6 Lessons From This Year

Welcome to the twenty-first day of Blogmas with Sara Laughed, where I’m blogging every day ’til Christmas Day. Head over to my Blogmas calendar to see the full collection, or click on the gift tag below!

2017 wasn’t an easy year for me. There were definitely great things about it: I was able to make new friends, had several American friends come to visit, and finally got to experience normal couples’ life with Ken. But it was also a very challenging year: I lost my godmother, struggled with aimlessness in my work, and generally felt a bit lost in life. This is, I think, what they mean with the idea of a “quarterlife crisis.”

Towards the end of 2017, I started getting a clearer picture of what I wanted and who I wanted to be. Some aspects of that were easy to figure out, like realizing that I really valued reading, after years of resenting it during college. Other aspects were much more difficult to decipher; for example, I spent a lot of time wavering on what I wanted to do with my career, and ended up doing a bit of a 180 that isn’t quite public yet (more on that to come).

In a way, these insights into myself wouldn’t have been possible without the challenging aspects of this year. If I hadn’t felt aimless and frustrated with my work, I wouldn’t have reconsidered my career path and made the changes that are now fulfilling me so much. If I hadn’t been fed up with my lifestyle and how it made me feel, I wouldn’t have changed my habits the way that I did. So while this year was significantly harder than 2016 was for me, I’m still grateful for the difficulties. They made me who I am today.

With that said, I wanted to share some of the lessons I’ve learned this year. Buckle up for some unsolicited advice; here’s what I wish I could tell myself a year ago.

You will never regret spending time with the people you love. I lost my godmother this year, and in hindsight, the time that I spent with her in the final months of her life is so valuable to me. I had traveled to the United States earlier than planned in order to spend that time with her, and though I worried at the time about the money, I now know just how important that time was.

Use some moisturizer, for God’s sake. It took me a while to figure out my skincare routine. Now that I have, I wish I’d started sooner.

Just choose. Millennials have more choices in career, location, and lifestyle than any generation before them. The typical mid-life crisis happens when someone feels that they don’t have enough options in life; a quarter-life crisis happens when someone has way too and it overwhelms them into paralysis. Sometimes the answer isn’t making the perfect choice; it’s just making one and sticking to it.

The body you’re in now is the one and only you will ever have. Get to know it; learn to listen to it when it tells you that it’s hungry, tired, or stressed. Take care of it now, before unhealthy habits like stress and lack of sleep take their toll.

Figure out your filing system sooner than later. A few months ago, I bought Just a Girl and Her Blog’s The Paperless Home, and it completely changed the level of preparedness and the stress I felt about adulting for the better. I wish I’d started right when I moved!

Be honest with yourself about what you really want. There’s no need to coat your wishes in language that may make them sound “better” than they really are to others. These dreams are yours, and the only way to reach them is by naming them first.

There are other things, too: I learned to bake bread, salsa dance, sleep better, write a eulogy, love better, and stop taking on other people’s baggage. Those lessons were sometimes hard to learn; growth can be painful. But they were also necessary, and I’m better, and stronger, for them.

Sara Laughed

Hey hey! I'm Sara, an American writer living in the Netherlands and working as a product manager.

  1. S. says:

    Hi Sara!
    I just wanted to tell you that I love your blog and your writing. it’s one of the first things I check in the morning (along with my mail and social media) and it just fills me up with positivity for the day.


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