18 things I learned in 2018

the ever-so-cliché new year’s eve blog post about the list of things i learned throughout the year is here. but in reality, 2018 has been a very big year for me on both a professional and personal level. and with these, a lot of lessons were learned. here’s a list of 18 things i learned in ‘18.

1. stop overthinking

personally, this is the hardest one on the list of things I’ve learned. overthinking is my #1 downfall. I constantly worried about what others thought of me, the repercussions of things that i would possibly do, etc. and it’s so stressful. sometimes, you just need to remind yourself that things will work themselves out in the end and shouldn’t have been worried about from the beginning.

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2. you will never really be able to completely please anyone

Wanting to please people is part of human nature. but everyone is going to demand something of you & sometimes being who you are is simply not enough for them. that’s not your fault so stop blaming yourself. if they don’t see you as a fit for their life, that’s fine. don’t change yourself for them and instead move on. Be unapologetically you.

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3. so put yourself first

at the end of the day, you will only have yourself. no one else really matters. how would it feel to be surrounded by 100 people whose expectations you have bent over backwards to meet but not be happy with yourself? once those people leave to find things from others, you are going to feel void. Put yourself first and choose you because your happiness is the only one that matters.

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4. the right things will find their way into your life

we’ve created a culture of wanting things now. and if we don’t get them immediately, we think that they will never come. but honestly, the best things come with time and patience. the course of life will bring you a lot of lows and tough breaks. however, learn to use them as a learning opportunity to develop the determination to fight for but also wait for the highs that are actually meant to come your way.

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5. friends are everything

your friends are the ones that know you the best and are there when you need them. DOn’t let anything come between the bond that you and your friends have, because in the end, they’re the ones that will be there for you no matter what so hold them close. the rest don’t matter.

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6. never think that you’re “too much”

this goes along with the idea that you’re never going to please anyone (See #2). if someone thinks that you’re “too Much” then that’s their problem. if their insecurities make them believe that you’re burdensome because of your outfit, personality, or habits then they’re not for you. Katy Bellotte’s podcast, thick & thin (highly recommend), did an episode talking about this very notion. she said that we shouldn’t succumb to people who feel threatened by our best qualities, because in the end we lose sight of ourselves. so don’t water yourself down for the sake of other people because a watered down version of you isn’t really you. don’t be afraid to be yourself and don’t apologize for it.

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7. if it’s been broken, don’t fix it

We tend to be so fixated on trying to mend things that have been broken for a really long time. i’ve learned that this is the biggest waste of time. things happen for a reason and if the thing (whether it be a friendship, relationship, or project) hasn’t been working out for a long time, it’s best to just walk away from it. devote your time & energy into something new rather than trying to fix what isn’t capable of being fixed.

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8. don’t be afraid to push back & ask for what you want

you’ll never know what could’ve been if you don’t try. Sitting on your bum expecting things to come to you is the laziest route one can take in life. Nothing will happen to you if you don’t go out and chase it. It may be daunting to reach out because you may seem pushy but sometimes, that’s the only way to play. Haven’t heard back from the job you applied to? call them. really want to get into a school you have a chance at getting into? email someone directly. I wouldn’t have gotten the job at the company i wanted if i hadn’t emailed them for a second time. persistence is key. prove to others that you want what they offer and you deserve to have a shot at it.

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9. being alone is okay

Yes, it is okay to be alone. Dependence is often times toxic and inhibits your growth as an individual. take some time by yourself to learn your own strengths, weaknesses, desires, etc. stay in one night and devote that night to self-care. being alone and taking the time to care for yourself isn’t selfish— it’s healthy. Again, put yourself first.

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10. you don’t owe anyone anything

whether it’s the guy at the bar incessantly asking for your number or just your friends questioning why you don’t want to go out, you don’t owe them a long-winded explanation. it’s okay to simply say “no.” And everyone should understand that. If they keep pushing for some explanation or for you to do something, they are toxic and it’s best to stay far away.

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11. don’t make a big life choice because others expect you to do it

So much of our lives are spent in the pursuit of trying to please others (see #2). with that comes the inevitable consequence of following others’ expectations for you because it’ll make them happy. And unfortunately, with some twisted sense of logic, we think that is what will make us happy too. Spoiler alert: it never does. So stop trying to please others and follow your own goals. In the end, the true friends will be happy about your decisions because it is what made you happy from the beginning.

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12. on that note, don’t set expectations for others to break

don’t hold any double standards. if you don’t want to meet others’ expectations for you, then don’t set them for other people. this is something that has a fine line, but it’s true. people aren’t going to be able to meet all of your expectations, so don’t constantly rely on other people to hold up their end of the bargain. Instead, rely on yourself. only you know what needs to get done and moreover, have the capability to know how to seal the deal. in the end, it’s more work, but far better than disappointment.

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13. not getting what you thought you wanted can be a blessing in disguise

everyone will need a tough break at some point. We set our expectations to something we thought was our destiny and it turned out to not be a match. that’s ok. Because what if that really wasn’t what was meant to be? we were just so enamored with the idea that we lost sight of something else we are capable of accomplishing. these moments are some of the biggest lessons because they can ground us in incredible ways and allow us to grow into something new and better.

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14. splurge on experiences…or that accessory you’ve been eyeing

You really want to go to that concert? buy tickets. Have you been eyeing that pair of boots for months and have had a pair in your shopping cart only to quickly close out of the tab right before you finalize your purchase (I do this every single day)? buy the damn boots. Life is too short to limit yourself from the things you really want.

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15. People are going to talk. let them

people are bound to talk about you at some point whether it’s because they’re jealous of you or they have nothing better to do. don’t worry about what they’re saying. it’s easier said than done but their inability to stay in their own lane and fixation on you is comedic so take advantage of it. let them talk because you have the upper hand. it’s like the quote, “people will always talk about you, especially when they envy you and the life you live. let them. you affected their lives, but they didn’t affect yours.”

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16. confidence is key

bouncing off of #15, people are going to talk about you because they’re jealous of something you possess. so own it. confidently strut your stuff like you’re olivia pope in the white house or blair waldorf at CONSTANCE HIgh. give them something to talk about because you’ve already won.

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17. say yes

Say yes to anything you really want to do. i’m not saying to go all jim Carrey but again, life is too short to not do the things you want to do. I’ve said no to too many things because of something like homework or being tired and ended up missing out on something that could’ve been an amazing memory. friends ask you to go out the day before a test you’ve already got down? do it. also say yes to personal things that you’ve never tried before but have wanted to because it can bring an unexpected sense of joy in your life. Want to cut your hair? do it, it grows back. don’t restrict yourself just because of some preconceived fear.

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18. don’t settle

now this is one of the most cliché lessons in the book, but it’s a lesson I constantly have to remind myself of, especially with all the big life changes that have happened this year. sometimes i struggle with trying to balance my dreams with reality. Yes that’s important, don’t get me wrong. But on the other hand, how will we ever know if something that we dream of is actually realistic if we don’t go for it? don’t settle in life just because of the thought that you might not get it or that you don’t deserve it. You deserve to have the job you’re happy at, not the one that will just pay the bills. you deserve to have a partner that treats you like a queen, not just one that tells you they do. the list could go on and on but you get the point. don’t settle for mediocrity because you think that’s what will get you by. take a chance on yourself and big opportunities in life because you deserve to be happy and at least have a shot living the life you dream of.

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leave all the negative/toxic people, relationships, experiences in 2018 but learn from them. go into the new year choosing yourself, happiness, and the life you want to live. say yes to the unexpected and carry on confidently.

here’s to all the highs and, more importantly, the lows of 2018 and the lessons they taught me. cheers to 2019.

Liesel Julsrud