2016 was a shitty year. I’ve had some of the best days of my life, and some terrible ones. The world has seen a political shitstorm and many lives have been taken. Changes have occurred, and some people are depressed because they have realised they’re exactly the same person they were 12 months ago. People have come and people have gone. Well, not for me. But for some.
This was a weird transition into the new year for me.
So, instead of lamenting over things that went wrong, things that I want to keep in 2016, and simply remembering specific events, I’m going to think about what I want to take with me into this year. I’m – gasp – actually celebrating it for once.
Here are the things I’ve learnt, and the things that I realised are important.
You should never be torn between the most important thing in your life and something that pales in comparison. If you are torn, then both of those things are as important as each other. Going to that get-together on Saturday might seem important to your social life right now, but in 10 years, will it matter if you gained a better social standing at the expense of getting a first in that exam, or keeping the person you love happy? The answer is no. Put things into perspective.
2] Right now is important too
Having said that, it’s terrible for your mental health to be so focused on the future that you forget about right now. Sure, in 5 years time all those years will feel like they flew by, but right now, when it’s dragging on, your experience of it is important. It makes you who you will be in the future, and you don’t want that to be a bogged down, miserable person. Your life is made up of moments, and it’s the little things that matter. With the right frame of mind and the right support, you can find a balance between the present and the future; and that’s when you can say “it’s worth it”.
3] Put yourself first
Give yourself a break. Consider what’s important to you. Consider when you need to swallow your pride and when you might actually be right. But here’s the fun part; sometimes your self is attached to another person, whether it’s a best friend or a partner. You’re the same person. So putting yourself first means putting them first. And the people who give you shit for that need to understand it. In 2016, I truly realised that you don’t need to explain or excuse your priorities and who you are to anyone. You don’t need to explain to another person why your mind and your way of living is different to theirs. Just be.
4] Social media is poison
I remember it. It was a good way to waste time but also terrible way to waste it. It consumed a lot of my day in the worst way possible. And since quitting it, it has made me realise a thing or two about the people who use it. The idea of constantly looking at other peoples lives is depressing. The way people portray themselves online can be embarrassing. Posting selfies everyday for likes seems like the most ridiculous thing to do. Why would anybody do that? Whose attention do you need?
5] Nothing lasts forever
When I say that, I’m referring to the bad times. Bad feelings, bad times, bad friendships don’t last. Do yourself a favour and understand this; the better you understand it, the quicker they’ll pass.
6] Keep to yourself
I, like many other people, used to do this thing where oh mY GOD I’M SO HAPPY I NEED TO SHOW THE ENTIRE WORLD. Not in a ‘look what I have’ kind of way, but a ‘my happiness is literally spilling out of me and I must materialise it’. It was always a natural thing to do, a natural reaction. I love seeing people post about things they love, I love seeing people post things they’re happy about, I love seeing happiness shine through their words and photos. But sometimes you just don’t want to do that anymore. When you quit social media, you suppress those natural impulses and eventually, after much rationalising, you realise that nobody needs to know that much about you. And I really can’t decide which is better.
7] If someone is dead set on something, you can’t change their mind
Honestly, we already know this. You learn this when someone is pissing you off because they keep going in circles and won’t listen to you so you give up trying to help them. You learn this when you, yourself, are dead set on something and are frustrated that people just don’t understand. You learn this when you say things a million times and people just don’t listen. It’s a flaw.
8] You have to struggle to get what you want
Nobody ever got anything good for free. Mediocrity comes easily. Be who you are, but be the best you that you can be. Work hard, support people, allow people to support you. To simply exist is not enough.
9] You can change in a heartbeat
Things you never thought would change, because why would they? The music you used to listen to everyday? Nope, can’t listen to that shit anymore. Your all time favourite movie? That DVD is going in the bin because wow I hate it. It doesn’t have to be a bad thing. It shows just how drastically you can change as a person, how deeply you can be affected, how real you are. At least you’re not a pre-programmed robot, right?
10] Being healthy is VITAL
Being a night owl is shit. You might feel productive working until 4am, but are you really being productive if you wake up at midday and end up working less efficiently anyway because your brain is pissed off with you? No. Sleep early-ish and wake up early and GET OUT OF BED. Don’t check social media because who the fuck cares, you have your own day to live. Brush your teeth in the shower, read a couple pages of a book, eat, and get started because you got some hours to make use of. Drink water. Green tea tastes like piss, but it’s okay because coffee is good for you. Exercise regularly. Exercise so you can have that 2am cheeseburger from time to time.