Yes, go ahead and roll your eyes. Most of you will stumble on after seeing the heading. Everyone has an end of year list. Of course people use the excuse of a year-end to look forward to a new beginning. These are true – but how often can one justifiably publicly self-reflect about the actions of the past year? Not very often. So here it is. Here I am:
It’s been an action packed year – highest highs and lowest lows – not just for me, but for those around me. In this 27th year of life, I feel like I have finally grown up enough to see myself without filters or distractions – accepted who and what I am without judgment. So, in no particular order, here are the most important things I learned about life and myself in 2013:
1. I spent too much time with the wrong people. I had a fantastic group of friend coming out of high school. We had dinner parties, ugly sweater parties, shared in times of happiness and loss. About 2 years ago, we had a falling out and I decided to cut them out of my life. I constantly questioned this decision and cried about the loss of their company. As with everything else, time healed. I gave myself time to grieve over this friend break-up. True, we shared a long, tumultuous relationship – but I realized that chapter of my life had to close for my own good. I didn’t feel good about myself when I was with them. The thought of having to spend time with them gave me anxiety and I was awkward and nervous. Friends shouldn’t have that effect on you. So this year, I moved on.
2. Money isn’t always everything, especially when it comes to a job with good benefits! This year I got my first big-girl job at a large company that offers a full range of benefits. Even though my salary leaves a lot to be desired, I received access to full health, dental, and vision benefits from day one. They provide a 401k plan, life insurance, 2 weeks paid vacation, 3 personal days, and 7 sick days. I get paid holidays! Huzzah! Being an adult isn’t always what I imagined as a child, but damn it feels good to be in the workforce. I know I’m at the bottom of the food chain at my company, but upward movement will come in time. Meanwhile, I’ll be enjoying my paid weeks off on an island!
3. It isn’t shameful to still live at home. In my teenage brain, I swore I would be married by 23, having kids by 25. Well, I’m 27, unmarried, childless, and living at home. So what. If you can swing it, do it! I owe a lot to my parents who have helped me through thick and thin. I’m very lucky that they aren’t raring to get rid of me so their life can “begin again.” We are large parts of each other’s lives. Even if I moved out, my parents would be a part of my daily life. I am independent (to a point), but why force myself to scrounge around barely making rent just because of my age? I’m not advocating being lazy – living with your parents because you refuse to get a job – but encouraging you not to let it affect your pride. Do not judge those who live or are returning to live with their parents. Our generation has it tough – huge student loans with a tough job market. Don’t overstress yourself by forcing independence. If you are lucky enough to have parent who will take you back, go!
4. Stop being so damn defensive. If you did something wrong, admit it. There’s nothing anyone can say to you that you haven’t already said to yourself. Be upfront and truthful. Admit your faults, say I’m sorry. The truth will set you free! It really will! Being honest allows for growth, understanding, self-reflection, and effective communication with other people. I’m not perfect, and defensiveness rears its ugly head once in a while, but I try to refrain from excuses and anger in situations where I know that I’m wrong. Some of you who know me are laughing. I’m working on it! Honesty and openness make me feel good. Try it!
5. Cats are amazing creatures. Why? Because I have two and I love them more than I ever thought I could. Alright, I already knew this one but I want to emphasize how amazing feline company is on a daily basis. Unconditional love and affection packaged nicely in a fluffy exterior. Sigh 🙂
6. Getting mad and being combative is not always the right answer. Some people are just plain stupid. How many times are you going to forgive and forget? If someone wrongs you repeatedly, it’s not just a character fluke but an ingrained behavior. The easy answer? Get rid of them like yesterday’s trash. But what if they are a permanent fixture in your extended family? Well, then you deal with it. More often than not, I hear ranting and raving from a family member about a certain other family member and they can’t believe they did this AGAIN. I believe it. Why? Because they have wronged you in this way about a dozen times in the past but you continue to forgive them and the cycle begins again. Instead of getting mad, be indifferent. Don’t let it happen to you again. Avoid the situation. How am I not mad about this? Well, yes, it is extremely shocking and repulsive behavior, but what do you expect? This is a part of their behavioral pattern and if you continue to have a relationship with them do not be surprised when it occurs again. Treat habitual offenders with indifference because history shows that it can and will happen again.
7. Time with family is precious. This is not lost on me for a second. I love family time and look forward to it with fervor. But what about the quiet, boring times? Those are special too. Recently, I had a manicure date with my younger cousin. I was exhausted from work and not my usual bubbly self. I didn’t have a lot to say and the nail salon was unusually quiet. Her nails were done quickly and she sat beside me, looking through her iPod touch. The manicurist had some trouble with the paint and started over. I told my cousin that it would be a while and maybe her mom should pick her up so she didn’t miss dinner. I apologized to her for being quiet and taking a long time and she answered, “It doesn’t matter, Kimmy, I love spending time with you.” Cue melting heart. I cry my eyes out over puppy commercials and shitty hallmark movies. I tear up when telling a sad or touching story. It took all the strength I had not to cry. So I just coolly told her I loved her and she was the best. So even when you think you are boring and awkward, time together can still be special.
8. You never grow out of playing. Snowball fights, office pranks, chasing each other, hiding belongings, verbally teasing, playing games, scavenger hunts, dancing in public, singing Disney songs – and that’s just at my office! Playing bonds coworkers and makes them friends. Laughter can cure most ailments and make sunshine out of clouds. You’re only as old as you let yourself feel.
9. Give gratitude. I emphasize giving gratitude and living aloha constantly. Say thank you. Do nice things for others. Go out of your way to help someone, even if they are a nasty customer on the phone. Not only will it make you feel better, but you will spread joy and love around you even if you aren’t there to witness the results. Putting out positive vibes makes your environment a more peaceful and happy place. Who doesn’t want to live in a wonderful world?
10. I love my mom. This is nothing new. She is an amazing lady. Every day I find a reason to love and admire her more. I have an amazing friend and confidant in her. Yes, we fight and brawl it out on a weekly basis. But we know in our hearts that we would not be complete without each other. I know I don’t tell you enough, mom, and no, the internet is not the proper way to show it, but I love you more than anything in this world and thank you for all that you have done for me!
11. I can be me and people will still like me. I used to have terrible social anxiety but no one knew it. I worried too much about other people’s opinions and it caused me to disengage. I started a new job this year with an entirely new group of people and flourished. I get constant praise. I receive compliments more than ever. I came in with confidence and lost all of my social anxiety by owning what I have and who I am. Work it, and you WILL own it.
12. Changing my lifestyle for the better wasn’t that hard. I will keep this short because you can see my views on Paleo eating everywhere. I dropped sugar, carbs, and most dairy from my diet without dying. I literally thought I would die in the beginning. I got terrible headaches from sugar withdrawal. I wanted to vomit when I worked out because I was so out of shape. Now I’m healthier, more fit, and able to run without feeling like I’m going to die. I worked a haunted house for a month where I screamed, jumped, ran, and convulsed without a problem. If I can do it, you certainly can too. Now that the year is coming to an end, I’ve taken a cheat week-and-a-half-because-hey-it’s-a-new-start-in-the-new-year. I know I’ve run off the track a bit and it will take some work to get me back to where I was more than a month ago, but the most important thing is that I know I can do it.
13. This year I’ve realized that sometimes I’m really mean when I get frustrated. It’s strange. Sometimes I have more pity and empathy for complete strangers than those closest to me and I don’t know why. I expect more out of those people because I would want them to hold me to that same standard. I am working on being less pointed and more understanding and flexible. Change takes time and waiting out that time takes trust in other people that it will be done. I’ve never claimed to be patient or gentle, but I’m trying to be. Trust me and I will trust you. This is my biggest flaw-problem-realization-self-reflection. In the New Year, I plan to work on this negative trait and learn new ways of dealing with frustration. Ironically, everything else on this list has been chipper and positive and this is one of my dark clouds. Let’s hope for sunny skies in the New Year.
Thank you so much for stopping by. I wish you nothing but happiness in the New Year. Take a look at yourself and all that you’ve accomplished in 2013. You’re amazing. No matter how big or small the changes in your life have been, change means movement, and movement is only forward. Here’s to a better you in 2014. Aloha, love, and positivity! :