some people say things to me that have honestly hurt my feelings, and seemed really harsh or mean at the time. But they were true, and I needed to hear them. It's pushed me to grow. That's healthy. Don't immediately get offended and write someone off when they speak facts or truth over you, even if it's not what you want to hear. Consider it. That does NOT mean that whatever is said is true. That's for you to decide. But growth comes from self-reflecting and self-improvement, and that can't happen if you won't allow it to. Now, there is a very fine line between self-improvement or reflection, and taking it too far. I have crossed that line, and I am learning balance. I have let things people said about me tear me down and make me feel like I am a no good mess. That's taking it way too far. Instead, I am learning to evaluate what was said, consider it's level of truth, and then take action to improve if needed. That means I have had to take some things that people have said and get them out of my mind because they aren't true. Other times, I have had to be honest with myself and admit my faults. This is a process. I am still somewhat in the "I have too many things about myself to fix, I must suck" stage... but I can tell you right now that I won't stay there! With hard work and dedication, I know I can make progress towards the woman I want to be. I can't say "I have problems and it's just the way I am." That's a cop out when I know I can improve to be a better person. It just takes effort.

  3. Never let anyone belittle you or make you feel inferior. Unfortunately, I have also learned this lesson the hard way. I am often too hard on myself and let these ideas of self-improvement make me feel like a screw up. Which is a lie my brain tells me. But because I already have self doubt, it has been easy for people to belittle me or make me feel small. And I have allowed myself to be talked down to and made to feel that I am either not worth it, stupid, clueless, or that my feelings are invalid. Note I said I have allowed it. NEWS FLASH: I am none of those things, and neither are you. And only you can give someone the power to belittle you. Never let anyone make you feel less than, or that your thoughts are dumb or wrong. That's not okay. It's taken me some time, and I am just beginning to work on this, but I realize it's okay to stand up for myself and validate my own feelings, actions, and beliefs. Stand up for yourself. Say what you want. Say what you need. And don't fear that it's too much for someone else, or fear their response. I'm rambling now, so hopefully you get the gist of what I am trying to say.

  4. Boundaries are necessary, and they do not make you uptight or difficult. I have always feared being an inconvenience. In relationships, I have not wanted to put up boundaries out of fear of someone not being willing to stick around and respect my them. I don't want to seem difficult or high maintenance, so I make it as easy for the other person as possible. This has made it so guys don't have to make an effort, or do anything, because I do it all. I make it so a guy doesn't have to pick me up for a date or drive to see me because I do the driving. I make it so there doesn't have to be planning dates, because I plan everything. What the heck? That's what I find myself asking even as I type this. It ends up backfiring anyways because I am not happy with the situation deep down and don't feel like I am getting what I want or need, so it sabotages the relationship anyways. To any friend of mine I would say, "you're worth way more than that! Any guy that really cares about you will be patient and respect your boundaries" and yet I don't apply that advice to myself. In the future, I WILL have non-negotiable boundaries that someone can either accept or they can go, but I won't give in and break them for the sake of someone else. Go at your own pace and don't apologize for what you need. Seems like common sense but it's important to remember.

  5. It's okay to change your mind. You don't owe anyone anything. Especially guys in the dating world. I will start dating someone and feel like I owe him something. I feel like I owe it to that person to be vulnerable and all in right away. What I have learned is that It takes a long time to get to know someone, and it's okay to realize after a bit that you don't like that person as much as you thought you did. Don't apologize for listening to yourself and doing what you need to do for you. I am not the best at dating or relationships, so this one may seem like a no-brainer, but it's something I have had to learn. Choosing myself and my needs over what I think someone else needs has not always come easily to me. I don't want to be selfish, and I never want to hurt others, but there comes a time where it is necessary and okay to not worry about what someone else needs and put yourself first. This goes for more than relationships. It goes for a college major. It's okay to change your mind. A career? It's okay to change your mind. Goals, dreams, aspirations... it's okay to change your mind. Listen to yourself and seek wisdom, but do not settle because of fear of change or someone else's response/reaction.

These lessons I have shared are very personal, but maybe you can relate. Maybe you've struggled with some of these thoughts or feelings and feel alone because people are not willing to share that they struggle too. I think normalizing our feelings and struggles is important so we build community and stand together to support one another.

Talk soon (hopefully sooner rather than later),