20 THINGS I LEARNED IN 2017
1- The only thing I can ever be sure about is God.
2- The people I don’t expect to help me or be important can end up teaching me the most.
3- I can absolutely not stereotype people or fit them into categories based on one quality or attribute.
4- Honesty always, always, always wins. It’s never not the best option.
5- No one is going to take care of me besides me, so I’ve got to do a good job.
6- We are all creative.
7- I can work really, really hard at something and still not succeed or win. And that’s okay.
8- Heartbreaks aren’t only caused by other people. Experiences leave marks on my heart, too.
9- Nostalgia is a dangerous bitch.
10- The people that I really, truly, authentically connect with are few and far between.
11- The most compassionate people set the most boundaries for themselves.
12- There will always be people that try to bring me down, whether they intend to or not.
13- There are some really freaking cool Uber drivers out there (+ it IS possible to get the same driver twice in the same day).
14- Nothing ever stays the same.
15- I can hear things and know things about life, but I won’t fully understand until I experience them for myself.
16- Forgiving people is hard but tremendously worth it.
17- When I’m living my most authentic life, it’s going to look different than most people around me. And that’s okay.
18- I am not too young to make a difference or do something impactful.
29- I always have to stay true to myself.
20- There’s never a reason not to treat someone with kindness.
I know I’m a bit late on this whole New Year’s post… It took me a little longer to think about 2017 and reflect on what I want to work on in the next year. Some items on that list might sound obvious, and you could find yourself thinking, “Wow, Anna Rose! Did you finish first grade this year? That stuff is common sense!!” And I’ll admit, I had heard of most of those things ideas before, too. But for every single part of this list, I can point to a specific event, conversation, or day that taught me those lessons on a whole new level. This was a big year. Maybe one of the biggest. There were major milestones—graduation, state tennis, college—and there were people that showed me just who I want to be, who showed me how to love with all I’ve got, and who I now know I want to be in my life forever. And for those days—as hard as some of them might have been—and those people—as heartbreaking or overwhelming as our experiences may have been—I am grateful.
I know I’ve said it before, but I think putting so much pressure on New Year’s Eve to change and reflect makes it hard to do that at any other time of the year. There is always time to step back and reflect on how you’re doing, where you’re going, and if you like the person you’re being in that process. One of my favorite quotes I saw on Instagram around New Year’s Eve / Day is from Derek Hough (the king of all kings *heart eye emoji*): “Don’t think about WHAT needs to be done. Think about WHO YOU NEED TO BE in order to get it done.”
I. LOVE. THAT. YES DEREK!!!!! I often find myself getting so caught up in how many things I need to get done or what I need to accomplish, and I leave the “who I need to be” stuff for the end. This especially happens when I’m busy, stressed, or hustling to prove my worth to other people. At the end of the day, no matter what I get done, what I accomplish, or what other people think of me, I am enough. And I need to work from the inside out—doing everything with a kind heart (which is the quality I strive for the hardest and admire the most in others).
One day in 2017, I made a list of all the things I did that day that made me happy or expressed self love. I wrote “Today, I…” at the top of a blank page in my sketchbook and bulleted enough points to fill the entire page. To an outside observer, it would appear as if I had the best day that a girl could possibly dream of having on a random Tuesday. I looked over the list and realized how many things I had written down but how little of myself I had put into each event / moment. In a disappointed rage, I scribbled in all caps: “IF LOVE ISN’T AT THE TOP OF THIS LIST, WHAT DID I REALLY DO?” That became a mantra for me. To put love first. Always.
Here’s to loving more in 2018. And boy, am I happy it’s 2018—I love when the year ends in an even number. 🙂 xx