2014: Step Out and Up

step out and up

2014 has been the year I’ve experienced the most change. It was also the best year of my life. 2014 was for stepping out of my comfort zone voluntarily or being pushed out of it. Regardless, I was determined to step out and up. First, my four and a half year relationship ended. Then, I got my first car, decided what kind of people I wanted to surround myself with, attended at least four shows a month, kissed new boys, graduated from college, worked several amazing events and a music festival, officially moved to Los Angeles, started a new job in a new career field, and tried to be more honest with myself.

Facing new challenges, experiencing heartbreak, and deciding how to move forward is no easy task. But it is doable. 2014 was my year for progress, which I’ve vowed to make the theme for the rest of my life. Set backs are temporary. Some things that make me uneasy today won’t make me uneasy down the road. I attribute it to change, realization, acceptance, growth, and progress. No one stays the same. My hope that as I continue developing my character and my life, I will keep and add the positives and discard the negatives that aren’t contributing to my quality of life.

Here are a few lessons I learned in 2014.

Just Say It

Verbal communication can be hard for me. I use written word as a security blanket or sometimes say nothing at all. Communication is the most difficult when conflict is involved. Sometimes I’m unable to accurately express something that is bothering me. It’s all in my head, but my brain won’t let the words come out comprehensively. I have nerves and I’m typically a quiet person, depending on who I’m with, but I’ve been working on it. Instead of bottling my thoughts and letting problems fester, I’m trying to express myself honestly to those around me and to myself. Issues are solved more promptly and my anxiety lightens. I still have difficulties with this, but progress is a movement of taking one step at a time.

Be Careful Who You Make Memories With

Seriously. I saw a variation of this quote (probably on Tumblr, Pinterest, or both) and it clicked. I associate places, foods, smells, songs and movies with people I’ve shared memories with. Sometimes these memories are fantastic snapshots of happy times. Sometimes I’d rather forget them. I want to be more cautious of who I spend my time with and what I do with them. A person can sour some of my favorite things. No fun.

Say Yes More and Don’t Feel Guilty About Saying No

I am an adventurer and homebody. Depends on my mood. I said yes to more adventures in 2014 because I was determined to meet new people, experience new things and simply have more fun. As much as I’d like to be, I’m not a super spontaneous person, so I like to have at least a little notice of plans so I can get in the right mindset. I used to feel guilty when telling people “No.” I realized it’s ok if I need time by myself to recharge. I don’t need to feel guilty when turning down an invitation. I will do what I want when I want.

Buy Less Now, Save For More Later

Moving into a new apartment and trying to make it feel like a true home put my mind in Pinterest mode. I want my place to look as awesome as the ones praised on home decor blogs. But of course, I got carried away with ideas and had little money and time to spend beautifying our space. Although I’m eager to continue decorating, I have to be more patient and smart with how I’m spending my money. Living in Los Angeles isn’t cheap! So, I’m making a wish list and slowly checking things off of it. One day I’ll have my Pinterest worthy apartment.

Don’t Be An Option

Despite some instances, I have gained a lot more self-confidence in myself. I’ll say it. I’M RAD. (now tell yourself the same thing). No shame in loving and being proud of yourself. This leads me to the whole “don’t be an option.” Romantically – why keep a non-relationship when you want commitment? Platonically – why invite someone to things if they always mark “Maybe” or say nothing at all? When I choose people to be in my life, I want them to choose me too.

Keep In Contact

I’ve maintained relationships with people who are some of the best humans I’ve ever come across. I’ve also become distant with others. Not on purpose. It happens naturally sometimes and before I know it, it’s been months since I’ve spoken to or seen someone. Either way, I try to maintain connections. Showing you care doesn’t have to be extravagant. It’s as simple as a text, email, phone call, little treats, brunch, a night out/in, or blatantly saying “You are awesome. Thank you for being in my life.”

Let It Go

Some things aren’t worth fussing over. Let. It. Go. It takes time to master, but it can be done.

I hope your 2014 was as eye opening as mine. Cheers to 2015.

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