2015: 10 Big Fat Learnings
2015 was a big year for me. I moved from Scotland back to Toronto then to San Francisco. I had three places to call home in 365 days. I lived with 13 different people and switched houses five times. I moved offices and I switched desks six times.
And I’VE LEARNED THINGS! What have I learned?
1. Friend groups whittle down but you are left with the creme de la creme.
I moved around so much in 2015 and ended up with friends that I can call wherever I am at whatever time (sorry for those hysterical 2am calls, you know who you are). These are people who make me feel like you’re right there with them and make it feel like you are coming home whenever you see them.
2. Things don’t come unless you ask for them.
This applies to so many things — networking, housing, friends, dates, mentors, raises or learning opportunities. It can sometimes seem easier to go “maybe I don’t need or deserve this thing anyway” than go “I AM WORTH THIS, CAN I HAVE THIS?” but you’ll always feel better that at least you tried. My girlfriends back home and I bonded about this during my visit in November. We talked about how we were all guilty of devaluing ourselves rather than noticing our worth and asking for things. Realizing this was huge, and it helps that these gals are all incredibly motivating to be around.
3. It’s so much better to cry with friends.
I cried like a baby in 2015. I cried from laughter, happiness, sadness, frustration and heartbreak. I cried when babies yawned, when I saw Mulan at Disneyland, when my loved ones cried and when work got hard. And it always seemed to be better when I was crying with friends. Honestly, it’s nice to wipe your tears and laugh about it with someone you love and know that you’re all feeling the same way. If you ever need someone to cry with, I’m your gal.
4. Pay it forward.
MOVING IS SCARY! A NEW JOB IS SCARY! My love, Shereen, saved me time and time again by letting me stay with her and giving me everything I needed to get set up in this city. A part of me would probably have been more closed off to helping other people get settled into this city in the future if it weren’t for her. I love this girl for showing me how important it is to do something for others with zero expectation for a return.
5. There’s never a right time.
My wise roommate, Ananya, once told me that she doesn’t believe there’s a “right time” for something. She told me that instances like two people meeting in their lifetimes are rare, and that if one waits for a “right time” it may no longer be the right time for the other. Basically — carpe diem and forget what society has to say. Go get that job you’ve always wanted or go tell that person you love that you love them. You do you!
6. Self care, self care, self care.
3 months into moving here, I realized that I had not been dedicating enough time to taking care of myself. One of my best friends, Vicky, and I gush over this video of Oprah speaking at Stanford. As Oprah put it during this interview: “You don’t have anything to give that you don’t have, so you have to keep your own self full.” Which brings me to the next point…
7. Prioritization is a thing.
Everything I wanted to do to keep myself “full” was simply a choice with how I spent my time. I’m learning to swap things that are important to me for the things that aren’t, and devoting time to taking care of myself.
8. Tell everyone you love that you love them.
“I love you” sounds like SUCH A BIG DEAL. I had blurted that out to my love, Andy, before having a sporadic freak-out upon realizing what I’d said. He looked at me and laughed, and asked me why it was such a big deal. He explained that telling someone you love them doesn’t have to mean The Notebook movie-esque love, but simply a “I love that you are in my life,” and why can’t we tell everyone that if it’s true?
9. You are not just your weight.
Oh my god. Weight gain. Hysteria. Mindy Kaling has this hilarious excerpt in her new book on her own body image, and how at the end of the day it’s simply too miserable to watch what she eats.
She also talks about how her time could be so much better spent on actual and important things! That’s how I’m feeling now after much struggle with body image. I am happy and healthy, and every added pound is like a new friend for me. This is a new revelation for me. Ask anyone who knew me even two months ago.
“Hello 3 pounds! It’s nice to meet you, I’m Jane. We’re going to be real close.”
10. If you’re gonna be there, really be there.
One thing I love about the people in my life is that when I’m with them, I’m with all of them. They leave their phones in their bags, listen for the sake of listening (rather than to speak) and give you their undivided attention. They make time to Skype despite whatever time difference (my dear friend, Christopher, lives in Frankfurt and we still manage to catch up often), come through on their promises, and say how they really feel. For example, my roommates and I are rarely all home at the same time but when we are, we’ll spend hours catching up with our laptops shut and phones off so we’re all 100% there.
All of these incredible people I’ve had in 2015 are completely aspirational people and make me want to be such a better person. Thank you to my girlfriends back home, my match-made-in-heaven roommates, my partners-in-crime at work, my squad who come to karaoke when my father invites them, my fam and my San Francisco bae for making this year unreal.