The Biggest Life Lessons I Learned in 2014
2014 was a year of radical change for me. I moved, bought a home and went from single and living on my own to married and living with my husband in our little house together. While I didn't accomplish all I wanted to in 2014, I look back and realize that despite that, the year was a huge success and worth celebrating. I'm a huge fan of planning and goal setting. I truly believe that saying what we want out of life or what we want to make happen out loud (or on pen and paper!) can truly lead to radical change and eventually lead us to create the life we envision, even when we aren't actively thinking about it.
I bought Leonie Dawson's Create Your Shining Year workbook and it finally arrived in the mail yesterday. Something about it called out to me and I truly love her uplifting and inspiring notes throughout the pages of her workbook. The questions and practices she guides you through truly make you think and I felt compelled to share some of the things I wrote in the "2014 Closing Ceremony" portion of the workbook.
I didn't truly realize what I had learned in 2014 until being asked to write out clearly some of the thoughts I have from the year. She asks "What beautiful life lessons did you learn during 2014?"
Here is what I learned:
Impatience and frustration don't contribute much to the end goal // Although not easy to admit, my impatience gets the best of me more frequently than I'd like. In stressful situations, I can be quick to anger and I take it out on the people who love me and support me the most.
Take wedding planning for example. We were engaged in July and in August chose our October wedding date. To say the timeline was crunched was a huge understatement. In the process of planning a wedding in another city, securing vendors, choosing menus and flowers via phone and email and also coordinating our move and home purchase, I lost my temper, raised my voice, and took my frustration out on my loving parents and fiance.
But guess what? The frustration didn't do anything to contribute to our wedding plans. It didn't find a photographer for me, or help decide on chicken vs. steak for our reception. My impatience didn't make the wedding day come any faster. What it did do was hurt the feelings of those supporting me and helping me pull everything together. When I finally calmed down from the tense moments, I still had all the work to do and to add to the list - apologies to make. This year, I hope I am slower to anger and can be a true partner with those that are by my side.
Things work themselves out // It is so easy to lose sight of the big picture in the midst of chaos. When you are in the thick of a problem or a task, it can be difficult to see the light at the end of the tunnel. Think of a time last year when you felt like you'd never get through something. Maybe you bit off more than you could chew on a project at work, or perhaps you had to have an uncomfortable conversation with your boss or a close friend. I know I have been there. Or maybe you went through the delightful process of buying a home. At the beginning of the mountain that is the mortgage process, it's easy to forget that at the end of it all, you'll have a home.
But guess what... you made it through didn't you? Sure, it was tough, but things eventually worked themselves out and you are on the other side of it. Perhaps things didn't work out exactly as you intended. Lord knows that has been the case for me many times over. But when I add all of those moments that unfolded exactly as planned or ended up way off course, I realize that the summation of those moments has led me to where I am today and that is something to be grateful for.
If you put your mind to it, you can create and manifest the life you want... just not all at once // It seems lessons in impatience were a recurring theme for me in 2014. I have always been a dreamer and goal setter. I have envisioned the life I want for myself since I was a teenager and I won't lie, it doesn't look exactly as I want it to or thought it would. It's a happy and wonderful life, don't get me wrong, but I have dreams and desires that have yet to unfold and I sometimes feel defeated when I think of all I want to accomplish. But if I look back on the year behind me I realize that slowly, the life I long for is building itself around me.
I will use my wedding as another example. In October, Jim and I celebrated our marriage and the start of our lives together. But just 12 months prior to our wedding date I was single and deflated from years of trying to find "the one." I dated a lot of duds (my dad would say that is a massive understatement). My heart has been yanked out, chewed up and spit back out and I had all but lost hope. But I kept on dreaming and affirming to myself that when the timing was right, the love would come. And it did. To me this is a lesson in reminding yourself that even if you aren't exactly where you want to be in your love life, your work life, or whatever it may be, your choices and actions and persistence every day are slowly getting you closer to it. In this new year amidst my dreams of starting my own business, pursuing my photography and creating the financial freedom I desire, I am not only reminded by these experiences but encouraged by them. They are proof that we can create the life we want by staying positive and steadfast on our goals. I know that if I continue to work hard and move forward and keep faith, that the life I want is within reach, and I know the same is true for you.
What big lessons did you learn in 2014? How do they inspire you for this new year?