It might be cliche, but I do honestly believe that we learn more and more as we grow older. The more we progress through life, and the more shit we have to experience, the more we develop and evolve as people.
Personally, I feel like I’ve learned so much in the last year – so many important life lessons that I will take through with me to 2018 and beyond.
I’ve had a lot of ups, and I’ve certainly had a lot of downs, but life’s all about learning how to dance in the rain instead of waiting out the storm – right?
Here are 10 important life lessons I learned in 2017.
1. Live for the moment.
The first important life lesson I learned in 2017 is that life is subject to change at any given moment. You have to appreciate what you have, whilst you have it, and live for the present – because you never know when your whole world might be turned upside down.
For instance, my family and I were all set to have our usual wonderful Christmas, full of our favourite food, things and traditions, until we learned that my Uncle John had been taken ill and was hospitalised two days before Christmas Day. We had to spend our entire festive period doing hospital runs across the country to the area where he lives, because he lives on his own and doesn’t have his own family to care for him.
Being one of my favourite people in the world (and a Christmas lover), I found the whole experience devastating. It just showed me that you should enjoy life whilst you can – and don’t ever take things for granted – because you never know what’s around the corner.
2. Appreciate every opportunity.
You also have to make the most of each and every opportunity that comes your way.
When my sister and I were both without jobs at the beginning of the year (we’d quit them earlier in 2016 to travel) and had some pennies leftover in our bank accounts, we decided to go on one last final hurrah and ended up booking a month-long trip to Thailand.
If I hadn’t travelled around Thailand, I wouldn’t have had the career epiphany that made me want to start my freelance writing business. If I hadn’t had this epiphany, I wouldn’t have spent some time in Green Bay, USA following that trip with my boyfriend (where he lives) researching everything I could about starting my own business. And, if I hadn’t spent time in Green Bay doing some much-needed planning and preparation, I wouldn’t have been educated enough or provided myself with the tools that I needed to launch my own successful freelance writing biz.
Everything had a knock-on effect and led me to the place where I am today. And where am I today? One hell of a happy freelance writer with her own (profitable) business – all because I embraced and appreciated every opportunity that came my way.
3. Follow your dreams.
2017 has taught me to not only follow my dreams, but dream big. The sky’s the limit!
It’s so important to have ambition and goals that you want to achieve in life. Don’t just sit there and let life pass you by, otherwise you’ll wake up at 80 years old and realise that you’ve got nothing to show for your time on this wondrous earth.
There were a few people who frowned, or looked really confused, when I told them I was going to be a freelance writer. Sure, most people don’t understand it (I didn’t either to start with) and I could have listened to their doubts – but I chose not to.
Why? Because I’m determined. I’m going after my #LifeGoals – and you should too.
4. Have faith in yourself.
In life, it’s so important to believe in yourself and make things happen. After all, nobody is going to live your life for you.
I could have given up every time I came across an obstacle during the eight months I’ve had my biz, but I didn’t -and I’m so glad I just kept on going. I’m the happiest I’ve ever been since the launch and that’s because I’ve had to learn to roll with the punches.
It has been challenging at times, but getting through the challenges has made me even stronger. It’s like our gal Elle Woods said: you must always believe in yourself, otherwise you’ll never achieve your dreams. And you know what? She’s so right.
5. Only invest in the people who invest in you.
I’ve learned this lesson the hard way in 2017, when so-called “friends” have been only too happy to disappear out of my life without a trace.
I’m now adamant that I’m not going to give someone 100% if they’re only going to give me 50% back. I’m a very kind and generous person, who would do anything for her friends, and the sad thing is that some people like to take advantage of that.
Relationships should be equal, with both sides making the same amount of effort. Sure, I understand that everybody has their own shit to deal with and sometimes you’re not always able to give your loved ones 100% of your care and attention. But, you should be able to give 99.99% the majority of the time. Why? Because that’s what true love is.
6. Don’t dwell on the negative.
I’m guilty of starting 2017 as a bit of a Negative Nancy, even though I swore I’d never turn into one. I’ve spent time with these kinds of people in the past, the people who moan about everything, who emotionally drain you and who suck every inch of positivity from you when you’re with them.
Let me tell you – it’s exhausting. I stopped spending time with fellow Negative Nancy’s and wonderful things happened thereon in. Instead, I started hanging around with people who made me feel good, and I found that it had a positive impact on my mood and my life.
Lesson learned: leave the Negative Nancy’s behind.
7. Everybody is human.
Sometimes it’s easy to forget that everybody is human at the end of the day (including myself!) I can’t do the impossible, and nor can my loved ones, so I shouldn’t expect so much of people all the time.
I’ve definitely learned to be more accepting of situations in 2017. People often have a reason of acting the way that they do, and emotions influence behaviour, so it’s hard to judge someone unless you know the full extent of what’s going on in their life.
We all make mistakes and struggle to get things right all the time. It’s a part of life. Sometimes you just have to forgive, forget, and move on.
8. I’m stronger than I realise.
Not many people know this, but I had a substantial health scare at the beginning of 2017. I kept getting headaches where it felt like I was being hit over the head with a cricket bat (not fun), so I had to have lots of tests and a MRI scan to determine whether I had a serious health condition.
Luckily, everything came back clear, but something like that sure does put life in perspective. Faced with adversity, you can either choose to fight or flight. I chose to fight, and it made me realise how much of a tough cookie I actually am.
9. When you know he’s the one… You just know.
Yes, kids – this little cliche nugget is the absolute truth.
Now I’ve found my one, I’ve never been more certain that I’m going to marry him. (Sure, he lives in USA right now, but what’s life without a plot twist?)
I just have a connection with Nathan that I haven’t had with anyone else in my life ever, and I’m adamant that he’s the one I’m meant to be with. So, when you find true love, you will know – and make sure that you hold onto it with both hands.
10. Be grateful for your life and what you have.
The final important life lesson that I learned in 2017 is that life is a gift. It’s precious and it needs to be nurtured.
There are always people out there who are in a much worse situation than you, people who live in horrific conditions and people who don’t have families of their own. Honestly, you should be counting your blessings everyday that you live where you live and have what you have.
Don’t forget to appreciate the time that you have on this beautiful planet before it’s gone, because the truth is: life’s short. Spend time with the people who matter. And love fiercely while you can.
Here’s to a happy and prosperous 2018!