17 Lessons I Learned in 2017

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"2017" in Fireworks - 17 Lessons I Learned In 2017 - You Need Life Skills

Year-end summary reflections are an awesome way to decide what you’ll continue to do and what you’ll never do again. Taking a step back to see how the year went and where you want to go is an excellent motivating step.

Or depressing. Really, it depends on what you find.

I’m going to dive into the 17 things I learned in 2017. This year, like all years, had highs and lows. But you know what, the aim is to learn from them all.

17 Things I Learned In 2017

1) The end of the year looks nothing like I thought it would. It’s strange and yet kinda cool too. I’m clearly not clairvoyant and cannot see into the future to save my life. Always a humbling and sobering reality.

2) You can love people from afar. That’s still real love. And sometimes healthiest for you both.

This is the picture of my Mum who didn’t want a puppy.

3) This is a year I took a closer look at my friendships and relationships. I’m in my 30’s now and I’ve been blessed to have some of the same friends since I was 4. But not all friendships can stay the same through all the seasons of your life. So this year, I decided to see what I bring to my friendships and what my friendships bring to me. And that’s a damn hard assessment.

A gratuitous picture of Mum looking gorgeous!

4) Coming back home is never coming back to the same place you left. People change, experiences fade, life goes on.

5) Puppies and dogs bring a sense of joy and happiness that is never to be underestimated. They are such uncomplicated loves. Sometimes life doesn’t need to be filled with drama. Just excited puppies and dogs, happy to see you.

When I came back home I allowed Paris (the brown female) and Lyon (the white male) on my bed. My brother has since banned me from doing that. They’re so peaceful in this pic though!

6) My relationship with my mother has changed. We’re not equals, I’m not crazy. But we’re not the same as we were before either. Relationships grow and change and she is the person on the planet who annoys me the fastest but loves me the hardest. I can see now, as an adult, how scared and unprepared adulthood leaves you. I only respect her more nowadays.

My Mommy and Me!

7) Going through hell a few years ago has made me kinder. Much kinder. Since I know how close to the edge I was, I try to remember that people hide their pain all the time. It doesn’t kill me to be kind. I can never guess what struggles people are dealing with.

8) Intimate relationships are complex and personal and lovely and scary. And for me, incredibly private.

9) A Master’s degree is a lovely accomplishment but I’m still the same person I was before. For so long I admired the people who achieved them, thinking they were special unicorns. Naah, nothing magical happens. I’m dumb however and totally think a Doctorate (Ph.D./JSD/SJD/LL.D) is where the special unicorn magic happens. Dr. Jodi has a nice ring to it! I’m tired of school for a while though.

Listening to Professor O’Brien talk about my life and time at the University of Notre Dame at our International Human Rights Law LL.M Graduation Dinner.

10) Going back to school takes a lot out of you. It tests you. But I made it and I’m so proud of the journey, even if some days I took half a step at a time.

11) I’ve met amazing human rights lawyers from all over the world that I can call my friends. It’s pretty freaking crazy that I can sleep on couches all over the world now.

 

A couple of the members of my Human Rights squad! They represent by beds in Guatemala/Costa Rica, Ethiopia, South Korea, Latvia, The Dominican Republic, Canada/Morocco, and Nigeria!

12) My Grandma, my invincible superwoman is getting older. I mean, she’s been old since I met her but I’m starting to feel the weight of her age. It terrifies me. And look, my mother is getting old as well. These women hold up my sky and I can’t even process anything happening to them.

Grandma and Mum on the veranda after Mum came back from a trip. My Grandma sat on that veranda every day waiting for her to come back home. She cried when she saw her.

13) Sometimes home is just the ability to get a fried chicken box lunch with rice and peas and curry gravy. Sometimes that’s really all your soul needs to be ok.

On TVJ’s “All Angles”, a Jamaican television programme, discussing Sexual Harassment.

14) Being on TV is super fun and awesome. I’ve met tons of cool people as a result. Even cooler? People telling my family that they’ve seen me. That’s amazing!

Smiling alongside Gavin Goffeman, a super fancy and smart law firm partner at Myers, Fletcher & Gordon on TVJ’s “All Angles.

15) Having both your eardrums burst on the flight to London is not a fun experience. Having blood leak from your ears is not a fun experience. Having no health insurance in a foreign country is not a fun experience. Being unable to sleep because of the pain is not a fun experience. But going and competing and winning and seeing and doing things in London and Oxford and Cambridge were awesome experiences. So, you have to take the bad with the good.

16) In life, it’s easier to be a bitch and to be justified in being one. Take the high road anyway. Humans are funny about coming around to apologize after all is said and done. That’s a better feeling than the momentary high of cussing them out.

17) I am happy. I am content. I am sad. I am tired. I am depressed. I am . I am joyful. I am in pain. I. Am. Human. I don’t need to pretend otherwise.

Tell me what you learned in 2017! And as always, be kind to yourself, my loves.

5 thoughts on “17 Lessons I Learned in 2017

  1. There is always a unique kind of beauty in vulnerability and I appreciate you sharing it with us.
    I connect so much with a lot of your lessons.

    After gaining my Master’s degree in London, during one of the roughest years of my life, it has been interesting coming to terms with that same feeling of not ‘feeling’ differently, yet appreciating so much of the awesomeness that came from the experience.

    One of the lessons that I have learned in 2017, and will continue to re-learn going forward:
    I cannot do it all on my own, and it’s okay to ask for/accept help. (Maybe that was a lesson.5 lol)

    I wish you all the best with the upcoming new year.

    – Shan

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