Advice · Julia of Oceania · Mental Health

Things that I learned in 2016

2016 was a trying year for so many of us. From the election results to deaths within my own family, I am definitely happy to have finally said goodbye to a shit-show of a year that seemed to drag on endlessly. However, from shit grows roses. I have to admit, I learned a lot during the last year in terms of personal growth. I feel like I’m finally coming into my own and I am feeling more comfortable in my own skin than I ever have in past years. Here is some of the wisdom that the universe bestowed upon me in 2016:

  1. You do not owe somebody shit because they gave birth to you, adopted you, or share your DNA. If they’re abusive and detrimental to your well-being then you are absolutely, 100%, not obligated to give them your time or have a relationship with them.
  2. If this parent/relative is mentally ill (and/or an alcoholic/drug addict), you are not obligated to stick around and be their punching bag.
  3. Just because someone you know was able to repair a fractured relationship with a family member does not mean that it would work for you, or your situation. Do not feel pressured to fix things with an abuser because other people have done so.
  4. You are not a counselor (unless you actually went to school to be a literal counselor, then ignore this one). You cannot, and do not need to, fix everyone that walks into your life with a problem.
  5. You don’t have to give your energy and time to people that you genuinely don’t like. Cut out people that are toxic.  This is not selfish, it is an important element of self-care.
  6. Our “time” is the only real currency in this world. We literally work our lives away so we can feed ourselves and pay for shelter. Worry less about buying material stuff, and focus more on experiences. I’m a broke bitch most of the time, but some of my best memories are free hikes in the mountains or playing board games with my spouse. Also, late night conversations with the people that I love compare to pretty much nothing.
  7. But also, treat yourself when you can. Society tends to treat those of us that are less wealthy, like we’re unworthy of “luxury items”. That is garbage, my dear broke friends. You are allowed to buy yourself a Starbucks or a nice lipstick. Buying a damn coffee is not the end of the world, and saving that $5 wouldn’t help at all in terms of moving away from the poverty line.  You are worthy of the same little luxuries as everyone else.
  8. Don’t get a credit card unless it’s a for a major emergency or you have enough self-discipline to only use it and pay it off immediately. Racking up interest and paying way more than your initial purchases absolutely sucks. Unless you want to be awake at 2 a.m.trying to figure out how to pay off all of this shit, then trust me on this one. Lately, I’ve been contemplating selling my used panties online to help pay things off quicker.
  9. Grief is really complex. There isn’t a time limit in terms of dealing with death, and sadness can creep up on you in unexpected times or places. You never really get over losing a loved one, but you will reach a point where you can talk about them and smile, instead of crying.
  10. Put yourself out into the universe. As someone that internalizes everything, this was a hard one for me to grasp.  There isn’t anything that you’re going through in life, that somebody else hasn’t already experienced…because the world is a really big place. Putting your pain and trauma on a shelf where others can examine it, can be cathartic as hell. Connecting with people over our skeletons, demons, and nightmares can help up process and deal.
  11. Stop worrying about other people thinking you are weird. Eventually, you’ll attract other weirdos and you’ll form your own little weirdo squad. These are your people, the ones that you can trust with your soul or to at least water your houseplants when you go out of town.
  12. Being tender-hearted is a strength, not a weakness. Be proud of the heart on your sleeve, it will help change the world one day.
  13. Your depression is a valid illness. Every day that you make it out of bed when you just want to lay there in the same sweats that you’ve been wearing all week, is a fucking win. Little victories like this are something to be incredibly proud of.
  14. Most importantly of all, you are enough. Despite all of your flaws and things that you perceive as shortcomings, you are absolutely enough.

While my optimism is never in excess, I am moving forth with hope for the future. All we can do as human beings is build upon what we’ve learned, and continue to cultivate our own futures. To our readers, what valuable lessons did you learn in 2016? Please share your infinite wisdom in the comments section below.


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