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Now I may not adhere to these 100% of the time, but admittance is the first step, right? 2020 was a life-changing year for many, myself included. I learned so many lessons this past year and I hope to look back at this list often to keep myself in check.

You don’t need to agree with someone’s choices or beliefs to respect them.

Sometimes people make decisions that you wouldn’t make. You might put yourself in their shoes and claim that you would never act the same way, but the truth is that you don’t know why they acted the way they did or how you would act in a situation until you’re in it. It’s easy to feel high and mighty as an outsider looking in, but don’t look down on others who have had to make difficult decisions.

Don’t be reactive.

Remove yourself from an emotional situation in the short-term if it will help give you clarity. If you have a short fuse, it’s best to take a step back and reflect. Learn your preferred communication style and act accordingly.

Drop your ego.

The nicest people I’ve ever met are humble and never arrogant. If you feel yourself getting too cocky, drop the ego. You aren’t better than anyone else.

Always bring a coat just in case.

You will try to convince yourself you don’t need it. But you will get cold, and you will complain and no one will feel sorry for you. So, skip the dramatic monologue and bring the jacket.

Family is everything.

I mean after the year that was 2020 does this one even need an explanation? Hug your loved ones and cherish the time you get to spend with them. 

Don’t diminish yourself to gain the approval of others.

If you have to bend over backwards just to feel accepted by someone, then chances are they’re not a very good friend. No one deserves that kind of power over you, so just be yourself. You should only want be around people who like you for you anyways.

Read every chance you get.

There’s a genre out there for everyone, so whether it’s to escape to a fantasy world or to learn something new, reading is a fantastic hobby.

Adults don’t actually have it all figured out.

You’ll be disappointed if in adulthood you suddenly expect everyone to be mature and wise. Adults are basically older versions of teenagers. They can be just as mean and short-sighted as anyone else. Humans are fallible even if they claim otherwise.

Mariah Carey and Luther Vandross are the greatest singers of all time.

Tell people often. Never let anyone tell you otherwise. If they’re under the age of 40 they probably won’t know who Luther Vandross is and they won’t know Mariah Carey deep cuts from the ’90’s but it is your duty to culture them.

Learn when to listen. You don’t always need to be heard.                                         

Sometimes, you don’t know enough to speak on a topic and you need to learn from someone else. Know when it’s time to stop shouting into the void.

People will project their emotions onto you all the time. Learn to recognize it.

More often than not, people lash out because they’re in a bad mood or because they’re feeling insecure. It might feel like a personal attack but it’s pretty likely that you’re just an innocent bystander who was in the wrong place at the wrong time. You’d be surprised how oblivious people are to their own emotions and how unaware some people are at how they are treating others. The better you are at recognizing when someone is projecting, the less you’ll get your feelings hurt.

Stop worrying about other’s perceptions of you. You will be misunderstood.

This one is hard. I want nothing more than to be understood by everyone and I hate the idea that someone could see me in a different light than I’d like. You could spend a lifetime trying to prove people wrong, but why would you want to waste the energy? Not everyone will like you and that’s okay. They don’t know you and they don’t know your life or the reasons why you make the decisions you do. So screw ‘em!

Don’t run. Just walk on an incline.

You burn the same number of calories either way so there’s no need to torture yourself. Plus, it’s way easier to watch that new HBO Max show you love while walking.

People make mistakes. Forgive and give them a chance to grow

People can’t change if you don’t give them the space to try.

Don’t waste your money on food delivery. 

Why are you spending money on DoorDash when you just bought groceries? Do you hate wealth accumulation? Do yourself a favor and just stop ordering take out. The delivery fees are not worth it. And don’t even THINK about checking your bank statements to see how much you’ve spent on delivery. Just assume the worst and keep pushing forward.

Be kind.

When someone is kind, it can really make your day. So, try and do that for someone else as often as possible

You don’t owe an explanation to anyone.

You could spent eternity trying to justify your decisions to every single person who questioned you. Don’t waste your breath. You know what’s best for you so don’t let anyone suggest otherwise.

Some things in life are meant to be enjoyed often. Shirley temples, specifically.

Buy Sprite and grenadine. Some say vodka is a great addition, as well. Do with that information what you will.

Standing up for what is right is not always popular. That’s okay. Do it anyways.

You can’t change someone’s heart. You can’t make someone see the wrong in their actions if they don’t want to. But don’t ever stay silent and stop fighting for what is just.

Do what makes you happy. Even if it’s widely unpopular.

I mean, someone’s gotta listen to country music, right?

Be gracious.

We all know what it’s like to be human. We know the strength it takes to be kind and caring and thoughtful on our worst days. Show your gratitude to those who treat you with kindness and give grace to those who lash out. We all have bad days. Understanding and compassion goes a long way.

Hi, I'm Olivia! I'm a senior at the University of Pittsburgh pursuing a major in Neuroscience, minors in Spanish, Africana Studies, and Chemistry, and a certificate in Global Health! In my free time you can find me at the gym, listening to a podcast, or hanging out with my friends!
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