It seems strange to think that a year ago tomorrow I made my first post on this blog. According to my count, this is my 41st post, though I might be wrong. I tend to get sidetracked while counting. While I did not manage a post every week, I apparently only missed 11 (I think), so I’m going to call this New Year’s resolution a success!
This year has had all kinds of ups and downs, so I will be calling this post…
DRUM ROLL PLEASE
16 Things I Did and Learned in 2016!
- Travel every chance you get. I’m normally quite devoted to my own little patch of Maine life, and I hadn’t gone beyond Boston since I was 7. This year, I took a travel course to Newfoundland, which was filled with hiking, camping, and a ton of time spent looking at rocks. I wouldn’t trade the experience for anything. I also ended up driving to New York with my friends, Billy and Judy (the cutest couple ever, I might add), to visit our friend, Dawn. This was my first ever time driving out of state (though oddly enough, I had driven in Canada during my travel course), and my first time traveling beyond Boston in 14 years. Bottom line: TRAVEL!
- Plants make you happy. Plants clean the air. Plants keep you responsible. Plants make it look like you have your life together. I have a ton of plants, and sometimes I can actually convince my friend’s and family that my life is in order. If you can’t keep plants alive, I suggest and aloe plant or a Christmas cactus. If even these seem too daunting, I recommend investing in a convincing fake plant. It’ll be our little secret.
- Don’t cling to a mistake, no matter how much effort you put into making it. I know this bit is a tad confusing, so let me fill you in. Back in September, I ended a relationship I had been in for over a year and a half. For some reason, I was blind to all the lies this individual had told me. My friends and family had warned me and pointed out the inconsistencies in his stories since we had first started dating, but I had turned a deaf ear. I just wanted to see the best in him, but eventually, the constant lying became so unbearable that I had to notice it. And it hurt more than I thought it could. This person, who I thought cared about me, couldn’t even bring himself to tell me the simple truth. So, I ended things. It was one of the most liberating experiences of my life, regardless of how hard it was to come to that conclusion. Now, I’m enjoying being myself and not having to worry about what is a lie and what is not. This is one mistake I’m glad to be rid of.
- Pay for the people behind you. My latest obsession is paying for the people behind me at toll booths along the Interstate. I don’t like paying for people behind me at drive-throughs only because I try to be careful with money, and you never know when the person behind you ordered $20 worth of burritos. Find some kind of act of kindness that works for you and make it a habit. It will make you feel like a good person.
- Try a new workout. My first big activity this year was Skype workouts with my lady friends. Judy, the tiny fitness guru that she is, decided to convince the lot of us to try some Tone It Up workouts. Since none of us really lived close to the others at the time (spring semester), and none of us had any motivation, we decided to work out via skype. It was a blast. Unfortunately, we stopped after I left for Newfoundland. We are planning on picking it back up again next year though! I also picked up racquetball for a while. I loved it. Unfortunately, the people I play with have rearranged their priorities and no longer want to play against me (looking at you, Pa, Sam, and Alex). Another new activity for me was longboarding. I had learned a little about it from an ex who owned a long board way back when, but I hadn’t had one of my own to practice with until this year. I quickly learned to skate back and forth to class and school as well as all over the local fair grounds and even a biking/walking trail in town. Next challenge: learn to stop effectively and maybe survive a big hill without getting pebbled lodged grotesquely far under the skin of my palm…
- No matter how hopeless things get, just keep on trucking it; kind of like a tank. This is my senior year of college. All I have left between me and my degree is one semester of student teaching. There were a lot of times when I didn’t think I could make it through this degree for a variety of reasons (stress, less-than-enjoyable professors, life problems, etc.), but I just kept moving forward no matter how hopeless it seemed. my theme song for times like these has become “If You’re Going through Hell” by Rodney Atkins, specifically for the lyrics “If you’re going through Hell / Keep on going, don’t slow down / If you’re scared, don’t show it. / You might get out before the evil even knows you’re there.” Just remember to keep on going.
- Brag. Yeah, we all know that one person on Facebook who only ever talks about their accomplishments, but bragging about the good things in your life or the challenges you have overcome allows you to express the joy that comes with accomplishments, By expressing it, you are validating yourself, and that is important. Just don’t be a jerk about it. Don’t rub your accomplishments in the faces of those less fortunate than you. Don’t go commenting on other people’s posts about how hard/great life is (looking at you, moms who say things like “just wait ‘til you have kids…” on other peoples’ posts). Don’t turn success into a competition, and don’t undermine the accomplishments of others. Celebrate together!
- Keep a blog. Starting and maintaining this blog has been one of the best decisions I have ever made. So just do it. Make it about anything. Tell me about it so I can go read it. Do it now.
- Spoil yourself. This one is pretty self-explanatory. Take some time to soak in a hot bath. Buy yourself and ice cream cone. Take a day off and just watch Netflix. Take a drive to some place you haven’t been to yet. Do something that is just for you. It will help you remember that, when it seems like the world is out to get you, you can always count on yourself.
- Spoil those you love. This one is easy, too. Do something nice for the people you care about most every now and then. Take them out to eat or to see a movie. Send a letter or even a heart-felt Facebook message. Put some extra thought into their birthday present or make them something unique. Do something nice for the people you love. You never know when they will need a reminder of how much you care.
- Pick up a new hobby. This year, I learned to play Magic the Gathering, Alex (yet another of my closest friends) decided that he was going to teach me to play, and so I learned. It is a card game that requires a distinct amount of cognitive activities. First, there is the order of actions you have to do during your turn. Then there is how to play each card and whether or not that card is actually useful in your situation. You also have to consider the way the cards in your deck interact with one another. You can’t forget to pay attention to how your cards interact with the cards your opponent has played (can I kill them? can they stop me from killing them? wha…). Finally, you have to be aware of the gloating grin that forms when the other player is about to annihilate you. Confused? Me too.
- Take pictures with your friends. This isn’t really something I’ve learned or done this year. It’s more of a massive hint to my friends to let me shove them inside the photo booths at the mall because I want more pictures of us being silly together and the photo strips you get from the booths are so much cuter than a selfie on Facebook. Everyone who has gone to a mall with me and not taken pictures in a photo booth with me really needs to. Or else.
- Start a book club. I apparently did this on accident by bringing an old series of books (memoirs, really) into my house. My father got his hands on them, and now my entire road is trying to borrow them. I recently started reading the first one. I recommend them, assuming you can get your hands on a copy. The series is “At the Old Farm” by C. A. Stevens. It chronicles the many adventures of a group of cousins who all ended up living on their grandfather’s farm in Saco, Maine. The first book, when Life was Young, was published in 1912, but the events all took place much earlier than that. Find a book that the people around you can all enjoy (family, neighbors, friends, etc.), and start a book club.
- Love and be loyal. This year has brought some challenges for me and my closest friends. Between stressors in our personal lives and conflicts that have occurred between us, my friendships have seemed a little rocky at times. However, we never let that break us apart. I won’t go into details since that is none of your business, but I will say this: don’t give up on those who haven’t given up on you. When someone had proven that they would have your back even when your world is falling apart, you have to learn to get past whatever challenges your friendship. When a friend (or family member) has shown that they are in it for the long haul, it is up to both of you to get past it. You could spend a lifetime regretting losing one of the best people you have ever known, or you can spend a day or two resenting some disagreement you had or a mistake they made. Get over it because you may never find another person who will have your back the way they did.
- Don’t write a post with a preset number of comments. Seriously. This is so hard. I always just pick the number after I have done the writing. This “16 Things” crap is not worth it. The things I do for you readers! ;P
- Be kind. Avoid being rude to people (yes, even the server who forgot to bring you extra mustard). You don’t have to say the mean things that you want to (unless they really deserve it). Remember, you can be a sassy person without letting your words destroy others. Hold doors, give compliments, and smile when someone does something kind for you.
Well, that’s all for this year, folks! I hope you enjoyed the mumbles from this puffin (why yes, I did just reference my blog title), and please feel free to join me for more random and hopefully-entertaining posts in the coming year!
I hope your 2017 is just as fabulous as you are!