What 2017 Taught Me

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I can’t believe 2017 is already coming to an end. So many monumental things have happened in the last twelve months, I’m still getting used to all of them. Last year, I wrote that “so many things happened to me that I never thought would (or could),” and while I’m sitting here thinking about all of the events of 2017, I’ve come to the conclusion that that’s how every year of your life goes.

With every year that passes, you evolve as a person. Your views change. Your interests broaden. You lose friends. Your goals shift. 

In January, I thought I was going to graduate college, work at a law firm, take my LSATs, go to law school, and become an attorney.

In February, I went to Saturday class from 8:30-5 while my friends got to sleep in. I was determined to get my paralegal certificate at all costs. It was going to make me a more competitive law school admit.

In March, I was working everyday at my internship, everyday at my law firm, and drowning in preparation for capstone presentations and senior projects in my free time.

In April, I abandoned my dream of going to law school and replaced it with my dream of becoming a lobbyist. I had a bright career ahead of me in Connecticut politics.

In May, I began my big girl job as a sessional lobbyist with a fancy new company – two weeks before graduation.

In June, I spent my days at the Connecticut State Capitol from nine in the morning until three in the morning, working as much overtime as humanly possible. I loved it.

In July, session was over, and I was on vacation. I explained that Connecticut’s legislative session only ran from January to June in odd years, and February to May in even years, at least one hundred times each day.

In August, I was still on vacation.

In September, more vacation. A quick stint as a solar salesperson at the Big E. Because ya know, vacations need funding.

In October, I was sick of vacation. I continued to explain that Connecticut’s legislative session only ran from January to June in odd years, and February to May in even years, at least one hundred times each day.

In November, I made a decision. I’ll fill my time with substitute teaching until session starts again. I’ll have great hours, it’ll be easy – it’ll confuse the hell out of everyone wondering what I’m doing with my life – but it’ll be a great gig for the meantime.

It is now December 2nd, and I’m scheduled to take my MTELs in two weeks.

Plans change, people change, am I right?

This brings me to the point of this post: what 2017 taught me. The biggest lesson I learned throughout the last twelve months is that no one else lives with my decisions besides me. If I make a poor decision, that’s on me. Trust me, I’ve had my fair share of poor decisions I’ve had to live with this year, and the consequences fell solely on me. Conversely, though, I’ve made some great decisions this year, and I’ve been extremely happy with myself and my work.

No matter what you’re up to, people will always try to give you their opinions. They want you to go to law school because that’s what you always said you were going to do. They don’t think lobbying is a good career to get into right now because that word has a negative connotation in Washington. They think being a teacher is a dumb decision because you could be doing so much more with alllll of those majors you had in college.

Color tattoos are ugly. Tattoos in general are stupid. Why do you need four tattoos? Guess what, I’m getting a fifth. And maybe a sixth. 

You should reconsider not going to law school. That’s the best thing for you. Attorneys make money, you know. Why don’t you just do what you said you were going to do? I’ve worked in that environment for more than three years. I have enough experience to make the calculated, thoughtful, and reasonable decision that I do not want to work at a law firm for the rest of my life. 

You have the rest of your life to travel, you don’t need to go everywhere right now. Why are you in such a rush? You should be saving your money. Are you saving enough money? I’ve been saving my money since I was 15, I can go wherever I want to go. 

Do you see the pattern here? 

Who am is not up to them. 

If you know me, you know that’s my mantra. Ever since Cartel released Say Anything Else in 2005, your girl has been living by those words. Who you are is not up to them. You are the one that is going to spend everyday working in that career. You are the one who checks the balance on your bank account. You are the one who sits in that chair for two hours getting the color tattoo. You are the one dating that boy or girl. You are the one waking up everyday to do what you want to do with your life. Why should you let anyone dictate what you do?

Now, of course, there are people in your life who know what is best for you. I’m not telling you to be a complete crazy rebel and never listen to anyone’s advice ever again and go rogue and move to Antarctica. What I’m telling you is this – you can hear these people out, think about what they have told you that they feel is right for you, and it is okay to disagree with them. At the end of the day, you’re living with your decisions.

This year wasn’t all butterflies and rainbows and sunshine. I had some bad days. I was confronted with some hard decisions. I had to accept new things, move on from old things, and cope with choices I’d made. But I wouldn’t trade any of the situations that happened in my life this year, because that was God’s plan for me.

In 2017, I prayed more. I was more present. I focused on the good. I graduated college with three majors and a minor, cum laude. I got my first post-grad job before I was even post-grad. I went to Cancun with my best friends. I got another tattoo. And another. And another. I thought I found my husband like forty-five times. I drove two thousand miles to Nashville and back. I flew to California because I felt like it. I started going to the gym every week day again. I worked as a literal carnie. I made myself like pickles and red wine. I gave new people a chance, and gained lifelong friends. I received the best news of my life, I’m going to be Auntie Sara any day now (!!!). I lived on an extravagant farm in a Texas town with a population of 630 people for a few days. I started going to a new church. I kept putting myself first, and it worked out.

This year taught me…

  • You make your bed and you sleep in it.
  • You can’t make everyone happy.
  • Your decisions won’t always please everyone…
  • You are entirely up to you.

If you are happy, and healthy, and working towards any kind of goal, your friends and family should be supporting you. You and God are the only ones who get to decide how you are going to run your life.

If you’re currently on a path that you’re simply walking because you think you have to, or because you said you would, or because its what your family or friends want you to do, and you aren’t happy… literally stop in your tracks right now. I don’t care how scared you are to do so, DO IT. Make your own path in 2018.

Who you are is not up to them.

 

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Stay tuned for my 2018 birthday resolutions! XO

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