A Year of Life Lessons in Review

Well y’all, the spring semester is now in full swing and the fact that we’re already so close to the end of January is blowing my mind. January can be a tough month for a lot of people, myself sometimes included. January is full of all the new stuff; new year, new semester, new classes, new work schedules, etc.

In these times of change and resettling into my life again after the turn of a new year, I like to reflect on the things that made the previous year so memorable and important. Then, being the obnoxious planner that I am, I use them to build my goals for the new year. After all, how can we look to the future without first examining the past?

The lessons I learned this past year and experiences I had have massively changed my perspective for the better. Although we’re now almost a month into 2019, these are some of the most important lessons I’m taking with me throughout this year.

London Calling

Last year, I had the opportunity to travel overseas and visit some of my family in London for the first time a few years.

London is one of my all-time favorite cities. It hold a certain air of mystery and mischief, as though it already knows the adventures waiting for you just a bit further down the road. It’s one of those incredible places that just oozes magic around every corner and out of every local pub. Each time I visit, my connection to the city and my family there gets stronger and pulls at me more and more the longer I am away.

Having the chance to be there in such a formative part of last year really shaped the way I looked at the rest of 2018, including helping me to make the decision to move there for a while after I graduate this December.

The idea of picking up my whole life, even if it’s just for a little while, and moving to a new place halfway across the world makes me so excited I could just burst. There is so much that is unknown for me in making that transition in approximately a year, but the mystery doesn’t scare me. If I want to pursue this crazy dream of mine, I have to be undeniably fearless.

A Year for the Books

Over the course of the year, I read some incredible books that completely knocked the wind out of me.

Paulo Coelho’s The Alchemist and Richard Bach’s Jonathan Livingston Seagull top the list of literature that genuinely rocked my world and changed the way I look at life. Without giving any spoilers (because y’all have GOT to read these books!), here are some brief reviews to help justify my obsession.

Coelho’s The Alchemist follows Santiago, a young shepherd along on a journey to follow his dream of traveling the world. Along the way he meets some truly remarkable people and experiences some of the most other-worldly events and situations that make him change his perspective on life and realize what is truly important.

Bach’s Jonathan Livingston Seagull takes a critical look at thinking for oneself and discusses at length the importance of examining one’s own values. We observe the life of Jonathan Livingston, a seagull who wants more from life than just flying low and eating fish. His journey takes him to some of the most incredible places, both mentally and physically, and the importance of having courage to pursue our passions is reinforced time and time again.

Both of these books, although clearly fictional works, provided some incredible advice and lessons throughout the year that I’ve taken with me into 2019, proving that there’s nothing standing in the way of even the wildest of dreams.

Taking Risks

2018 was the year of taking professional risks!

If I learned anything from 2018, it’s that things won’t happen for you unless you’re willing to ask or apply and also accept that rejection is a possibility. As a person working in a creative field, rejection is always going to be a part of my professional life. However, I can’t stop trying or creating because I’m afraid of hearing the word “no.”

In March of last year, I took a massive chance on myself and got in the running for a new job in my office on campus. Doing so put the job I already had at risk and I could have potentially damaged professional relationships with my supervisors if done incorrectly. I knew that I would be perfect for this new job, and that I would regret it forever if I didn’t take the leap and try for it.

The risk paid off and turned into one of the best professional and personal decisions I have ever made. The process was absolutely terrifying, and I really had no way of knowing what would happen, but the result was more rewarding than I could have ever dreamed.

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Life is far too short to not take risks and do the things that make you happy. In his 2016 Tony Awards acceptance speech, Lin-Manuel Miranda put it simply: “Nothing here is promised. Not one day.”

I don’t take that sentiment lightly. 2018 taught me to never take anything for granted. The fear of failure and rejection can be so strong, especially for young women trying to make it work in college. The truth is that rejection doesn’t have to be that serious, and that getting back up and creating what we want is so much more powerful.

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