Well, here we are y’all! Less than 3 days left in 2017.
And as I look back on this year… I don’t know it feels like it was kind of trash, doesn’t it? I tried to mostly stay out of the news and current events, but every once in a while I’d catch wind of something either awful or batshit insane and go “What is happening?” I still think it’s nowhere NEAR the dumpster hellfire that was 2016, but I will say sometimes it feels like 2017 only got a pass because it immediately followed 2016...
Anyhoo, doesn’t matter now because 2018 is upon us! And on this last Thursday of the year I thought it would be a fun little exercise to write 5 lessons I either learned or re-learned in 2017.
Before I start I want to note, learning a lesson does not mean that from here on out, whenever approached with that particular difficulty you nail it every time. I certainly don’t, and I don’t think anyone does. So more accurately, this is a list of lessons that stood out to me in 2017 and that I am continuing to learn. #Practice.
I encourage you guys to make a list too, it’s been a meaningful way to connect with my Self and my experiences over these last 12 months.
Alright, here we go!
5 Lessons Learned (or Re-learned, or Still in the Process of Learning) in 2017:
1) Trust Your Gut and Believe What You See
Girrrllllllll. I cannot stress this ENOUGH. ( —Me, to myself.)
This year there were some mishaps, as of course there are with any year. But the biggest ones in my memory feel like they could have been avoided had I trusted my gut and believed my intuition. It’s hard to do, especially when your gut is telling you shit you are not trynna hear, like stay home from this party or delete that man’s number from your phone. But this year I (re)learned that trusting your gut is always a win, at least it has been so far. And even though what you see in front of you may not be what you desire, acting from What Is often saves some painful emotional work in the long run.
2) Celebrate "Failing Better"
We’re so hard on ourselves when we don’t get things right, or have to re-learn a lesson (see above). But this year I feel like I learned it’s not only okay, but is in fact completely warranted to celebrate when you fail at something better than the last time you failed at it. That’s progress! It’s like that old adage about how growth is a spiral staircase — even though it feels like you’re going in circles, running into the same obstacles again and again, each time you’re actually leveling up, and approaching them with new knowledge. Maybe there’s a certain situation that gets you stuck every time, but on this last go-round it took less time for you to free yourself. You did it! And we should 100% celebrate that.
3) Grieving Is Imperative
There was a moment this year when I was deeply hurt by a stranger’s actions, and instead of taking the time to be by myself and process the injury, I ran from it. Went out, got drunk (I hope you know by now I don’t see ANYTHING wrong with going out and getting drunk, I do however see a problem with self-medicating, which is what I was trying to do here) and spiraled a bit for a few days. After incurring even more injury to myself, I saw my therapist who pointed out the fork in the road and where I’d went left. Instead of choosing to grieve after the initial wounding, I chose to numb. It was a reminder that when there has been a painful event, it’s important to take care of yourself by acknowledging and feeling the grief. Don’t wallow, but give yourself the proper space to live into it so you can release it, and keep it from fueling further damage later.
4) Hope Is Not Optional
I'm going to write a separate blog post about this in the future but in 2017 I saw very clearly and firsthand how absolutely vital hope is to living life. To waking up in the morning, getting through the day, wanting to see tomorrow. You have to hope. And as we discussed mid-year, hope is, like anything else, a practice. One that begins with remembering in the dark that you don’t know the end of the story. Even just that space in your reasoning can let light stream through. Regardless of how we find ways to strengthen the hope muscle, I realized in 2017 how important that muscle is to our development.
5) You Will Heal
Healing is such a tricky and weird concept. It doesn’t happen the way we think it will, it doesn’t feel very straightforward, and at times it seems to take place alongside pain. While I can confidently say I don’t understand it, I feel I can also confidently say it is bound to happen. This is something I think I started to gain insight to last year and continued to notice in this one, though as I mentioned, I still don’t fully comprehend it. But after observing the process of my own healing in 2017 (something that I feel is still ongoing), I feel safe enough to say that healing will happen. Perhaps not in the ways we expect, but it will come.
What are some lessons you learned in 2017 that you hope to take into 2018? Drop a comment below, I’d love to hear more of the wisdom that emerged from this year!