Updated on September 19, 2015
Having my birthday on January 7th means that I get to be in holiday mode from the second week of Decemer all the way to the end of the first week of January (sometimes I sneak in treats for myself for a few days after my actual birthday but who’s counting right? ). I also think this is a great time to reflect on the past year. Its sort of my take on the new year resolution: examine what I’ve learned and see how I can kick it up a notch in the next 365 days (let’s be honest, I am not really going to be hitting the gym five days a week from now on…).
So here are the five most important things I’ve learned this year:
1. Make time for those who make time for you
I first saw this quote on a friend’s instagram page, and I knew immediately that he was right on. Everyone has multiple roles to play in their life, and roles come with responsibility and demands commitment. Whether you are a student, a friend, a sister, a brother, a significant other, or an employee, every role takes time away from your day that you could be doing something else. So someone who actually takes the time out of their day is a sign of respect, and should be reciprocated with just that.
2. You are not missing out (at least not as much as you think you are)
I used to think that staying in on the weekends or going home early from an outing are for people who don’t know how to have fun and enjoy life, and they just need to loosen up a bit. Those were the days. I think it was sometime after my graduation when I started to get a clearer sense of what I wanted to do for my next step that I also realize how much work it was going to take before I can reach my goals. It wasn’t done on purpose, I didn’t wake up one day and decided that I wasn’t going to go out anymore. I just remember starting to ponder whether I should be using my time and energy on something that matters beyond today. Something that matters to me and will help me get closer to what I ultimately want to achieve in life. I still have a wild child inside me somewhere, but for now, I don’t mind missing nights out and trading in for some quality work done at the comfort of my own home. #nofomo
3. Communicate your expectations
Conflict is like negative energy and feelings: something we all want to avoid. Yet more often than not it’s more common place than we’d like. I believe that a lot of conflicts can be de-escalated if not entirely avoided if we just remember to communicate our expectations of one another. The expectations don’t have to be exactly the same, in fact, it’s better if it’s different because that way you also know what areas your partnership is the strongest and where you need to have a discussion. It’s a very important step because it brings perspective to the table. It reminds us that we are dealing with a whole other human being who can’t read our mind and haven’t had the same life experience and values as us. With that being said it’s one of the things I am still working on and hopefully I will see more great results in the near future.
4. It’s tough out there!
I will be honest: like many others before me, I too, have realized that “real life” after graduation is not a piece of cake nor a warm breeze on a summer day (It’s actually -18 degrees outside as I write this…). I remember thinking that if one goes to school, study hard, get good grades, rinse and repeat, then a “good job” must be waiting for him/her when they’ve successfully crossed the stage new dipolma in hand. I don’t mean to sound cynical, but my experience is definitely not exactly that. I will talk about my job search in another post, but the job climate right now is definitey challenging (for someone with my current credentials) and employers are definitely not just looking at credentials. Expectations to perform are subtle but ever present, and understanding crticism is extremely important yet probably one of the trickiest aspect to navigate in my opinion. In short, my advice is to get experience, paid or unpaid because that is what’s going to set you apart in the job market in a world where an undergraduate degree is sometimes the equivalent of a high school degree in the past.
5. Nothing worth having comes easily
The silver lining of point #4 comes from one of the most insightful quotes I’ve come across in a long time by Theodore Roosevelt:
” Nothing in the world is worth having or worth doing unless it means effort, pain, difficulty…I have never in my life envied a human being who led an easy life. I have envied a great many people who led difficult lives and led them well.”
I can’t agree more!
What are some of the things you have learned in the past year? Let me know in the comment section below!
Updated on September 19, 2015
As the very first post on this blog, I thought I’d do a little recap on the winter holiday that just passed!
I’m usually not a big fan of celebrations and holidays, but Christmas in my family is actually the perfect opportunity for everyone to finally wind down, relax (sleeping in is a must), and spend some quality time just being together in the house. We certainly did a lot of that this year and even though it’s not super special and interesting, I am truly thankful for the time I had with the whole family.
Some notable highlights: I started the process of redecorating and moved a few things around in my room to declutter and make space for the new year. My dad also taught me how to use an electric sander for several DIY projects I have in mind (inspired by Youtube) for my work space at home. I also ordered my first KiKi-K time planner as a birthday gift to myself. I will dedicate individual posts on my planner collection in the near future so please stay tuned 😉
…But for now, let’s revisit the holiday spirit one last time:
At around Christmas time, Tony and I went to visit the annual Christmas Market at the Distillery District here in Toronto. This was our second time going and to avoid the crowds we decided to go during the day this time around. The market is known for its unique arts and crafts stalls (perfect if you want to buy gifts you can’t find anywhere else), mulled wine, apple cider, outdoor carolers, and of course, the big christmas tree in the centre of the square. We missed out on the mulled wine and cider stalls from different parts of Europe because we found out they were only open on evenings in weekends, but I hear they are definitely worth a try. A visit next year is definitely in order!
2014 ended on a peaceful note and I truly cannot ask for more loving and caring friends and family by my side. I have a feeling that 2015 will be a blast and I can’t wait to share it with you all!