When the nights start getting darker and colder, Christmas decorations start to adorn the windows along the high street, and plans are made for New Year celebrations, I often start to think back over the year and what has changed since last winter. So much has happened this year that I find it hard to remember stuff from the beginning of 2013, but I thought it was important to look at what I have learnt from the year in order to see how I’ve grown as a person from the experiences I have had. Here are just 10 of what I think are the most important things I have learnt this year:
- That no matter how busy you think you are, and how little time you have to pack everything in, there is always time in the day to do more if you really put your mind to it. This year I have found that as more people leave my workplace I have even more responsibility thrust upon me and I have adapted to cope with the pressure each day. I have also taken on extra work by starting a new blog and becoming editor of a festival review website which will create even more work for me, but will look great on my CV and will give me fantastic experience. On top of my full-time job and training this is a lot of work but I am determined to cope and flourish.
- That people who gossip are the ones who will remain stuck in the past instead of moving forward in life. That those who gossip about others are not the ones you want to be friends with, the ones they gossip about probably are. And that if you go on holiday with a group, those you looked forward to spending time with most will often disappoint and not be the ones you make memories with.
- Something I learnt a long time ago, but that was strongly reiterated to me this year – job may be scarce at the moment, but there is always a way of getting into the career you want and to follow your interests. And that there are so many ways of exploring these for free. Blagging is a way of life and confidence will get you everywhere.
- The friend that is all about the drama, makes every situation about her and is constantly unreliable will eventually let you down. I had a friend who was one of my closest this time last year, then, a few months ago she just cut me off completely with no explanation. I can only assume it was to do with her breaking up with her on-off boyfriend who was close with mine – but it still hurt and I expected better from her.
- Growing as a person and developing new interests can mean growing apart from your oldest friends. Much as I love my besties, I have realised this year how little I seem to have in common with them now. I love live music and festivals, they like The Big Reunion and cheese rooms on nights out. We still have a lot in common, but it is difficult to plan to do things together because they are not interested in the same things I am. It is sad when you grow apart, but you have to remember how much you still love each other and will always be there for each other.
- With all my festival experience over the last two years, I have learnt that if you need a number two at a festival the best time to go is around 8 or 9am, the toilets are always freshly cleaned at this time.
- No amount of age and knowledge will make up for life experience. I know lots of people who have plenty of book knowledge, but they have no frame of experience and have always lived inside a bubble. I was one of them until I experienced university and then life beyond it to the extent that I have in recent years.
- Again, something I have always believed but now realise more than ever how important it is to take pictures and make memories to reminisce over. After having my phone stolen after Boomtown Fair earlier this year and losing all of my pictures from the festival – I was devastated. Particularly at festivals, there is so much going on that you want to capture the moment so you can remember it afterwards when four days blur into one.
- It is important to not get swept up in how other people’s lives are, if others are moving fast with marriage and kids, don’t feel judged by them because you prefer to go slower and enjoy your life. Earlier this summer, silly me felt incredibly judged by an old school friend when she told me she was engaged and was shocked that my boyfriend of nearly seven years had not popped the question. It was ridiculous of me to feel that way – we had spoken about it and I had already made it clear that I was not interested in marriage and children for a while yet, but I was pushed into feeling I should comply to her views of life.
- Love every day, or if you can’t, feel truly happy and content with one thing each day. This year, I lost a lot of people who have meant something to me at some point. An ex-boyfriend and old friend lost his life in a terrible accident, an ex-teacher who helped shape me as a person and taught me so much lost his battle with cancer. Another colleague was diagnosed with cancer despite having no symptoms. Each was shocking and it was hard to come to terms with these losses, but they made me realise that I don’t want the same to happen to me without me first making the most of every day. I wouldn’t want to have a single day where something good didn’t happen but I accept that not everything that happens each day is good.
So there you go – a powerful year for me. A learning curve in some respects, and a confirmation of some beliefs I already held. I hope to use my new-found knowledge to build an even brighter future and to make 2014 even better than 2013.
What have you learnt this year and how will it help you in the future?