Tag Archives: New Beginnings

“2012 Taught Me…” – A Lessons Learned Survival Guide for 2013

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…

New year 2013

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 —



Filed under Food For Thought, Growing Up, Mind, Body, Soul, Out of the Box

What Comes After “Happily Ever After”

There are so many moments in our lives where we find ourselves standing at the edge of a cliff, a leap of faith calling out to us, and the lingering question of whether or not to take it agonizingly tossing and turning in our minds until we finally make our decisions. For anyone who knows me, or anyone who reads this blog, I don’t need to remind you of my stance on the topic. But just in case … I am and have always been a true advocate for leaps of faith and following in your dreams.

My advice has always been to take it. Calculate all you want, assess the pros and cons even, but for the love of God just jump. I guess it’s because I’ve always believed that there must be a reason as to why we found ourselves standing at that cliff in the first place. Really, the outcome can only go two ways: we either make it, which in that case would be a risk worth taking, or we don’t, which would be a potentially hurtful yet forcefully strengthening lesson learned.  But at that point, it all comes down to the question of what do we have to lose? Or better yet, what do we have to gain?

Via Flickr: Compact.Girl

For as far back as stories on leaps of faith go, we’ve all heard as well as told the tales of the struggles we’ve faced when our hopes to reach a greener side fell a little short. But what about those of us who actually made it? What happens next?  Even a Disney lover like myself knows there is far more to a story than “happily ever after.”

So three months ago, I took my leap of faith, got married, moved half way across the world, and found my happily ever after (which actually does kind of resemble the ending of a Romantic Comedy that leaves you with that warm, fuzzy feeling inside). And that warm, fuzzy feeling of “I did it, I actually made it, I’m finally where I want to be,” is one you’ll absolutely love dwelling in for as long as you can.

But that’s just it. When you’re standing up there on that cliff, in the moment you imagine the glorious place you want to be, do you actually know what that place even is? Whether it is getting married to the man of your dreams, landing your perfect job after college, finally moving to the city you wanted to moved to when you finished one phase of your life or other, it’s easy—and actually encouraged—to paint an ideal mental image, set a goal and work toward it with all we have in us. But aside from a set of ideals, do any of us really know what it looks like on the other side of a leap of faith?

When the “I did it” cloud eventually clears, you will suddenly find yourself staring right into a new beginning. You will realize that a leap of faith is not only a happily ever after, but a whole new story, and that can be just as scary as the decision to jump in the first place.

So when I first arrived in my new life, I expected to know exactly what to do and when to do it. I thought that after this success, I would once again ease into a rampage of achieving all of my goals and magically reaching all of my dreams, as I had been doing before I leapt. But it’s not that easy. It’s not supposed to be that easy.

In all of my honesty in revealing the other side of Happily Ever After, I’m afraid I may be scaring off those of you who are standing at the cliff as you read this. But, by all means, don’t stop! Jumping into the arms of a dream you’ve always hoped to follow is the most wonderful experience you may ever come across in your life. And when you finally feel the overwhelming bliss of accomplishment, the struggle of every step along the way becomes so worth it.

Don’t stop, not for a second. But once you land, remember …

Remember who you are despite the unfamiliar norms and expectations that will hover around you.

Remember that it’s ok to stop for a minute, take a step back, and let your new surrounding sink in before you hit the ground running.

Remember to take the time to learn. And in a foreign atmosphere where you’re beginning all over again, you are bound to learn something new everyday.

Remember that despite your potential craving for a bit of empathy, no one will understand the transformations you are undergoing better than yourself, nor should you expect them to.

Remember that just because you left behind the people, places or things that made up your comfort zone, you are not alone. You are never alone.

Remember to enjoy it – every minute, every new encounter, every one of your “firsts” in this new experience. It keeps the warm, fuzzy feeling always lingering in the air.

Most of all, remember that you cannot expect yourself to begin where you left off before taking a leap of faith, because that strong, passionate, brave decision to jump in the first place only proves your ability to bring yourself up again and again and again.  And what better time to bring yourself up than right now … as a beginning to your Happily Ever After.

: : : You can take everything I have. You can break everything I am like I’m made of glass; like I’m made of paper. Go on and try to tear my down. I will be rising from the ground like a skyscraper : : :

— Skyscraper, Demi Lovato —


Filed under Food For Thought, Growing Up, Mind, Body, Soul