Lessons of 2017

2017 is nearly OVER. We can all just forget about it in general. Y'all did ya see what 2017 threw at us? MESS.

It was a toughie for sure, but it's easy to focus on the negatives. There were highlights as always. REALLY REALLY REALLY bright spots aka graduation, traveling to europe (twice!), and much more. Reflecting on the good (events, moments, pictures, yada yada) does place some perspective on how rad 2017 was, but it definitely wasn't my favorite year.

.....and then there was political turmoil, global strife, terrorism, outright bigotry, hate, natural disasters, shootings weekly, DACA, net neutrality, funky elections, and we're all here going wtf is happening. WHAT IS WRONG WITH THE WORLD. 

This year was also a conglomerate of raging emotions for me. Organizing friends together and hosting parties had me on top of the world, yet I was mad a lot. This overarching anger most likely stemmed from from fear, sadness, loneliness, complacency, apathy, pettiness, sulking, selfishness, procrastination to name a few. Some of the worst qualities about myself contrasted with some of the best. 



"Experience does for the soul what education does for the mind"

-Casey Neistat

I found this quote scrawled on blank sheet of paper, something I probably scribbled haphazardly while Casey dropped a little dose of wisdom in a vlog. And it seems so fitting for where I'm currently at. Education has ended (for the time being), and now is the time to cultivate the soul. 2017 was a constant transition and these are the life lessons I'm taking away from it. 

The importance of always learning // constantly, infinitely, you can never know too much. Life is boring if you are never learning. Whether it be skills, knowledge, how to change a tire, about yourself, the world around you...you grow as a human and develop your character and perspective.

Question everything // this my new degree speaking. Biology taught me how to gather the facts, make observations, follow the trends, put this together, form inferences, and then make a choice. It's a pretty lose framework that can be applied to literally anything. Question what you're doing, where you are right now. Is this how you envisioned your life? Is this the most efficient way this could be done? New answers will emerge and give you the clarity you need. 

Conflict is a difference in communication style // this little nugget sums up most of 2017 in so many ways. My coworker bestowed this piece of wisdom on me in passing and it rocked my world. I let it ruminate in my mind until it cemented itself as a core belief. Little dramatic on my end, but it was like a huge scientific discovery for me. Something just clicked and it made sense. I started to look at problems around me realized "oh well this wasn't communicated clearly". The exchange of information was problematic leading to a mishap which further frustrated the parties involved. It was a big ah-ha moment and I could see it happening with politics, work, friendships - my mind was blown. And I'd tell this to myself when conflict arose and attempt to pinpoint where it all went wrong. This sentiment allowed me to be more patient and thorough with how I communicated. It's so simple, but conflict is all around us. "Conflict is a difference in communication style" is a nice little mantra to remind yourself to take a moment, breathe, and fix the situation.

Do not be afraid to ask for what you want // this was in the context of work but applicable to life in general. For a job, you have to know your value and it is up to you to be assertive and advocate for yourself because no one else really will. That's a fact of life. There are very few people, basically no one, who will go out of their way for you. If you have someone who does go out of their way for you in your life, hang on to them, because they care so much more about you than you can even fathom. If you don't (or maybe you do, doesn't really matter) be that person for yourself. It's really a dog-eat-dog world, most of the time. With this notion in mind, what you want doesn't exactly equate to what we need. Keep that at the back of your head.

Set yourself up for success // took me WAY too long to understand this, but prepping the day before saves you and everyone loads. Little things, like setting out clothes, packing your bag, throwing leftovers in a tupperware to eat as tomorrow's lunch, meal prepping, have an outlook *at least* a week ahead, will mean the world to you when you wake up late and literally run to the bus stop in the rain. Efficiency is maximized and you're absolutely crushing it. 

Tip your barista // and everyone in the food service at that. Food service is not an easy job as so many believe. It's often high stress, demanding, and minimum wage, not to mention dealing with ruthless people who want their coffee or food instantly. Plus, tipping adds some good karma to your life. We all need a little more good karma. 

There are a lot of people going through the same thing // it may not seem like it, but there is someone out there too. Maybe not the same exact circumstances, but the same level of empathy. There's someone itching to move out of their parent's house, working to get to a place of financial stability, questioning the job they are currently in, having difficulties in a relationship. For some reason, we often forget the fact that we're all humans, with similar experiences, triumphs and tribulations. You're never alone in whatever you're struggling through. 

What do we actually want? // what is it? What does anyone really want? If some genie came into my life and said I'll grant whatever you want, just tell me what it is, I have no idea what I'd say. My dream job? A boyfriend? The new iPhone X? A trip to Morocco? World peace? Happiness? Keep seeking these answers because in the end they'll lead us to what we want and need. 

There's not enough time // this sentiment will echo throughout our lifetimes, hauntingly. You have enough time to do x or y, but not both. The ever present struggle plagues us, tears us to bits, and eats us for breakfast. How can we prevent this monster from consuming us? Accept the fact and choose the things you love without guilt or fear. Easier said than done, but one day you'll look back with fondness or a lesson in life instead of an unrealized dream clouded with the unknown. 

There are glimmers of hope if you look for them // I cannot tell you how many times I've been having a completely shitty day, the days where literally everything goes wrong. I'm complaining and wallowing and griping about how something didn't go my way, just an overall sour mood, you know gray cloud over your head, and then my world just STOPS and I watch a blind couple board the bus and the bus driver gently helps them to their final destination. Or an artist at the market will takes some time and shows me their art and explains what they create and tells me they do it out of genuine joy. Or a child uses their allowance they've saved up for months and  makes a purchase and I'm like WHOA I'M AN AWFUL HUMAN. Greta, you piece of shit, you have it SO GOOD. Maybe it's God's way of grounding me. It's the constant reminder of you can do this, you've just got to pull it together and move on. These instances give you the hope you so desperately need. The world is actually a pretty good place. 

And with that, I bid adieu to you 2017.

LifeGreta GraindaComment