Saturday, January 4, 2020

5 things I learned in 2019

Happy New Year!

Firstly, I want to wish everyone the absolute best this year, I hope you had or will have peaceful holidays (no time nor energy for nosy aunts and uncles), and I hope you all accomplish great things!

Instead of making a list of things I wish to achieve in 2020 (that I most probably won't because the social pressure of having resolutions for 2020 is just too much to handle since everyone is hyping it up, ya know new decade and stuff) I decided to pay homage to 2019 and acknowledge the 5 things I learned during one of the best years of my life. Yeah, I know, unpopular opinion - 2019 didn't suck for me personally. I hope that statement doesn't jinx 2020 for me though. And on this positive note (to be read with a sarcastic tone), I leave you off with a list that just might inspire you for this year!

Photos: Angela Petrovska

1. You're more independent than you think 

There's nothing sweeter than the taste of independence and I think there's not a single person who would disagree with me. Yeah, maybe returning home after a whole day of work/uni to an empty fridge because you accidentally forgot that you needed to go grocery shopping might be a little discouraging (by the specificity of this situation you might guess I've been there) but the beauty of not having to answer to anybody but yourself is just incomparable. During my exchange, I did a lot of things for the first time: I cooked full-blown meals (pasta doesn't count), navigated a new city by metro, buses and trains, did my own laundry (yes, I had never done it before that), I screwed up and then had to take care of things on my own because I didn't want to worry my parents, and many other situations that I can write a whole dissertation on. My point is: even though you might be in a situation where you feel like you can't do something, chances are you can.

2. Doing things on your own is equally as important as doing things with friends

I had a lot of time to myself this year, and honestly, I loved every second of it. For the first time, I had the balls to sit by myself in a cafe and just enjoy the moment or go to an event just because I was feeling like it and not have it be conditioned by whether I had company or not. I valued every moment I had spent with my friends, but I learned to value those that I had with myself too. The social stigma about doing things on your own is out of the window for me, and I hope you feel the same way too.

3. Supporting local small businesses brings joy

In these past two years or so I've seen a big wave of creatives opening their own shops and businesses and using their talent as something to live off of.
Therefore, I:
1) admire them deeply
2) want to support them
3) feel *extra* special when I own a handmade piece
4) contribute to the "slow movement"
This post is a collaboration with a dear friend of mine, who recently opened a shop specializing in sterling silver customizable jewellery. The necklace that you've been seeing so far in these photos is made by Coral Jewelry, and I honestly haven't taken it off since I got it. I'm a big fan of dainty jewellery so it's more than obvious why I was in love with this circular design. With our planet being in the state that it is, smart consumerism and ethical buying should always come first to mind when you're debating whether a piece of clothing, jewellery etc is "worth it". Remember, you're not just buying something, you're supporting a person. I want to dedicate more space on my blog regarding this topic, so let me know what you would be interested in reading about!

4. Stop undermining your own capabilities 

In 2019 I tried a bunch of new things, one of them being photography. It was a year of trial and error and learning by practice and feedback. But, to my surprise, the feedback that I got was mostly positive. And I'm not saying this to show off but rather to prove a point, which is that I never truly felt like I deserved that positive feedback. "Oh, people are just being nice" is how I brushed off every comment I got, and always nitpicked at the smallest details about what I could have done to make the photo better. And I know that this is (probably) how every photographer looks at their own photos but having been on the other side aka the viewer (oblivious to the process behind that one posted photo) I know that when I see a photo that I like I only see how beautiful it is rather than the imperfections, and immediately admire and praise the person who took it. So, why can't I see the photos that I take with those eyes too? And this goes for other things too, for example, my writing, or my social skills. I always considered myself an awkward, shy person, yet I managed to make so many new friends this year. So, somewhere along the way, I changed my viewpoint and gave myself credit where credit was due. This not only made me approach things more confidently but also gave me the push to try new "out of my comfort zone" things as well.

5. Stop giving importance to unimportant things 

If you were to ask me three or four years ago if I cared about what other people think, my answer would be a definite and hard Yes. Now, I'm at 90% not giving a f*ck about other people's opinions about me or anything that I do. It was a long journey, that's for sure, but I don't think I can pinpoint the exact moment where I started to care less. I think that over time, as I grew older and started to put bigger things into perspective - the world doesn't revolve around me, or you! I know, shocker! - I realized that some things I cannot control and therefore I shouldn't spend energy obsessing over or trying to correct. And this is one of the biggest life advice I can give - Stop giving importance to unimportant things.

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