Lessons Learned, 2013

2 Jan

For the past two years, I’ve written a blog post about the things I learned that year (here’s 2011, and 2012) as a way of reflecting.

So, here goes.

Quality is more important than proximity

One of the worst things about 2013 is that I moved far away from all of the people who matter the most to me. I had experience with long-distance friendship, obviously, as I’ve maintained high school friendships for the last four years. But my friendships from college felt different – with them I had never left at the end of the school day to go home to my family. They had become my family in many ways, and our relationships were based on being around each other all. the. time. 

Sure, we’d said goodbye for winter break, or summer, or a semester or a year abroad. But this was different. This was final. We weren’t coming back. If we didn’t make the effort, we might never see each other again.

It’s only been seven months, and obviously I don’t know how the future’s going to turn out, but I would still call those people I haven’t seen since May (or August or last week if we managed to reunite) my best friends. We know each other well and I know that if it was next week or ten years from now, I could call them up and pick up where we left off. 

Actions speak louder than words

I recognize that I am learning this WAY too late. I think I maybe always knew it in the back of my head, but I refused to acknowledge it. So a simple lesson: if someone says they love you and want to be with you more than anything, but they refuse to take the time to drive five hours and actually see you … they don’t love you. Duhhhh. Next.

Better to be terrified than bored

When it came up on the end of college, I had two options: take an internship in some random tiny oil boomtown I’d never even heard of in North Dakota, or move back to my parent’s house where I had friends and family and a real city but no job prospects. Well, I picked ND, insisting that I would only be here until August. Then I took a full-time permanent job here, and now it’s New Year’s Day.

Moving to Williston sight-unseen was terrifying. It wasn’t what I pictured myself doing after college at all. For the most part (except for my job, which is awesome) I’ve hated it. But I DID it. I didn’t sit at home hoping someone would hand me my dream life, sleeping in the same room I had in 4th grade. I’m so glad I took that leap, and I’m ready to take another one: I’m moving to Minneapolis in two weeks.

You’re responsible for your happiness

So I got this job, because I knew I would be super unhappy if I wasn’t gainfully employed. And I moved to Williston.

And I hated it. I couldn’t go swing dancing, making friends proved near impossible, there was nothing to do but head to the same sports bar, the weather was freezing, it was a million miles from anywhere.

I whined and moped about it for a while/months, as anyone who has been lucky enough to listen to my ten-minute “I hate this place” rant knows. Then I decided to deal with it. It wasn’t my parents’ problems, or my friends’ problem, or my boss’ problem. It was my problem.

So I texted the CFO, asked if I could move to Minneapolis and work from his office there, and he said okay. And when I’m there, it’s going to be my job to get out in the community and make friends and get involved and do what I know I need to do to be happy with my life. Because that’s my job, nobody else’s.

I’m looking for real

It’s hard to write this without looking like a girl who’s just desperate to get a ring on her finger, but that’s definitely not the case.

But I spent a lot of my life thinking “I just want someone to LIKE me. I just want someone to hang out with and cuddle, it doesn’t have to be serious!” And that probably would have been true at 17. But this year, I had the chance to spend a lot of time with someone I know really did care about me, and less time with a number of guys who really didn’t. And in the last few months, there have been a couple of people I probably could have dated, for a little while, just for fun. But I don’t see the point in that. If I don’t see a potential for long-term (again, doesn’t necessarily mean that’s where it has to end up, just that that’s a possibility) then I don’t want to waste my time and his. I think that’s a bit unusual, in this generation, but I can’t date someone I don’t have real feelings for, and if I’m constantly thinking, “This can’t end well,” then I can’t enjoy myself along the way.

So, lesson learned: “casual” is not my thing, at least now. If I go on a couple dates and I’m not crazy-excited about the next time I get to hang out with you, it’s over. Because I’m not looking for just okay.

Adulthood is hard but totally worth it

So I recognize that I’m only seven months out of college and I don’t have a lot of “adult” concerns yet (I rent my apartment, so I don’t have a home to maintain; I don’t have kids to worry about; etc.) but I do go to work every day and pay all my own bills and take care of myself.

And sometimes the fact that there is no road map for the rest of my life completely terrifies me. The fact that I have no idea where I’ll be writing this post from a year from now terrifies me. And sometimes I nearly hyperventilate before I go to bed at night thinking about all the things I need to do and all the things I should do but haven’t and all the things I need to pay for and … well, you get it. And when I do, it’s stressful and awful.

But sometimes I’m cooking a meal in a kitchen I rent with groceries I bought. Sometimes I’m staying out however late I want, or not leaving my apartment at all if I don’t want to. Sometimes I’m deciding to take a trip, or to move. Sometimes I’m sitting in the office with my coworkers being asked a question and being able to help. And in those moments, it feels pretty awesome.


So thanks for the lessons, 2013. It’s been tough, but it’s been good.


One Response to “Lessons Learned, 2013”

  1. Anonymous January 4, 2014 at 12:19 am #

    This is fantastic! cheers to 2014!

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