Just over a year ago I started this website out of boredom to use as a creative outlet during quarantine. At the time I was entering my senior year of college, working through being unemployed and navigating where I was going to be as one chapter of my life was closing. Throughout that time so much has changed in my life. I have since graduated college, started a full time job, worked an internship, the list goes on and on. The past twelve months were the most I’ve ever grown as a person and I wouldn’t change anything for the world. But with growth comes hardships, and with hardships come lessons. I have learned so much about myself and those around me and am extremely grateful for where I am today.
Have I learned a lot? Yes. Do I think I know everything there is to know about life? Absolutely not. I am just now entering into my real adult life and am about to figure out how fast life hits you, especially learning how to deal with finances lol. But I am ready for that next chapter especially after an extremely tiring year. This past year was difficult for all of us adjusting to a “new normal” during a large part of our lives. Whether you were in high school not getting your normal, social experience or an adult not knowing how to stay attentive in the workplace from the comfort of your living room, it was tough. And so I don’t think it was just me that grew, but everyone. Everyone spent more time with themselves than they have before and this self-discovery is leading to lots of people working on themselves. Now I don’t want to think of taking care of myself as “work”, but it is. At the end of the day you are the only person you have, so make sure you take care of yourself. I know I am trying to take care of me.
With that being said, here are some lessons that I have learned over the past year.
Learn to stop caring about what people think about you. Everyone is too focused on themselves.
The hard truth. Do you ever post something on Instagram and you’re concerned with how your body is posed at a “bad” angle? Or if your smile looks a little weird? Yes, of course you do. Otherwise you’d open Instagram and take photos straight from the app opposed to uploading from your camera roll. Okay, so what if I told you no one cared? No one cares how you look, what you’re doing or who you are with. Why? Because everyone is too focused making sure they are putting the best version of themself out there for everyone to see. This goes past appearance as well, my website is a perfect example. I could post everyday on this website and never tell anyone about it because I am scared that people will make fun of me behind my back. But do I care? Maybe a little, but not really. I am doing something I love and talking about things I am so passionate about which at the end of the day is what is important to me. So wear the outfit, post the photo, just do things that will make you fulfilled.
If you are passionate about something, purse it.
The word pursue I think could be my word if the year. In my case, pursuing refers to my admiration for the fashion industry. Ever since I was a kid I have wanted to work in fashion, but kind of let that go as I heard all of the stigma around working in that industry. “It is so competitive, you will never make it”. “You know you can’t make any money in fashion”. The negativity around what I am passionate about is off-putting, and I want to change that. Twenty one years later and I still want to go into something that is talked about so negatively. And because I still had this mindset I changed the trajectory of my future. I worked extremely hard at an unpaid internship just for exposure. I had my first articles published in a magazine. I got into Parsons graduate school to get my masters in fashion management. And this all happened within the past year! So if you are passionate about something, pursue it. Passion will get you anywhere.
People who want to be in your life will make an effort to stay there.
This one is big. People come and go in your life, that is natural. People can still remain extremely close to you while growing into themselves, and sometimes that individual growth will take you in different directions. And that is okay! But people can walk out of your life in a more difficult manner, which is a hard pill to swallow. I have had people that I thought I was so close to leave and not come back, and that can be extremely hard. But on the bright side, I have also had people who have stuck by my side no matter what is going on in my life. And those are the people that I want to surround myself with as much as I can. Because when your friendships are so secure and you know that no matter what happens you will have your people, even if it’s just two or three, you have it all. And people who want to stick around will make sure you know that they want to be with you. The effort that they put into your friendships shows a lot about what they think if you. So if you love them just as much, make sure you let them know.
Stop saying no so much.
Be smart about this one, you should NOT say yes to everything. What I mean by this is to put yourself out there more, and you will have more life experiences and memories to take with you as you get older. For example, if someone ask you on a date? Say yes. If your friends want to go to the bar on a Tuesday night? Say yes. At least for me, I am at a time in my life that every adult looks back on and says they were the best years of their lives. I want to be able to look back at this time of my life and think that this were the best years I have had because I grew and experienced so many new things. So next time you ask me to do something out of my comfort zone; the answer is yes. Life isn’t getting any shorter.
Budget. Your. Money.
On a more practical note, think about budgeting your money far in advance before you need to. Because I am now twenty one years old, living at home with my parents, just started working for the first time after a year and a half, and signed on a new apartment in Chicago. I wish so badly that I would have started budgeting money more wisely throughout my college years, and not spending it all on clothes from Urban Outfitters that will get ruined from a cup of jungle juice in a frat basement. Money is a sensitive topic for many that I am still trying to learn about, but for now my advice is budget your money. This is also a reminder for me to budget mine as well lol.
Your gut health and mental health are directly connected.
I have been gluten and (mostly) dairy free for two years now. I had always had a sensitive stomach but never knew what was wrong, then later found out it was gluten and dairy causing me pain. In the two years that I have fixed my stomach. I have felt so great, mentally and physically. I found out from a doctor that your brain and your gut health are directly correlated. SO with me learning how to fix my stomach problems, it also helped me mentally. If you take care of your body properly and fuel yourself with the right foods that make you feel amazing, stick to it. And those foods are different for everyone so I can’t give any advice there. But find out what works for you and keep it consistent because you will almost immediately see and feel a difference.
Everything will work out.
Last but certainly not the least; everything will work out. This is still a hard pill for me to swallow, but you just have to trust that whatever you’re going through will be okay. This is such a general lesson but I try to remind myself this in every single situation I put myself into. I am the world’s biggest overthinker, which is something I am working on. So for that I am trying to run through steps in my head when I worry about things, the first one being “is this out of my control”? If the answer is yes, let it go. You just have to have faith that everything will be okay. Doesn’t matter if that is in two week or two years, if something is meant to be it will be.