Life Lessons I Learned in 2017

Friday, January 5, 2018

This past year has been a really interesting one for me. It’s funny how some years are just full of completely unexpected things. I’ve done a lot of traveling, lost a loved one, lost a friendship, lost a love, felt lost in general, then felt fulfilled, felt pure happiness, felt complete and felt oh-so-magical. It’s been a huge range of emotions and realizations. This has been a year filled with a lot of life lessons I needed to learn and so much self growth and love. I’ve been meditating on these and hopefully some of my life lessons reach you and are exactly what you need to hear today.

life lessons

Nothing ever happens how you expect it to – it’s usually even better

How many times do you go about taking a new job or entering a new relationship or even just going to the store only to find something COMPLETELY different happens than what you thought? Or to experience something you didn’t see coming from a million miles away? I can’t tell you how many times I entered a situation wanting or thinking that one thing was going to happen, but having a totally different outcome. Even if it feels disappointing or sad at first to not get what you want, it’s the most beautiful blessing. It’s the universe giving you the life experience you need at that time, whether you think you want it or not.


Perspective is literally EVERYTHING

This is especially true when you’re going through a hard time. When I was going through a breakup that was pretty hard on me, it felt like the end of the world. It always does, right? I was in my own bubble where nothing else mattered except that my heart was completely shattered. I didn’t care that I had so much going in my own life and to look forward to. I didn’t care that I was such a lucky and blessed person with so many things to be thankful for. I just didn’t care. I sat in that sadness and self pity for a solid week and then, by the universe’s timing I had a trip already planned a week after my break up. I went on that trip and was almost instantly brought back to myself. It was like all perspective came back to me. It’s not to say I didn’t still have my moments or times when I was upset, but overall, my mood completely shifted because of that change in perspective. It made me realize how much of life I have left to live and that there is so much more to see and do than I could have ever thought about in those dark moments. It was like a light at the end of the tunnel.

life lessons

It’s perfectly OK to be a “sensitive” person and to feel deeply

I’ve always been super sensitive. Ever since I can remember, even as a child, I felt everything so deeply. I always viewed this as a curse. Why do I have to be depressed and anxious? Why do I always have to be so affected by another’s actions? Why do I have to have feelings so strong that I can’t seem to control them? Why do I have to care so much and get so upset? Well, there’s two folds to this one. The first thing I’ve learned is that I may not be able to control these feelings, but I can observe them and learn how to better control how I react to them. Obviously I am NOT perfect at this and it’s something I’m still struggling with every day, but just realizing that I have that power is a game changer. I don’t feel quite as ruled by my own emotions.

The second part of this is to realize how blessed you are to be the way you are. I try to not look at it through a victim mentality. Because I am so sensitive, I have great intuition (when I tap into it) and I can generally sense other people’s emotions and intentions, whether good or bad. Unfortunately, someone else’s energy and mood can greatly affect me. However, the flip side of feeling so low is that I also feel good emotions just as intensely. I have so many moments in my life that I’ve gone through that have been so special, so incredible that words cannot describe them. There are moments that I am so happy and so grateful to be in that I literally cry. I have quite a few of those moments bookmarked in my mind as some of the best in my life and I am just so thankful that I got to experience them. And it can be something seemingly as simple as like the morning when I woke up my first day in Rome, stepped outside in the sunshine and just felt so fucking lucky to be alive, to be where I was, that I just cried.


Let yourself be sad when you’re sad

Sometimes I feel a pressure to pretend like everything is ok. It’s a pressure I put on myself and so does society. No one wants to hear you complaining about your life or when things are wrong. I remember one time a friend asking me how I was and I was sick of playing pretend because I knew it’s what people would rather hear and instead just said, “shitty but thank you for asking me.” It felt good to say that and be honest. Some people will run away, but some will be there for you and that’s when you see who your true friends are.

I like to be happy, who doesn’t? But that doesn’t mean I always will be. I literally get mad at myself for being sad. Even after my break up. I kept wondering, even after just two days, why I wasn’t over it yet. Chill. I just stopped fighting the pain and stopped trying to be happy and I let myself feel. When I had to cry, I let myself cry, as hard and for as long as I wanted to, instead of holding back the tears. Soon I started to feel better. I no longer felt like I had tears I was holding back that I needed to let out because I had already let them out. Once you let yourself feel shitty, you kind of get over that feeling. Then I just wanted to be happy again. I was sick of the self pity and negative thoughts and was ready to move on. I wouldn’t have done that as fast if I had tucked away my sad emotions.

life lessons

Rejection is protection

This was a huge theme for me in 2017 and a great life lesson. I need to stop caring if someone else likes me or not because it’s not about me. It’s about them. Maybe they aren’t ready for someone like me in their life or maybe I’m not ready for them and that’s ok too. Everyone is on their own journey in their own time. When someone or a situation like a job falls away from you, let it. Why try to hold onto something that doesn’t want to hold on to you? It can be a huge slap in the face, but sometimes that’s what we need. I’ve been in bad situations where I knew I needed to remove myself from them, but I wasn’t ready to let go. The universe knew this too and made something happen that literally forced the connection, the relationship out of my life. I was devastated, but I didn’t fight to get it back because I knew it was wrong. I knew I deserved better and now I was forced to get it. The universe is always on your side even when it doesn’t feel like it at the time. Each rejection you face is really the universe protecting you from something that no longer serves you, in order to make space for something better.


You can and should say “no”

I used to say “yes” to every opportunity that came into my life. Every freelance job, every party, every trip. Until I realized I was just exhausted. Emotionally, physically and energetically. Why was I saying yes to all of this stuff? Did it really serve me? No. What was I really getting out of going to that party? I would sometimes go just because I felt bad not going. Then I realized, no one actually cares. I mean they do, but not really. I need to serve and honor myself first. If I’m tired and don’t feel like going out even though it’s my coworker’s last day, then I shouldn’t have to go. If you don’t want to be in that wedding, then don’t be in it. Politely decline. People will get over it and you’ll be happier with yourself for honoring what you want. This doesn’t mean to be completely selfish, but it does mean knowing when it’s ok to say no to something and doing it respectfully.

life lessons

You don’t have to pretend to be someone else to deserve love

It’s a hard lesson to learn and one I’m working on, but you deserve love exactly how you are. Even when your life is messy, even when you don’t have your shit figured out, even when you sleep in too late, even when you lash out when you’re angry, even when you don’t have the ‘perfect’ body. You deserve love not in spite of these things, but because of these things. Be authentically you and see who sticks around. Why would you want to be with someone who can’t handle you as you are anyways? You are everything that you have and if someone else can’t see how special you are RIGHT NOW, then move on. It’s not anyone’s loss really, but it’s just not meant to be.

The greatest loves of my life have happened when I was completely open and vulnerable and not pretending to be someone completely put together with all of her shit figured out — aka someone I’m not. Because there are so many times and so many dates I’ve been on that I’ve pretended to be that cool, perfect girl and they just never worked out. But the last great love of my life occurred when I was fully, authentically myself. When I had a hissy fit over something stupid, when I cried over what someone said to me, when I didn’t wear makeup and danced horribly and made awful jokes that only I thought were funny. That’s when you allow real love, big love to come into your life. And that kind of love feels so much better. Wouldn’t you rather be loved when you’re being yourself? That’s when you know you’re loved for you.

life lessons

You don’t need to have it all figured out

We all put so much pressure on ourselves to be perfect, to find our passion, to achieve great things. Why does society make it seem as though our happiness has to depend on this? Why do we have to keep reaching for the next thing and the next thing and the next thing? That isn’t happiness, that’s chasing a feeling of success that is superficial. Obviously it’s an amazing thing to find your passion and do that, but you don’t have to know what your “life calling” is. I constantly get asked what my goals and dreams are and this has ALWAYS been one of the hardest questions for me to answer. I still cringe when I get asked these. I was never one of those children who just KNEW what they wanted to do and I’m still not that person. My external goals relating to my career and travel and you name it, change constantly. I have such a huge range of passions and dreams that I don’t see a way or a reason to box it into one label. All I want is to create, to be, to love, to live. I want to share my love and my joy with everyone around me. So stop telling yourself you have to have your life all figured out by the time you’re 20, 30, 40, etc. Let life happen to you, be open and follow what calls to you.


I really hope some of these resonate with you. What lessons have you learned this past year? I’m really looking forward to seeing what I learn in 2018! Here are some great ideas for 2018 goals.



1 Response
  • Mikki Donaldson
    January 11, 2018

    Yeah, I must learn to say “NO!” It’s one of my downfalls as a nice person. I generally don’t think about other people liking me but I can’t imagine not liking me, but I know not everyone who smiles at me, like me. You’re right, though… it’s not my problem… it’s theirs. 😉

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