5 Life Lessons I Learned in 2018
Have you ever felt like your year had kicked you down and broken you like in the final tournament of Karate Kid? Where you just wanted to give up and give in because you literally just can’t do anymore? But then suddenly something happens and you get the confidence to get back out there and kick some ass (sorry mom :p)? Well that was this year for me.
Which Karate Kid fan are you?
I feel like the life lessons I learned in 2018 posts have been done to death at this point, especially as it’s already January 2nd lol. But I do feel it’s important to welcome in a fresh new year and look back at the last. Really reflecting on the past year.
So Happy New Year 2019!
I am so glad you are here! The second half of 2017 and all of 2018 have been extremely trying and I’m ready to move on to new adventures and opportunities!
But 2019 is going to be different.
I feel it in my bones. There are so many possibilities for this year and I’m excited to see what happens. I can’t reveal yet what is coming because nothing is confirmed, and we’re waiting on a few things to fall in place. But I can tell you big changes and opportunities are on the horizon and I refuse to let recent setbacks deter us from them. Maybe I’m too stubborn to see what’s good for me, but I prefer to see it as faith and hope, with a sprinkle of love ;p.
So I hope this time next year I’ll be able to look back and say ‘We did it!’, but if not, I’ll at least be able to say here’s what I learned… and maybe my lessons will be helpful to you too.
And that’s what I’d like to look at today. Lessons from 2018.. and 2017 lol. I look at the last year and a half as one big blur of craziness.
4 Lessons from this past year…
1) Parenting is a never ending game of luck… mixed with strategy.
There are times as a parent you feel like you just slayed the lastest dragon and other times you feel the dragon slayed you. And retraining your brain to respond to whining and tantrums is not for the feint of heart. But I wouldn’t take the connection I have with my son for anything and I know he trusts me and knows he can come to me when he is struggling. And that makes it worth it.
But of course things can change in an instant and what worked one day, or even one hour, may not work the next. So you have to have stamina and patience, which as we know isn’t always easy when it seems they know every button to push to make us go crazy town.
2) Adult relationships are even harder…
They’re supposed to be easier I thought?! But nope, at least with kids you know they are still developing their brains, adults… yeah. But I’m learning to stand up for myself and to speak to people instead of assuming. Generally, I would assume someone was upset with me if they stopped really talking to me, but turns out we both thought the same lol.
And marriage… That’s the hardest of all.
3) Hardships WILL Happen… What are you going to learn from it?
I think by this time in my life I’ve realized that no year is going to be pain free. I mean don’t get me wrong, it’d be nice to have one year of fun, relaxation, and easy-living. But I don’t think that happens to anyone in the real world… and if it does please give me your number so you can tell me your secrets. No, really, I’ll pay!
Anyway, the point is this. If we’re going to go through set backs, then we need to start looking at them differently. We need to start looking at them as opportunities to grow and learn from them. If we don’t we’re just going to become mired in this bog of disappointment, fear, and anxiety and it will just keep getting deeper and deeper anytime something even remotely difficult comes along.
That isn’t to say you can’t feel those things when things happen. I mean if you don’t get the air sucked out of you when being forced to leave your home and you have no savings built up to do so, then you may need your heart checked out to make sure it’s still beating! But seriously, we all will feel some kind of fear or sadness, or insert emotion here and just like we tell our kids, it’s ok to feel that way. It’s how you move forward that counts!
So here are my 5 steps for moving through the pain of hardships…
1) Have a mini- freak out-
Yeah I realize this probably won’t be in any self-help book, but hey, I know myself. I know I my brain is going to go into this ‘Holy crap what am I going to do mode?!’ first. So I’m embracing it, but giving myself a limit. Honestly, the limit at this point is arbitrary because it really depends on what the circumstances are. Even the time of day I learn of something is going to affect this number, but let’s say 30 minutes.
2) Identify the feelings and the sources-
Totally stealing this from all the parenting books and using it on myself. It really does help to be that blunt with myself and say ‘Ok, I’m terrified that I won’t be able to feed my family this month because of x,y,z….’. Giving it a name and knowing the source gives you some control back. And if you’re anything like me you need to feel some kind of control over a situation in order to regroup. So even if you have no control over the outcome, like when your child is ill, you at least have control of this.
3) Take a step back-
Usually, when I hit a hardship I hit step 1 and then spiral out of control, feeling as if my whole world is spinning and I’m Bill and Jo from Twister hanging on only by a little belt and some rusty pipes. Now I’m trying to be more mindful and once I’ve identified what I’m feeling and why, I take a step back and assess the situation. I look at how it’s going to affect us right now and what we can do to negate the affects. I also remind myself that no one is dead… this sometimes helps, sometimes not… Just being real.
It’s important to take this step and see where you might have gone wrong. What happened to lead you to this situation. Sometimes though, there is nothing you or anyone did. For instance, a miscarriage, a death, or a serious illness. Unless you were driving drunk and killed someone, there was NOTHING you did or could have done. So this step would not be for you. This is more for those going through financial, career, or relationship hardships.
Don’t let this lead you back in step one though. Be intentional with it. Don’t call you or other’s names, don’t drag yourself down, just find a cause if there is one.
5) Learn and fix-
Once you know how you got in this position, the why, then you can learn from it, fix what you need, and move on. For example, when we went through financial troubles the first part of the year I didn’t follow these 5 steps and 2 months later we were back in hot water. We never looked at the root of the problem and ended up just bandaging it instead of actually working on fixing it. The second time it happened though I went through these steps and even with my husband losing his job in December we haven’t had a financial crisis like that again. Because I found the problem, came up with a plan (budget that included an emergency fund), and implemented it, adjusting when necessary.
4) Joy is found in the simple moments.
Joy isn’t found in the big grand vacations or the coolest gadgets. But in the simple moments. Like when a friend brings you a cookie just because. Or when your child giggles when you make the ‘boop’ sound while pressing their nose. And especially in the moments when a child figures something out… especially if they have tried for a long time.
It’s important to slow down and take those in whenever possible. To give an extra squeeze during a hug, to put down the phone when your child or spouse wants to talk or play. To try and laugh with each other as much as possible. Because it will be these memories that hold you through all those hard times.
5) You only fail if you give up for good.
If you’ve been on my email list since before this school year started, you’ll know I had BIG plans and I fully intended to email every week and post 3x a week with videos too! I figured I had almost 4 hours of public transport a day that I could do things with and so had plenty of time. Until the first week back when I almost threw up all over the bus and realized podcasts and audiobooks were about as much as I could do in those hours lol.
Then the pressures and craziness of this school year set in and I kept putting things off until I felt like I couldn’t start again. That I should just give up now because it had been so long already. I was a failure… until I realized I wasn’t. I just needed to start.
So even though it looked as if I had given up, and it would have been easy to keep that up, I couldn’t. I want you to have deeper connections with your kids and to live a crazy cool life… even when it’s also insanely difficult… so I can’t give up. So even though I may not be able to keep that schedule right now, I can still post.