I’d want to write more this year, so despite not being in the best state to write (hint: currently angsty af) I’m gonna try and write some life lessons from 2016.
1. Your time is precious. Not everyone deserves it.
I wish I’d realize this sooner. I think it’s only this year when I really started valuing my own time. How much you value your own time is directly related to how much you won’t give a shit on people who don’t see your value and treat you well.
I’ve had this habit of squeezing myself in other people’s lives even when they don’t care enough for me to include me in theirs, and this year, I got rid of that habit. I used to wait around and care from a distance for a few people. But then, people aren’t Jollibee chickenjoy (thigh part) for me to be willing to wait for them. Especially when you find out that they betrayed you or done you wrong. And so I cut ties with all of those who don’t treat me well. Good riddance.
Choose the people who choose you.
2. Feeling uncomfortable means that you’re growing.
This is one of the best advice I got from my CEO: put yourself in uncomfortable situations. I still remember the exact moment he told me this, when we were walking our way to one of his favorite restaurants near the office for our first lunch out. I was about two weeks in on the job, fresh out of college. I was awkward, for sure, but I was a sponge.
That was in May 2015, but I think I lived out his advice more in 2016.
I hated doing roman chair leg raises. I hated it. It’s uncomfortable and painful. I pushed myself to do it anyway, and now it’s not so bad anymore. I hated tire conditioning drills, too. I still hate it. But I keep doing them anyway, because I make progress each time I do, and it shows. I’m 10 pounds lighter now – 12 pounds lighter at some point, definitely stronger, and on good days, my upper abs show.
Another thing I’m proud of is overcoming my fear of public speaking. Doing my first talk was nerve-wrecking for me – I cheated my way through it by not wearing my glasses, so I wouldn’t exactly see the audience’ faces, which made me less nervous. I was lucky to be doing it with a colleague the first time. And then I got invited to talk again and again, I ended up giving 5 different talks and a workshop on my own this year!
I faced my fear of falling, too, and did a 40-ft. free fall after standing on the edge and wanting to back out for a good 20 minutes. I cried after.
I’ve had more uncomfortable moments in 2016, and I don’t regret them at all.
3. On pursuing anything you seriously want to be good at: consistency is a must.
This should be a no-brainer for me, but I still had to learn it in 2016. See, in the beginning of the year, I told myself I’d pursue three things: baking, watercolor, and fitness. I failed. The year ended with me only consistently pursuing my fitness goals. Baking was conflicting with my fitness goals since I eat whatever I bake, and so I stopped baking. As for watercolor, to be fair, I’ve been consistently painting for the first half of the year – and then a creative block happened and I haven’t really painted since.
And okay fine I stopped working out by December but I don’t really feel bad about it because hello, December.
I hate myself for not being consistent with painting, though. I was still able to make progress on all three, but I should definitely improve on being consistent. Thinking about it, the key is forming a habit, making that thing you’re pursuing part of your routine. That’s what happened with my pursuit to be fit. Going to the gym became part of my routine – I’d always go after work, every other day. And so it stuck with me. As for watercolor, I wasn’t really able to form a habit out of it, that’s why eventually, I became inconsistent. This is noted for 2017!
4. It’s the same old shit so long as you’re the same old shit.
That’s what I told myself sitting at our dining table in the first few hours of 2017, actually. All these “New Year, New Me” bullshit would remain exactly that – bullshit – if I don’t actually do something about it. If I’m not willing to do something about it. If I don’t want it enough to actually do something about it.
If there’s something that didn’t improve in 2016, it’s my sleep habits. Exhibit A: I started writing this at 4:53AM. But this is an extreme case, though, since I’m on vacation. I sleep when the sun rises, and wake up just before it sets. On some days, my sleep is paced throughout the day like that of a movie’s showtimes: 6-8:30AM, 12-5:30PM, 9:30-12MN.
I guess I’ve come into terms with the fact that I’m nocturnal and most active at night, and that 9:30AM is my normal wake up time on a work day – nay, on a good work day – that’s why I’m the same old shit.
I used to rant to my friends about it when I wake up late and the universe slaps me on the face with heavy traffic and I’m running late for a meeting. But then again, it’s the same old shit so long as I’m the same old shit. I don’t get to complain about things being the same if I didn’t do anything to change it. Well, in my defense, I don’t see the need to change it. Not yet, at least. I guess I’m just wired differently in terms of sleep, and it still works for me – so long as I make it to my meetings.
But yeah, with all the progress and non-progress I’ve made in 2016, this is my core takeaway: whether something happens for me or not, it’s mostly all up to me.
Thanks for the life lessons, 2016.