Lessons of 2013

This year has been a lot of things for me. I’ve had big moments like graduating college and getting (and quitting) my first job. But in the year that I thought would be nothing but big, it’s the little things, the little changes that really stood out.

Throughout the year, especially the last few months, I’ve been making a conscious effort to see myself from a third person point of view. This isn’t out of a need for other people’s approval or attention – thankfully, I’m well passed that phase. It’s more of, if I were meeting me for the first time or if I were sitting beside me in the bus, will I like myself? Because sometimes I get the feeling that I might be confusing who I really am with who I want or imagine myself to be, if that makes any sense. So I started this habit of trying to look at myself from a stranger’s perspective. And in doing so, I’ve come to realize a few things about me that needed some fixing:

1. My phone needed to be inside my purse or pocket more often.

Some time in August, I was having dinner with my family at a restaurant when I put my phone down, looked around and saw something I’ve always been seeing but never really truly seen – families, couples, friends and acquaintances all glued to their iPhones and iPads, completely ignoring/avoiding/taking for granted all opportunities for conversation. Even my own family. I was so affected by it is because I knew I was part of this “movement” and that it was my first time being on the outside looking in. And boy, did it look painfully awkward, childish and narcissistic. At that moment, I was compelled to change. I didn’t want to be the kind of person who would rather text someone far away than talk to the one who’s sitting next to them, nor the kind of person who would allow her food to get cold for the sake of Candy Crush. I didn’t want to be someone who would choose social media over real-life social interaction, someone who would tweet what she’s doing instead of, you know, actually doing it.

So now, I leave my phone in the room whenever I eat at home and in my pocket whenever I eat out. The phone is also kept inside my bag during church service, work hours and everything else that needs more listening and working than texting and tapping.

2. My Bible needed some love. Or rather, I needed some love from the Bible.

It’s been a very long time since I last read my Bible on a daily basis. I can’t say exactly how long except that it had already collected dust by the time I picked it off the shelf and read it again which was about two weeks ago. This one isn’t caused by some sudden realization or epiphany. My mom asked me straight up if I had been reading my Bible. She used to ask me that question last year and my answer used to be yes (and when I say yes, I mean sometimes if not rarely). But this time, I couldn’t even say rarely without my conscience telling me it’s a lie. I don’t even know why I stopped reading in the first place.

But I do know why it’s so easy for me to forget the Bible. I’m so used to telling God this and asking God for that, that I forget He also wishes to tell me things and that the Bible happens to be one of His ways of doing just that. So now, I’m doing both.

3. Careless words in the past will always haunt you in the future.

They might not bite you in the ass but they will always be there, lingering. I know that now. Last week, a guy who tried and failed to date me back in high school asked me if we could talk. We haven’t had a real conversation since high school ended five years ago. So when he suddenly reappeared and wanted to chat, instead of feeling excited or amused, I felt apprehensive and extremely paranoid because I distinctly remember telling a friend in college, who was a friend of a friend of his, how creepy and weird he was after I told him I just wanted to be friends. In my defense, he really was creepy and weird. (He went on a hunger strike and told everyone that I caused his ulcer.) In his defense, it was in high school and he already apologized for all those things.

Turns out he was having relationship troubles and, for some reason, he thought I was the right person to ask advice from. Relieved as I was, I couldn’t shake off the feeling of guilt for gossiping about him. Since then, I’ve begun to check myself whenever I talk about people.

 

There we go. That’s pretty good for someone who thought she had everything set, right? Here’s to more pages turned, bridges burned (the bad ones) and lessons learned in 2014.

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