The holiday season has come to a close, and a new year is here. Meetings at the office, conversations with family members, articles posted all across social media -- there is consistent mention of what we have all accomplished this past year, and, of course, resolutions for 2015. All this chat about new jobs, promotions, relationships and travel has forced me to look back on experiences and the lessons I have learned.
Sure, we have experienced change in the past year -- progression, and in a few instances, we may have even taken a step in the wrong direction. I have most definitely broken a few of my own rules. I have dated the wrong guys, trusted those I shouldn't have, had a few too many cheat days and have yet to stop drinking so much coffee. I've experienced loss. I have broken my fair share of hearts, and have even had my own heart broken -- just once. I have switched career paths, gained new experience, traveled across the world and have met some pretty influential people along the way.
Do I have my shit together? Sometimes. Life is supposed to be a learning process anyways, right? Why not learn from my previous situations, and actually apply them to my life this new year?
If I could toss the realizations I've had and the lessons I have learned over the years into a few points to apply to my life in the New Year, wouldn't that provide a successful framework for 2015? So, in that vein, here are 50 reflections on my experiences to consider going into the New Year:
1. Smiling always makes things a little bit better.
2. If you took the wrong bus stop and are stranded in Italy knowing only the word "Ciao," sit down and think how fortunate you actually are to have a problem like this.
3. If you want a tattoo, find a temporary one that is similar. Put a new one on yourself every single day for a year, and if you still want it on day 365, go for it. However, that inner lip tattoo was still worth it for the Instagram photo.
4. Text less, make more phone calls.
5. Side boob does not lie.
6. Act on impulse, but only sometimes, when you can handle the consequences.
7. Work out regularly. This is the time to be in the best shape of your life.
8. It's okay to kiss someone, just for fun.
9. And have sex with someone you're not in love with. (Sorry, Mom.)
10. Make key purchases for your wardrobe. Choose quality over quantity... most of the time. True style is a mix of price ranges, fashions and brands, so it is fine to stray away from this rule when a great piece comes along.
11. Let him get the door for you. Chivalry is only dead if you allow it to be.
12. Start saving for your friends' weddings, today.
13. Stop going to clubs so often. Why spend your Saturday night talking to some guy you're not interested in?
14. Have a favorite spot, and visit it regularly. I suggest the 6BC garden in the East Village of Manhattan -- my own personal serenity in a city that never sleeps.
15. Even if he buys you dinner, you don't owe him a thing. Your company is more than enough.
16. Its okay to cry -- just not in public.
17. Always have blank stationary and stamps on hand. A simple letter can make all of the difference.
18. There are very few things that a deep breath and a glass of red wine can't fix.
19. Don't be that girl who wants to change the guy. Run from the guy that you would want to change.
20. If you are suspicious of him cheating, it's already over, whether he actually is or not.
21. Laugh loudly. It's contagious.
22. Ask your elders questions about their lives -- they are probably way cooler than you think they are. Find out if they would have done anything differently.
23. Don't walk around with chipped nail polish. Keep polish wipes and a file at your desk, just in case.
24. Stop drastically changing your hair color.
25. You don't need a boyfriend. You do need a career.
26. Have an open door policy with visitors. You'll be amazed at the experiences you have.
27. Health and happiness come first.
28. Wear high heels. But keep flats at your desk, just in case.
29. If you hate your job, find another.
30. Set goals for yourself at the start of every New Year, then exceed them. 2015 will be your best year yet.
31. Wear lipstick.
32. Always bring alcohol to a party. If you don't drink it, leave it there.
33. Get manicures regularly. They are a secret weapon to keeping your sanity.
34. Your younger siblings look up to you. Don't be afraid to share your mistakes with them -- it will be so much more valuable that having them think you are perfect.
35. Read pleasure books.
36. Let yourself fall in love. Maybe it will last, maybe it won't.
37. Keep a log of everywhere you've traveled.
38. A crock pot is a magical thing, especially with a full schedule.
39. It is fine to eat late at night, but only if you're hungry.
40. Drink more green tea.
41. Buy fresh flowers and keep them in your apartment.
42. Don't drink and drive. Always call the cab.
43. Don't judge guys based on looks, they get better-looking with age, anyways. Do judge based on personality -- the divorce rate numbers do not lie.
44. Your parents are people too. Your Dad may visit for Thanksgiving and spill cranberry sauce all over your white carpet. Don't get angry -- you may have once filled all of the seat belt buckles in his new truck with pennies as a child, and he didn't stay mad for too long.
45. When you hug someone, hug them tightly.
46. Be generous. But don't let others take advantage of you, because they will.
47. Grab the bill here and there when you have dinner with your parents. They've paid for 20+ years.
48. Forgive people. You're far from perfect.
49. Practice meditation regularly.
50. Allow yourself to change. Your looks, your personality, your schedule -- keep yourself interested in who you are.
We're constantly chasing instant gratification, forgetting to look at the big picture, the gradual progress of our accomplishments. Our interests change as we evolve and grow as individuals, and oftentimes, the goals that we're rushing to accomplish may no longer even be relevant to us within a short period of time. Our identities change -- we are no longer the person that we were just a short time ago. The person you may have been in January 2014 may be completely different from the person you are today.
In the younger years of your 20's, you will fail often, but not to worry -- time is your best asset. Learn from such failures and grow from them. Sum up the small accomplishments, and continue to aggregate and expand upon them year after year. Learn from the ridiculous mistakes that you may have made, and always remember: it's the small things added up that build the strongest foundation in life -- in your career, your relationships and your overall success. And be a kick-ass 20-something year old in 2015.