Two years ago, I set out on an online epic journey to blog about travel, adventure and the great unknown that was my future. I had high hopes, tall aspirations, huge dreams, and only a small inkling of reality. After many potholes, bends in the road, ditches and even chasms, I’ve learned some things this year that I wish my 2012 self had known.
2014 was a year of mistakes and pain. But it was also a year of growth and lessons learned. Here are five things I’ve learned this year.
1. Perfection is overrated and unattainable.
Strive for excellence instead
I was one of those. You know, high achievers who believe perfection is something they must achieve in order to impress others. Those people who go around saying, “I’m a perfectionist. I have to execute this perfectly.” Back in August, I learned very quickly that I am human, and to be human is to make mistakes. After a brief moment of mortification at myself, I learned that it’s indeed okay, and quite normal, to forget things, to miscommunicate and to misunderstand. But it’s not okay to lock myself in a tower (figuratively) and punish myself for only being human.
2. It’s okay to not be okay.
But then you pick yourself up and move on
Back in September, two time Dove Award nominee singer/songwriter Ellie Holcomb came to talk at Lipscomb’s The Gathering. “Sometimes, it’s okay to not be okay,” she said to hundreds of bored college students just trying to go through the motions of another day of classes and chapel. At the time, I perked up at what she said, not because it meant anything to me just yet, but because it sounded odd and contradictory (and fun to say). Fast forward a couple months and it hit me like a sack of potatoes. Only it had nothing to do with potatoes. Sometimes, things go wrong and people get hurt. That’s life. And that’s okay.
3. Don’t be a nice person. Be a good person.
Being nice is different from being a good person. I learned to genuinely see and care for people around me. I learned to listen when people talked to me. The followup questions I asked were not out of duty, but because I really cared about what that person had to say. Building solid relationships with people starts with you.
4. Do something!
Feeling stuck in a rut? Feeling like no one understands how you’re feeling? Get up and do something! A few months ago, I was feeling completely broken and directionless. I had passions, but I just didn’t know what direction to take in life. In my despair, I got a wake up call from a well-meaning friend. “So get up and DO something!” he said, after a tearful explosion on my end. I realized that whining and crying wasn’t going to get me anywhere. Start somewhere. No matter how small, it’s still a step and it counts.
5. Anything could happen.
I am 20 years young. I have passions. I’m pursuing those passions. But things aren’t always going to go as planned. Doors of opportunity are going to open up all around me, but if I’m so focused on what I think is the plan for my life, I will most likely miss out on the greatness right in front of me. 2014 was a great year, but I’ve been feeling for a while now that something is coming just around the river bend, and I’m excited to take it head on.
What are some things you’ve learned this year?