Top 11 Things I Learned in 2015

2015 is coming to a wrap, so I thought I would share some things I learned over the year. 2015 has been a year of major growth for me, more than any other year in the past. I fell deeply in love with someone in a way I have never been in love before, moved in a new home, lost the person with what seemed to me to be….without notice, suffered pain and heartbreak that put me in a fog for months and months, came out of the fog, became closer with my best friends, made new lifelong friends, lost some, bonded with my mom, accepted death, witnessed life, purchased art for the first time, traveled some incredible places, saw a ton of mind-blowing shows, started a blog, but most importantly….got to know myself. Here are the top 11 things - in no particular order - I learned this year. Why 11? Read here. 

1. Your parents are human.

And, just like you, they are still trying to figure it out. I know this "lesson" is posted often, but it's so very true. Each New Year bring new emotions to navigate through, problems to solve and hurdles to jump. Age makes you wiser, it doesn't make you bulletproof. So go ahead and hug your parental humans.

2. Drink good wine....and tequila. 

I have always known this, but now I live by it. Bad wine makes you sick. Notice how I didn't say "drink expensive wine." Good wine doesn't have to be expensive, it has to be good. Oh and also, tequila is amazing :)

3. Spend quality, uncomfortable time with yourself. 

Go to a concert alone, go to the beach alone. Experience experiences alone. I am not telling you to abandon your friends (don't you dare do that!), but rather spend quality time with yourself. After my breakup I felt like I needed to distance myself from what was comfortable in order to really feel what I was going through. It feels really good to get to know yourself. It feels really great to be happy on your own, without any outside influence. Oftentimes our happiness is reliant on the people around us, but what if you could be happy with just....you?

4. Take a chance on someone. 

People come in and out of your life to teach you things. People come in and out of your life for a reason. Some stay, some go, but all usually serve a purpose. Talk to someone you wouldn't normally talk to. Get to know a stranger. Take a chance on that guy or girl you have been wanting to talk to. You truly never know. This year I was surprised by a few people I never thought I would connect with. Some were right there in front of me the whole time, some completely new. The more open you are, the more room you allow for people who choose to be in your life. 

5. The promise of forever is just a promise, not definite. 

This is a tough one. We all want to trust. We all want to believe in forever but the truth is, all we have is now. This very day. Try not to dwell on the future or what's to come. Don't plan too much, because life will put a wrench in those plans and you will be dissapointed. Enjoy now. You can't predict feelings. Someone might see forever with you one day and not the next. Love them now. Your job might say you are irreplaceable then let you go a month later. Do you best now. You are all you have and the promises you make to yourself can be forever. 

6. You don't have to be friends with everyone. 

My mom and best friend El helped me to learn this one. I have always been a social butterfly and while I can clearly define my best friends, my sisters and brothers, my tribe, I have always surrounded myself with lot's of people. This year I struggled with some people who were not serving me well. No matter how hard I tired to explain myself, I felt dismissed and misunderstood. I so badly wanted to be close with them but in the end, I had to let go. This doesn't mean I have hate for these people, it just means no expectations. I can be around them, sure, it will just never be what I had hoped. There are a few things I need from a person in order to go deep with them, in order to trust them....and I know that now. This is all part of me getting to know myself. Hold on to the people who understand you. 

7. Spend quality 1:1 time with the people you love.

Say I love you, even if it scares you. Go on friend dates. Buy each other little gifts, write each other poems. Now more than ever I know how important it is to spend quality 1:1 time with the people you love and care about. You really get to know someone when it's just you and them. In the world of social media we are quickly loosing the meaning of quality time. Social networks have made it so easy to feel like you know someone through their photos, comments and messages. Coming from a social media addict I am here to tell you, you don't. You don't know them if that is the only way you communicate with them. You only know someone well when you spend time with them, in the flesh. This year I spent a few quality days with someone I have "known" for years but not until we spent 1:1 time together did I really feel like I knew him. It was amazing. 

8. Boundaries. 

You don't have to be ok with everything. You don't have to accept everything. You don't have to agree with everything. I see so many people going with the flow in order to appear "chill" and "accepting." If that works for you, great. If it makes you uneasy, don't be afraid (with mindfulness) to say how you feel, to walk away or to simply not accept. I found myself playing the role of the "I am a super chill girl" earlier this year and really felt like I was loosing my sense of self. I was loosing my beliefs and forgetting where I came from. Set your own boundaries and don't be afraid to stick to them. Doing this has made me a stronger more respectable person. 

9. Be present. 

A dear friend of mine requested that I be more present when I am around him. Of course, this was shocking and a little hard to hear, but something I NEEDED to hear. I always saw myself as someone who is consistantly engaged, but I was wrong. Being present is something I am still working on all of the time, but I plan to make "being present" a part of me for the rest of my life. Whatever "being more present" means to you, do it. You will see things you never saw, hear things you never heard and feel things you never felt.  

10. Loyalty means something different to everyone. 

I pride myself on my ability to be extremely loyal. I am loyal to a fault. So is my tribe. Along with not having to be friends with everyone, I had to realize that loyalty means something different to everyone. This BOGGLED MY MIND. I didn't understand that someone could see actions of loyalty completely different than me. The truth is, most people aren't loyal, they just want to be because they know it's usually seen as a good quality. Be careful with loyalty. Loyalty takes time, investment and proof. 

11. Accept yourself, even if others don't. 

You will meet many people in your life that tell you they totally love your wacky ways OR straight and narrow lifestyle......whatever it may be. What matters is that you accept yourself for who you are, weird and all. I spent the end of 2015 truly getting to know the ins and outs of myself and while I am FAR from done with this task (that will be the day I die) I know that there will always be people out there ready to kill my vibe. Enjoy you, accept you, love you, even if other's don't. 

Those are the top 11 things I have learned this year! I hope that everyone has a safe and beautiful New Years. If you had a tough year, know that there is so much more life to live and we are in charge of our own destiny. Allow people in your life who build you up and make you shine a little brighter. Life brings us too many challenges to be hard on each other so let's go into 2016 with a smile and respect for those around us. And with that, I will leave you with this beautiful song. Thank you for listening :)

-Ally