Tag Archives: Life lessons

7 Things I Learned In 2014

2014 was definitely the weirdest year of my life. But I am thankful of the fact that I keep a journal, and by reading it I was able to remember what I learned and reflect on all that happened. Here are the seven lessons I learned in 2014:

  1. Never stop learning new things: Whether you want to learn a language, start a project, or pick a new hobby learning something new is important for you. It keeps your mind preoccupied and it helps you grow as a person.
  2. Lower your expectations: I know this sounds horrible and pessimistic, but it is actually (as I believe) one of the keys to happiness. Be honest with yourself, if we expect people around us to be saints and everything in our lives to go smoothly we will end up with a huge disappointment, and probably with depression too. I am not asking you to be negative but be a realist. Being realistic is a relative matter, it depends on your circumstances and how you live your life.
  3. Befriend yourself first: if you want to be self-confident and have a great social life, you have to be friends with yourself first before you make friends with others. You need to get to know yourself better in order to know what you want in life. It’s okay if you go out alone to movies or have a cup of coffee by yourself.
  4. Never say no to opportunities: always say yes to trying new things and having new experiences. At the end of the day what we remember is the good memories and we learn from the bad ones, but if we don’t take chances we won’t have either.
  5. It’s not wrong to aim for the stars: it’s not a sin to want to live to your full potential and create a better life for yourself. Sometimes the people around you will be discouraging, but you’re the only one who knows how you should be living your life.
  6. If you want to get something right you better do it yourself: it’s a simple rule to follow in your life; if you want something to be done perfectly and exactly the way you want it just do it yourself. There are certain things in life that you can’t rely on others to do it for you.
  7. When the glass is half empty it is also half full: sometimes you think that you’re having the worst time of your life, and that’s probably because you’re only looking at the “dim side”. After I read my journal I realized that I actually had more fun in 2014 than in any other year, which is weird because I thought I was having the worst year of my life. I was focusing on the negative things and didn’t see that I learned a lot and had a great time.

Wish everyone the best of luck in 2015. Happy New Year!

8 Lessons From My Post-college Life

My post-college life started a year and (almost) two months ago. There were a lot of expectations, a lot of plans, and a lot of surprises. I read my journal of the past year and summed up the lessons I learned so far. I would like to share those lessons with you if you’re a twenty-something college student/graduate.

1. It’s funny how life never turns out the way we plan it
Here’s a part of my journal

“…It’s a new beginning with a lot of opportunities. I feel excited and energetic. It’s the summer, but that doesn’t mean anything to me, right? I can’t just stay home surf the internet and watch TV! I have to do something; I am not a school student anymore. I have to find a job now! If I stayed inactive I’d get depressed…”

funniest thing is that eventually what I feared to happen became my reality. When I was a senior I used to say “I can’t wait for next year and all the great things that will happen (that I planned for)”. The thing is, you never know how or where you’ll end up next year. You can’t even predict where you might be tomorrow. Having plans for the future is important, but don’t be surprised when life messes with it.

2. Moving on isn’t always easy, but it’s required
Letting go of relationships or places…etc is important for moving on and being able to live the next stage of your life. When it comes to relationships with others, you have to know when you should let go. Don’t be upset if you feel that your friends are no more able to find time to hang out with you. Maybe this wasn’t a real friendship from the beginning, or maybe they are busy now and simply don’t see you as a priority. Bottom line is, don’t be shocked that others don’t treat you the way you treat them, just walk away while you still have your dignity.

3. Follow your intuition
I believe that life consists of events that happen in a specific order and lead to a certain destiny. Sometimes we don’t understand why specific things happen to us, or why they happen that way. Life gives us signs to direct us to the right path. And how can you read those signs? By trusting your instincts. That is not the same as listening to your heart or deciding with your brain. Your intuition isn’t emotional, nor is it rational. It’s something inside you that guides you through life. When you’re able to find it, listen well and follow it.

4. Stop saying “I think I’ve hit rock-bottom”, chances are you haven’t!
I don’t mean to be pessimistic or anything, but it’s true. There’s really nothing to say about it, but trust me, life won’t cease to blow your mind.

5. Sometimes the things you want the most aren’t destined for you
As I said in number 3, life will direct you to what is really meant for you. If something you planned for didn’t happen don’t be sad, be patient. I wrote in my journal

“…Don’t you think it’s a little weird? I mean I did everything a graduate can do! Right after I graduated I started to look for jobs and internships. I finished my CV and I sent it everywhere. I looked on the internet, I looked in the newspapers, I even applied for a volunteering job…etc. What did I miss?? I don’t know. I mean I sent my CV to companies, to schools, but I got rejected from an internship and no one wants to answer my emails or job applications…”

Now I think that this all happened for a reason and now I am a step closer to my real destiny.

6. It’s okay if you’re not ready for the real world just yet
When I first graduated I thought that I am super ready for joining the real world and getting a real job. When I faced the truth I just knew that I need some more time to adapt to the fact that I am now an adult and I should be living the 9-to-5 life. If you want to take a gap year, it’s okay to. Travel the world, meet new people, do crazy things while you still can.

7. Don’t let anyone talk you out of your dreams
If you want to find your right path, you have to believe in your dreams no matter what the rest of the world say. If you don’t believe in them then how are you even supposed to accept yourself the way you really are, and how will you be able to listen to your intuition? Stop listening to those who don’t believe in you or your dreams. It’s your life, you know better than anyone else!

8. Stop worrying too much
Worrying constantly about the future is something I am guilty of. There were days when I couldn’t sleep because of it. Now here’s the thing, worrying doesn’t change anything! It only affects your health badly and might even stop you from actually doing something. That’s what I keep telling myself now so that I can stop worrying about what will happen next and instead focus on what I should do next.

Finally, remember that life is an adventure; we live, we learn, and we have fun.

Wish you all the best!

How A Year Of Unemployment Changed Me

Today marks the end of my first post-college year. I’ve been through the hardest and most confusing year of my life. I first thought that this is the worst year ever. I felt that I’ve hit rock-bottom and there’s nothing lower than that. The only question that went through my mind day and night was “Why?”. I kept wondering why this is happening to me. And why me?? I mean look at everyone around, they’re all busy doing something useful in their lives. I am not a lazy undetermined person who just wants to stay at home all day watching TV!! I am a hard worker who wants to accomplish something. But as everything else that happens to us in life, this was just another experience. It was a massive bump in the road, but it wasn’t for nothing.

I’ve already mentioned in a post before the story of how I ended up like this. Today I want to talk about what I gained from going through such an experience. A year of unemployment right after college sounds like a nightmare that a person can get nothing blessed out of. But I did. I’ve learned maybe the most important lessons of my life so far.

I’ve spent the majority of this year in solitude. You can imagine how hard it can be to transform from an active college student with a fairly good social life to an unemployed isolated adult. No you can’t! You can’t unless you’ve been through it, or something similar. It messes with your head. It makes you depressed and unable to think clearly, or sleep peacefully, or want to wake up in the morning. It was a psychological turmoil. I can’t write about my emotional ups and downs in details because it will take me a whole post to do so, but I can only tell you what I got out of it.

A break for my mind 

I was very busy during the last year of college. Most of the day was spent in classes, and at night I would stay up till late hours to study and finish required projects and papers. I rarely had time to relax. And even during my free weekends I’d probably go out somewhere with family or friends, and that somewhere is probably a crowded place because I live in the city. I was so used to the fast noisy busy city life, which made my staying at home kind of a trauma to me. At first I didn’t know what to do with my time. I have no schedules and no deadlines to meet; I have no structured days. It made me think about our lives and how we live it. This was a break for my mind. It allowed me to see that there’s more to life than being busy 24/7. It taught me that we need to relax and have fun. It was good to take some time off the stressful days. I had more time to do what I like, and even learn new things. I started catching up on the books I had on my to-read list, enhanced my poetry-writing ability, learned baking and improved my cooking, started learning Italian, and of course started this blog.

Spiritually rewarding

Another thing I was able to do is reflecting on my life. Given lots of free time, I had a chance to do a lot of thinking about how my life has been so far, the wrong decisions I made, the mistakes I learned from, what I really want to do with my life, and what should be my next step. It was a spiritually rewarding year.

Peace with my person

I spent most of the time alone (I didn’t have another choice), and that allowed me to get to really know myself better. You think you can know who you are from others’ opinions of you, but that could be far away from the truth. We all have some kind of a dark side that we might not be aware of. Spending our time being busy working or hanging out with other people doesn’t give us the chance to confront the dark depths of our personality. By hanging out with myself I was able to make peace with my person. It wasn’t easy at first, not the least, but eventually we became best friends.

More understanding and less judgmental

Being an unemployed fresh graduate put me in an awkward position. When my friends ask me that annoying question “so what do you do now?” the only answer I have is “nothing!”. But that’s the short answer; the real answer is a long story that I can’t keep telling every time someone asks me that question. This taught me that sometimes we don’t know what others might be going through; we don’t know everyone’s story, so we shouldn’t make assumptions based only on what’s apparent for us. I learned that I have to be more understanding and less judgmental of others.

Things we take for granted

Losing almost all the things I cherish in life was one of the difficulties I faced this year. However, it made me appreciate every little thing I have and every small blessing I’ve been given. There are lots of things we take for granted in this life, and I had the time to look around me and observe these things and be thankful.

Finally I would say that as much as this year was hard, it was a fruitful experience. What comes to my mind when I think about it is a quote from Batman Begins movie that says “And why do we fall, Bruce? So we can learn to pick ourselves up.”