Life lesson #1. Don't feel guilty about missing imaginary deadlines.
And we're off to a profound start.
After such a jam-packed year, I've probably learned a thing or two, mostly that I like writing blogs with lists and that life is hard.
But life is harder when you're dumb, so I guess I've got that going for me.
Since we've officially exited "new year" status, this post will be a mishmash of things I've learned in this past year, in school, from friendships, and from staring at my wall for two hours. I like to call this act meditation, but let's be real, it's wall-staring.
Maybe 2017 will be the year I finally master meditation.
I find reading lists like these to be
Life lesson #1: The hype probably isn't worth it.
It's not the most serious lesson in the world, but as a self-proclaimed Gilmore Girls addict, the revival had to be in here somewhere. I've seen some quality content in the 10 years since Gilmore Girls last aired, but nothing compares to this show's witty dialogue, the show that brought my family together. When I heard that the show's creators were coming together for a revival, I thought that the entire fan base was getting a chance to "do it right."
And then I saw this.
For 10 minutes. Followed by stilted dialogue, TERRIBLE acting, and fat-shaming/homophobia.
I could go on. Somewhere in my blog hiatus, I planned on writing a formal review of Gilmore Girls: A Year in the Life, so maybe I'll follow through with that sometime in the nearish future.
Formal review or not, I learned not to get so excited about reunions, revivals, and the like. There's something sacred about leaving childhood loves as they were. I can always hang out with Rory and Lorelai on Netflix without being scarred by awkward musicals and a tragic lack of Sookie St James.
Life Lesson #2: You will get hurt. You will have to get over yourself.
For the sensitive type, this advice sounds easy enough, but try to implement it and you'll end up feeling like you're being forced to run a 5k with a bullet in your chest.
I've never experienced either, but I can't imagine it's a pleasant feeling.
I've had my fair share of an absence of fairness or sharing, and consequently getting rather hurt about it. But in order to be a person in the world, I have to revisit the very things/people/circumstances that have hurt me. And, to put it elegantly, I have to face the fact that not everything is about me, and I have to get the fuck over myself.
Not to get overly "dear diary" on you, dear reader, but I've met quite a spread of hurt--a sadness buffet, if you will--and I must say that how you deal depends on your personality and the nature of the situation. One might necessitate getting outside of yourself and putting a goddamn smile on, and another might necessitate staying inside of yourself and leaving the critiques and remarks for other ears.
Basically, it depends. I should get paid for this.
These less-than-ideal experiences have ended up being a part of adulthood, but unlike adolescence, I have the perspective (as well as a wonderful reminder from the podcast Welcome to Nightvale) to remember that these situations are nothing more than blips in an otherwise fortunate life.
Life Lesson #3: Don't let unbreakable toxic relationships take up too much mental space.
It seems a clichéd and overly simplistic piece of advice to state that you should rid yourself of toxic relationships, but unbreakable (read: familial) contentious relationships are a bit more nuanced and tricky. I've spent far too long thinking about, writing about, and ranting about what I considered to be a broken relationship, only to realize that this particular family member was wasting zero mental space doing the same as I was. Rather, I was just spending years and years torturing myself in my head and seeing the same patterns in my life.
And now I'm 1800 miles away, I have the rest of my life ahead of me, and I'm wondering what exactly I spent so many years torturing myself for.
These frustrations don't exactly make riveting conversation starters, and honestly, they're a little self-absorbed. So I had to get the fuck over myself (I'm sensing a theme here) and devote my energy to relationships that made me happy rather than a ball of anxiety.
Life Lesson #4: Speaking of anxiety (what a segue!), it's not a made-up, first world problem. Anxiety is a serious mental issue, and as beneficial as yoga, weed (I've, erm, been told), and herbal tea may be, those are coping mechanisms, and not treatments.
Seriously. Talk to a therapist. Get on medication. Get help. Your friends and family will thank you.
Life Lesson #5: Selfies aren't inherently awful.
Social media is a lot less straightforward than many make it out to be, and I (again) plan on writing a longer blog exploring this issue. Basically though, after much selfie-based research and years of guilt for enjoying selfies, I've come to the conclusion that binaries suck, a girl can celebrate her beauty without turning into Kim Kardashian, and not every instance of narcissism can be directly linked to selfies.
Selfies can be, in fact, linked to higher self esteem. Imagine that! A platform that encourages young girls and women not to hate themselves!
Life Lesson #6: Teaching is hard. But it is also one of the best ways to get over self-consciousness.
This is the spark notes version of lessons I've learned from teaching, but TLDR, I encourage anyone with performance anxiety or anxiety in general to try teaching.
After a month of crippling fear and the slight sensation that I was going to vomit at any moment, I've had the privilege of learning that most freshmen and sophomores in college don't care if their instructor has stumbled over one word. And then an amazing, magical transition happened, in which I went from worrying what my students thought of me to wondering what I could teach them.
Don't get me wrong, there are still days that make me want to channel Obama's anger translator, but those days result in stern talks about my students' promising futures as toll booth attendants (kudos to my father for that one) and chances to drop the mic.
I don't have a mic to drop. It's the English department, you think we have money for those?
Life Lesson #7: Move. Move. Move.
Move out of your parents' house. Out of your hometown. Move to music and look like a fool. Move your mindset. Move your furniture and sit on the other side of your room. Move your car to the nearest café and people watch for an hour. Move to a yoga class and laugh at the irony of just how white it is. Move that red shirt you've had since high school out of your closet. Move in to a new apartment. Move on from an overdone past.
Move away from clichés (a meta post--how clever!).
Life Lesson #8: Prioritize prioritizing.
For most of my life, I prioritized and made decisions based on what the nearest person told me to do. It's a bit of an exaggeration, but for the most part, I never consciously sat down and considered what I wanted to get out of my life. I prioritized school over family because that's just what we did. I rarely thought that my priorities might differ from my family or friends'.
However, when I was met with vastly different priorities, that's when life started to get confusing.
It's worth taking pen to paper, or finger to keyboard, and just hammering out a few personal priorities and considering where those priorities came from. Those priorities may shift in a few years, which, as I've now realized, isn't flaky--it's evolution.
There will always ALWAYS be people who don't share or even agree with your priorities. That's when you make the mature move, stick your fingers in your ears and go "la la la la la! I can't hearrrrrrr youuuuuu!"
Life lesson #9: You're probably not as bit of a piece of shit as you think you are.
As much as I loved family visits, I also used to dread them because I felt like a lump of disappointment and wasted potential. I would stuff my face with peanuts in order to dodge the "so Kira...what ARE you up to these days?" question.
Peanuts are surprisingly helpful in awkward situations.
But maybe, just maybe, if you take some time to reflect on your accomplishments, you'll realize that you've done some cool things that your Aunt Mary would just LOVE to hear about. And even if you've had a quiet year, you haven't died yet, and that's an accomplishment unto itself. And just look how much you've grown this year!
|In desperate situations, you can also brag about how great your cats are and how much you love them|
Life Lesson #10: You cannot please everyone.
So perhaps I'm ending this post with a bit of a "duh" moment, but, in my experience at least, this year encompasses this lesson. If I waited for everyone's approval, I would probably be curled up in fetal position on my bed back home in PA. I sure as hell wouldn't be teaching a group of teenagers in Fort Collins. But if the aforementioned priorities meet your actions, then why wouldn't you go for it? Whatever "it" may be. Just don't do drugs or get pregnant, kids.
Or do. It's Colorado, for goodness sakes.
For the sake of your eyes and sanity, I'll stop here, but keep your eyes peeled for a part II, as I've learned some stuff and things, I suppose.
I'll see you cats and kittens later.