Au Revoir, 2016!

Whether you loved 2016 or hated it, I'm sure we can both agree that we're stoked for new year ahead.

Looking back at 2016, I can honestly say that this year was a learning experience. And not about the things they teach you in school which you will probably forget in a year or so, these lessons are the ones that stick with you until your hair turns gray. 

My professor once said, "Once you stop learning, you stop growing." I'm only 23 years old and I have yet to gain a deeper understanding about life but here's what I do know now. 

1. I learned how to be by myself.
It is really true that in order to love someone else, you have to love yourself first. I used to hate being alone. I found it awkward to eat, shop, or watch a movie by myself. But this year, I learned to appreciate being alone. I don't have a lot of time by myself because I'm usually with people at work and at home. So whenever I get the chance, I take myself out on a date. It really gives me the chance to relax and focus on myself. 

2. I learned to think about the future.
Some people think 23 is still a young age to start planning for the future. I've been working for two years already and I haven't been able to save that much money. I have no idea how I'm going to be able to support my own family in 10 years time. As early as now, I'm already making small adjustments to prepare for when that time comes. I recently invested in life insurance and I opened a savings account that I cannot touch until I'm married. I've allocated x amount of my salary to put aside there. 

3. I learned the importance of having a small group of friends.
It is true that the older you get, the less friends you have. Before, I used to have so many groups of friends. I guess it's part of the peer-pressure of wanting to fit in. You think the more friends you have, the happier you'll be. In reality, it just causes more stress and conflict. Now I don't mind just having a selected few constants. I don't even see them or talk to them as often as I want to since we all have jobs now but I know when I need them, they're always there.

4. I learned work-life balance.
It is so easy to get burnt out when you don't know how to prioritize your time. You need to be able to do what you want to do and what you need to do. Everyday, I make sure to do something for myself. After work, I usually exercise or attend an blogging event. Something fun to destress myself from being in the office the whole day. I also try to plan an adventure once a month so I have something to look forward to. Travelling has kept my energized the past year. I'm really happiest when I'm away from the city!

5. I learned to adjust. 
I'm an Aries and I usually see the trait stubborn in my horoscope. Although, I don't believe in astrological signs, I do have to agree that I am a bit hard headed. I'm pretty set in my ways and it takes a very big push for me to change. But being a grown up means that you have to compromise. 

6. I learned that love is a choice. (The hard way!)
I'm a hopeless romantic--- big grand gestures, sweet nothings, social media posts declaring your love, and the like. That was pretty much my idea of love until I read an article by Scott Peck in Theology class that changed my whole perception. It wasn't such a fantasy anymore. In fact, it's the total opposite. Love sounded like a whole lot of work. This year, my boyfriend of 2 and a half years, Toby, and I faced the most difficult point in our relationship. I don't like talking about our problems but it drained the life out of me. I never truly understood what the article meant by love being a choice until now. When things are going south, the feeling dies down as well. You have the option to leave or stay. Of course, I chose the latter.

7. I learned to look for the silver lining.
When life gets hard, just focus on the good. I consider myself as a realist. When I make a decision, I weigh out the pros and cons. I rarely take risks because I hate unexpected outcomes. This year, life didn't go as planned. It was actually one of the worst years I've had in my 23 years of existence. I could dwell on every problem I had but I want to end this year on the good note so I'm looking at all the lessons it taught me instead. Hopefully, I take all these to heart in order for me make wiser and better decisions in 2017! 

Photos by Fons Favis