For a few years, my end-of-the-year recap was about thanking everyone in my life who added color to it.
This year, I’m twenty-one, and all the thanks are thrown out the window because as thankful as I am for having everyone in my life, the things I learned stole the thunder of the people I love. Besides, I’m officially an adult who does not have to bend to social norms. Nobody can make me cut snowflakes out of construction paper and write “Merry Christmas” in crayon anymore.
Here are some things that I learned over the past year, and even though they seemed obvious, I claim to have learned them only this year because they happened to me, and even though I “know” them, they still took me by surprise.
Again, here are the things I learned (or proved) this year:
1. Friends aren’t forever. No matter how strong your friendship seemed to be, sometimes, even best friends drift apart, even become strangers, and it does not have to be sad. Sometimes, that’s just how relationships are. Yes, friendship can be outgrown.
2. The world is harsh. And you have to be tougher than tough if you want to survive. School’s a piece of cake (no matter how many nights you spent crying over exams, assignments, papers, teachers) compared to the real world. Gosh, school is soooo darn easy compared to real-life.
3. Love and happiness don’t go hand in hand. They rarely ever do. And if you happen to have those two together, then you’re very lucky. I hate you. Okay, no, I don’t. But you’re lucky. I hate you. Okay, no, so be thankful if you have both because you’re lucky. I hate you.
4. Choose your battles so that you can win the war. You will have to fight for a lot of things: your faith, your belief, your stand on politics, your reputation, your love, your friendship. You will fight for many things, but choose your battles wisely and tackle them one at a time. Nobody won a battle without proper strategy, so be smart on which ones you’ll take on.
5. Respect has to be earned, and like trust, it is too easy to lose. Also, like trust, who is respected by many may not be respected by you, so in cases like that, just keep your mouth shut and keep your opinion to yourself, or else you will find that you are in a battle that you had no idea how to win (see number 4).
6. You can trust your family and friends, but ultimately, you have to trust in yourself. Contrary to popular belief, your family and your friends can’t always be there for you. Even your boyfriend or girlfriend can’t always be there for you, so more than anything, trust yourself, and fight for yourself. Relying on other people does not make you weak, but not relying on anyone makes you that much stronger. I’m just saying.
So that’s it. Instead of thanking everyone in my life this year, here’s my end-of-the-year present. Learn from it.