It is currently 18 days until I board an international flight for the fifth time in the last year.
The closeness of my next departure, and the fact that it falls so incredibly close to the new year, has me feeling quite reflective on the past year. It was an eventful one, full of firsts, both overseas and at home.
During my initiate year of working abroad as an ESL teacher, I saw and did a great many new things. Some of the experiences were pleasant, many were not. All of them, without exception, were valuable.
Here are the top six lessons I learned from my experiences of 2014
- Regardless of how frustrating prolonged proximity to family can be, there’s nothing quite like coming home. Particularly when the previous circumstances were dangerous and/or harmful.
- Always be watchful. Just because danger isn’t obvious doesn’t mean it isn’t there.
- I am responsible for and to myself only. When other people treat me poorly, they lose the right to my respect and consideration.
- People can like you while simultaneously not give the smallest of damns. They like the idea of you, but will not think twice about disregarding you and your feelings. It is okay to lose these folks’ numbers.
- Just because it isn’t obvious, doing something you aren’t passionate about can help you accomplish and prepare for something that you are.
- A man wanting you and caring for you are two different things. Most people know this intellectually, but it helps to have it reinforced in reality.
Pretty good lessons, all in all. A few deeply rooted preconceptions that I had about myself were shaken and ultimately destroyed. It was a most liberating year.
My hope is to use what I learned in 2014 to focus less on drama. Laugh more. Help people. Help myself. Make the most of what I have when I have it, and know when it’s time to move on.
See you soon, 2015.