I’ve come to the conclusion that it’s true what they say, “The days are long but the years are short.” In a blink of an eye, another year has passed and here we are at the dawn of 2013, with the promises of new beginnings, the fresh desire to keep resolutions, and a hope for a year filled with better long days than the last. But it’s no secret that before we stood at this very point, the past few weeks may have been filled with moments of reflection on 2012.
Let’s face facts … every year is more or less the same. We come across drastic ups and downs. We test ourselves and our capabilities to their very limits. We fail and we fall down only to stand back up again and achieve. We make plans for days that eventually don’t allow us to follow through with those plans. But most importantly, we learn and learn and learn and learn constantly, with each passing day, lessons we knew we’d one day grasp only by first hand experience.
While thinking about lessons learned in the last days of 2012, I remembered an experiment I did once on Karma a while back, which actually turned out to be incredibly stimulating. With that said, I decided that it was time for another experiment, and what better way to start 2013 than with a bit of collective inspiration? Thus it began … I sent out a message asking people, from close friends to strangers, to complete the following sentence:
2012 taught me…
The response was incredible! Whereas I initially expected I might receive one-word answers, I quickly realized that my respondents were more than willing to provide detailed stories of their deepest challenges or greatest successes. Inspiring stories filled my inbox one after the other after the other. Because of that, I apologize from now for not being able to do those stories justice at all in this one measly post. But it also made me realize what a brilliant idea it is to share lessons learned from 2012 with all who are willing to listen.
From reading the responses, I was able to break them all into five clear categories … five categories I believe we are all constantly shaping and learning from as the years go by. Listen closely, dear readers, these lessons are gold.
For the lessons we learn on the self, 2012 taught me…
To believe in myself and never doubt myself or what I’m capable of.
How to see myself from the outside, to know my flaws, and to sincerely apologize when I have hurt someone.
That I’m stronger than I thought I was.
To put myself first and realize that it’s ok.
To stop holding myself back from the me I never get to express.
To create space for myself to grow into the real and true “me.”
That it’s ok to be confident enough to believe in yourself.
To manage my adulthood responsibilities without losing my ability to be a child at heart.
That we are defined by how we speak about ourselves not by what others think of us.
That real success only comes when you know YOU can excel. It comes when you realize that you CAN outshine everyone else.
For the lessons we learn on the people around us, 2012 taught me…
No people are closer to you than your own blood; never forsake them for they will never let you down.
To never let anyone decide for you what you’ll do with your life, although they may suffocate you with advice, it’s you who gets to live with the consequences.
That I can love someone else more than I love myself.
How to be strong for my family, especially for my mom.
That there are people out there with similar situations as mine and that I’m not alone in this world
To appreciate and cherish those who are close to me
The true value of having a family. They’re standing by me as I follow my dreams, as I absorb new experiences, and as I become someone they know they’ll have to rediscover.
That I am allowed to pick and choose who is worth my time and who isn’t.
To call my parents more often even though they never ask for it.
Surround yourself with those who share your goals, motivate you to reach them, and support you throughout.
That you can’t change people; you either have to accept them as they are or don’t
That some of the people we meet only exists to make us stronger and teach us lessons and make us believe that we always deserve a better life with better people
That you can’t force someone to show you respect, but you can refuse to be disrespected.
For the lessons we learn on time and making plans, 2012 taught me…
Life’s too short to be angry all the time.
That no matter how hard I try to plan out my life, God already has a plan for me. Plans don’t always work out and that’s okay.
That time is fleeting. Similarly to the metaphor of holding water in the palms of your hands, no matter how tightly you try to hold on, it slips away from you.
That life is just too short to waste on worry and regret. It showed me that we must keep moving forward.
That a new beginning is still ahead of me.
To live now and now.
To live everyday like it’s your last. Life is too precious and short to take any moment for granted.
The past is already where it belongs … in the past.
All could be lost, but it usually means that God is making way for new things in your life.
For the lessons we learn on overcoming the storm, 2012 taught me…
To have no expectations at all.
That nothing will break me anymore and I’ll always be strong enough to beat all those who try.
Not to give up no matter what, for the best is yet to come.
That although there are many things in this world that bring us down, we must pick ourselves back up and move on in order to succeed in life.
Life goes on.
That when the storm is over, the sun rises.
That with a little patience and persistence, you will rise above it all.
That no matter how bad things may seem at one point or another, it isn’t the end of the world. It always gets better, we always adapt, figure it out, or get over it.
Endurance. Life will constantly throw things at you from every angle. It’s up to you to find the strength to keep moving past it all.
Never wait for appreciation first hand. Rest assured the reward will eventually come.
For the lessons we learn on shaping our mentalities, 2012 taught me…
Never give up my dignity for anything or anyone.
How to love the simplicity of pure joy.
We have the capability to make a difference in the world we live in.
To let loose with silly dances like Gangnam style!
Its not about getting what you want, its about knowing how to keep what you’ve always wanted once you get it.
To pour my whole heart into all that I do and hope for the best.
To be thankful for all that I have and in turn, be the best I can be towards all those around me.
That second chances are possible.
To give more, love more, be as kind as my mom has shown me.
To appreciate learning something new everyday.
That each year is simply a number. If you haven’t achieved a least one significant thing in it then it will be a year forgotten, held against you.
To never lose hope because anything is possible when you try and thing positively.
Do what your heart yearns to do, be who you would like, love who you choose and thank God every second for what He has given you.
To have strength, perseverance and to always be humble.
With so many lessons brought about by the last year, I am happy to report that the majority of my respondents were ready, despite the lurking hardships and potential surprises, to face 2013 and all it had in store for them. So be ready my loves, 2013 is here, with a lesson embedded in each passing day. But if 2012 has taught us anything, it’s that we have survived so much thus far…plus a Mayan Apocalypse! Nothing can stop us from keep on keeping on now.
Happy New Year!
: : : Yes I was burned but I called it a lesson learned. Mistake overturned, so I call it a lesson learned. My soul has returned to I call it a lesson learned. Another lesson learned : : :
— Lesson Learned, Alicia Keys ft. John Mayer —