I am not going to lie. 2016 was one of the most transformative, difficult, anxiety-ridden years in my life. If you are into numerology, then you would know that 2016 is a 9 year (2+0+1+6 =9). What does that mean? Well, 9 is a number that signifies endings. However, with every ending comes a new beginning. In fact, Astrology Club was able to predict the following, thanks to numerology: "2016 is a very karmic year. It is a time that we will receive the karma from the good or the bad we have done. You get a chance to end something this year once and for all. Something in your life will come to an end. Now this doesn't have to be a bad thing. Endings can be good... From a personal standpoint, you could be cleaning house yourself this year. Each of us will probably have an ending of some sort to deal with this year. Now that may be a good thing or bad thing, depending on your perception." (Source) For me, this was definitely true. I moved from an apartment that I was living in for 7 years and left a job that I was working for 8 years and these two events happened within months of each other so the changes were a bit much for my anxious self but I somehow managed to finally feel at peace with and grateful for the changes. I also made a huge decision that altered the course of my year and stepped out of my comfort zone after I faced my birthday blues. With all these endings and beginnings, I was able to gather a lot of wisdom along the way; and I wanted to share 5 huge lessons I've learned in 2016.
1. Trust your gut, no matter what. In the summer of 2015, I was blessed with a wonderful opportunity that would've totally shifted my life drastically - I was accepted to Goldsmiths, University of London for their Digital Journalism graduate program. Pretty dope, right? I was shocked and honored to be given this opportunity but something didn't feel right to me. As I explained in my previous post, titled A Late Night Diary Entry, I felt like I was doing it for other people's approval instead of what I truly wanted. I also felt it wouldn't be a good experience for me due to my Generalized Anxiety Disorder which was flaring up once I received the acceptance offer and getting worse and worse closer to the time I would've been going. I even extended the time to go to London in hopes to gather my barrings but it never happened so I knew that this wasn't my time to make that step. It was an extremely difficult decision that made me stressed for months but when I made the final decision to stay put, I was relieved. And as a result, this week, I was able to not add further debt but to actually pay off my student loans which was one of my original goals prior to this opportunity coming along. So I learned a huge lesson and that is to always trust my intuition no matter how crazy it looks on the outside.
2. People are not as scary as you'd think. When my 32nd birthday happened, I was very depressed because I felt really alone. I was simply miserable but then, I tapped into my spirituality and found an obvious answer to my problem - step outside of your comfort zone and meet new people. That single decision gave me an ample amount of new experiences with new people. I started to go to networking and meetup events and I realized that people are not scary as my introverted self once thought in the past and I was able to foster some really dope new friendships too.
3. You will fuck up and that's okay. Last year, I posted a new year resolution that was perfect - to make mistakes, lots of them! And boy, did I. I drank too much at certain moments. I said too much at other moments. I was doing the most at other times. All of these experiences still make me grimace a bit if I had to be completely honest but I don't regret them because they made me aware of my faults and they made me realize that I am not this perfect person-I am a flawed human being like everyone else and that's okay. So I am learning to embrace my whole self. It's an ongoing journey and I am happy to embark on it.
4. Doors open when you take steps towards them. As I stated in lesson #2, I began going to networking events and of course, the hardest one to go to is the first one. I was pretty nervous about it but I told myself that it would be fine and I would have a good time. And guess what? It was better than good. It was awesome! I met some really great people who are doing amazing things in the community and also, "by chance," met my future director. That event helped me link up with the right person to get a brand new job. What are the odds of that? I can say with total confidence that the law of attraction really works because I made a declaration to myself months prior that "I would get a new place and a new job before the end of the year" and with hard work and action, it came true! With that said, I learned that I had to take the initial steps in order for God to reach out and help me along on my path.
5. Don't let your mental illness define you. I have Generalized Anxiety Disorder but that's not who I am. I realized that when I began to take bold step after bold step and seeing the incredible results. All my life, I thought I was an introvert but I learned that I may actually be an ambivert - half introverted and half extroverted. I really love my time to myself but I also need some human contact as well in order to feel balanced and great. When I am left alone for too long, my mind can overthink and become anxious for no reason. So realizing this, I started to make sure I go out more and when I feel a little spent, then take some time by myself and it has helped me so much with my anxiety, making me a true believer that I am a strong individual who just so happens to have this mental disorder. And I appreciate this disorder because it makes me more empathetic and compassionate to others that are suffering a mental illness.
So those are the lessons I learned this year. What are the lessons you learned this year? I'd love to know! Let's talk about it!