I’m turning 32 today while in New Orleans, indulging to my heart’s content in beignets and Southern food. But as I celebrate another birthday today, I can’t help but think about all that this past year (and all the years before) has taught me, all the life lessons and all the growth to get to that next year in my life. This year has been an interesting one for me, full of changes both good and bad. But as I look back on this past year and ahead to year 32 of my life, I thought I’d share the hardest but most important life lessons I’ve learned, the things that I wish I would have known 5 or 10 years ago and the things that perhaps might shed a little light on where I’ve been and where I’m headed.
Not Everything is Meant to Last Forever
I learned this lesson a lot in this past year – not everything is meant to last forever. That can apply to so many things in your life, sometimes it’s a relationship, sometimes it’s a friendship, sometimes it’s a career. In my case, I realized more than ever this year that professionally some of the things I’ve been working on aren’t meant to be long term and that’s totally okay. Realizing that and being ok with it, will ultimately help you figure out your next move. Some things are meant for a season of your life, others are meant to last forever. And either way, each one will have a lasting impact on you and knowing it’s ok to move on from some things and leave them behind can make all the difference.
It’s Okay to Say Goodbye to Friendships
I’ve realized over the past couple of years that as I get older, I am much more aware of what is good for me in my life and what’s not. One of the things I’ve really re-evaluated over the past year is the people I have in my life. Some friendships have outgrown themselves and no longer offer a balanced relationship and it’s okay to say goodbye to some friendships or people in your life or just realize that those relationships will be different going forward. People and relationships change and that’s totally ok.
Change is Good – Embrace It.
I’ve always been very open to change but I realize that it’s a really hard thing for a lot of people. Honestly, if you can be open to change and embrace it, it opens up so many roads you never thought possible. I’ve had a lot of life stuff change this year, sometimes very quickly, and instead of crying about it and moping around, I’ve actually embraced it and looked at it with the glass half full about how it might bring more into my life. In that, I’ve been able to be really excited for all the possibilities ahead!
Don’t shy away from what you know is right for you.
To be honest, this year I let myself get steered into what other people wanted out of me in both my professional and personal life. I didn’t always stand up for what I knew was right for me and that’s definitely on me. But going forward, I’m back to being unapologetic about what I know is right for me and what’s not. For example, for a number of reasons this year, we decided to travel differently and I knew early on that it just wasn’t working for me or bringing me what I really needed out of travel. So going forward, I’ll go back to what is best and right for me and won’t shy away from it. Apply this to any area of your life and it will be well worth it.
Learn to say No – without the guilt.
This was perhaps my biggest lesson of the year and one of my goals on January 1st – learn to say no and not feel guilty about it. I had taken on a number of things in my life this past year that I didn’t have time for or didn’t have a passion for. All that changed this year as I’ve learned to say No and not feel guilty about it. You don’t have to do everything or be everything to everyone and the sooner you realize that – the happier you’ll be!