5 Things I Learned in 2014

In true procrastinator fashion I've prolonged adding new material to Origin. So here we are 2/3 of the way through January and I thought I would share my 5 things I learned in 2014. In my defense the wrap up to my year was explosively transitional. Filled with a myriad of emotions. So three to four weeks was probably needed to sort through it all.

I think it’s important to self-reflect in a positive and healthy way as often as possible. Especially over the course of a year, if we can identify the lessons that’s we’ve learned we can better sculpt the direction we are headed in. In 2014, I turned 25, I hit my first one year anniversary at a job, and I experienced some heartache. Below are the 5 lessons I pulled from my year and hopefully you can find them helpful too.


1.       Health is wealth

Remember when you would eat candy, pizza, and fast food all the time and your parents would say “All that is going to catch up to you one day.” Well entering year 25 I realized they were telling the truth. Eating right and exercising seem to be the new “it” things to do, but health goes far beyond the body. Mental and emotional health are equally important especially in today’s world. Often times we are bombarded with violent imagery, sadistic news, and overall negativity from our social media feeds. Remember to take some time each day and unwind in silence. Whether it’s reading, listening to music, or just taking a walk. Our mind is both powerful and delicate, and we have to treat it as such.

If you find yourself not being able to shake off that negativity, or you often feel sad, lonely, and tired you may be suffering from depression. Never be afraid to seek out professional therapy to work through some of your internal issues, especially after a major crisis or transition in your life. Making that choice can be the difference between life and death. So always be vigilant about your mental health.

Although I glazed over the subject, nutrition is essential to maintaining a healthy body and a happy mind. Eating fruits, vegetables, protein and drinking a large dose of water can give you energy and brighten your mood. Eating clean is something I am starting to research and implement in my life. Cutting out processed foods, carbs, and sugar can not only aid in dramatic weight loss but improve overall health, including reversing and preventing a number of diseases. Diabetes and Alzheimer’s being two of the huge ones that inspired this change for myself.


2.       Take Risk!

Most people don’t like change, especially when things are going well. There is a fine line between content and complacent and most of us slip easily into complacency because of familiarity, routine, and responsibilities. Even with the day to day hustle and bustle keeping us focused on what’s right in front of us, I often find myself day dreaming of extravagant things and places.

We all have dreams, whether it’s going back to school, that great business idea you've written down and haven’t developed, or investing in someone else’s start up, we should never be afraid of taking a leap out of our comfort zone. We should explore new interest, new places, and new opportunity whenever we can. Is money an issue? Museums often times have free admission days, some yoga studios offer classes for free or for donations, and GroupOn and Living Social offer fantastic vacation packages for a shockingly affordable price.  Don’t be afraid to do the research and look into whatever it is your heart is yearning to do. Often times the only thing that is holding us back from achieving the things we desire is taking that first step.


3.       Organize. Organize. Organize.

This is the most challenging task for me going into the New Year, but last year taught me that not only does clearing clutter from your home or office create a more visually appealing space, it also helps calm the mind and streamline our thoughts. It is also a huge preventative step that helps keep situations from going awry. When you take the time to organize your life you switch gears from playing catch up from behind, to being ahead of the curve.  

For myself, the hardest part is deciding where to start, and my best piece of advice is to start small, clean out that draw in your kitchen with all the random papers, pens, and other household clutter. Even if it’s just picking one project per week until everything has its own place. Once everything has its place remember to put things back in their place after using them. Using a planner can also help keep you on track. The most effective thing I did was blend my work calendar and personal calendar together using an app on my phone. This way I know everything that is expected of me in advance. These are habits that take time to build but are certainly worth the reward in the end.

Organization skills can translate over to your finances, your career, and certainly your dreams. Striving for organization, not perfection, is the key to getting things done without expending an excessive amount of energy.  Organization can also be the killer of procrastination which is something we can all afford to get rid of. Time is precious we might as well make the most of it!


4.       There is no one size fits all.

We live in a world of “norms”. The media tells us what’s trendy, what’s beautiful, what to eat, and who to watch. Sometimes what we see and hear every day can manifest into insecurities or excessive spending just to keep up with the ever evolving societal ideas. What we all must remember, is the world is full of diverse people and cultures. There is literally something out there for everyone.

The last year has taught me the importance of shedding judgmental views and accepting people for their differences in culture, religion, career, or something as simple as relationship dynamics. There is no one size fits all for happiness. While morally I can’t put my stamp of approval on every lifestyle that individuals choose to live, I can view it, have my opinion on it, and move forward without letting it disrupt my peace. We should be looking for people who fit our version of happy and should be able to respect others as we too want to be respected. It is fine to live your life however you choose, until your lifestyle starts encroaching on, or hurting others. Decide for yourself what makes you happy and things will naturally fall into place.


5.       Love of/for Self

Finally, this brings me to my last point. Love yourself. This has become a necessary cliché in online media but I think it is a lesson that is relevant for the young and old alike. We get trapped in other people’s happiness and then make it our own. Whether it be our parents, significant other, friends, and even our employer. When we spend a lot of time trying to please others we neglect ourselves and encourage others to neglect us as well. It is important that everyone, men and women, take the time to learn and love themselves.

Spend time with yourself. Take yourself to dinner, an art gallery, a movie, or a day at the spa. Inquire with your family about memories of yourself as a child, write a list of all the things you love about yourself as well as a list of characteristics you would want to improve upon. When we spend as much time nurturing our soul as we do our wallets and our closest. We emerge as selfless beings even more so than before. We know how to give and how to take. We know how to set standards for our self which in turn teaches others how to treat us.

If you find that you are being treated poorly by someone in your life then remove them. Anything that does not serve you to be a happier, healthier, growing, person should be promptly discarded. While all these things listed here are easier said than done, we should be trying our best to move closer to our inner light. We owe it to ourselves to thrive not just survive. Once you establish peace within yourself you can be a beam of inspiration to those around you. 

2015 has revealed itself to be a year of new experiences and abundant opportunities. With the end of 2014 I shed my worries of the unknown and entered the new year with confidence and excitement. Change is the only constant and death is the only promise so we might as well live our life in the most diverse dynamic way possible. Travel, laugh, cry, and splurge (when appropriate). Life is so short and what good are we doing ourselves if we fit neatly inside any one of these boxes that society has laid out for us. Be healthy, be prosperous, and be blessed.


Peace & Love


Jacqueline H.