2017 Life Lessons

So, with 2017 wrapping up, I think it’s time I reflect back on the year.

I felt like 2017 was a chance for things to get better because 2016 was a tough one for me. There were once again a great many things that I learned to help me mature as a person.

This year has had its ups and downs, and in the beginning everything was going well, and towards the end, things got really bad before they got better. What can I say, life is a rollercoaster. Alright, so here are the lessons I learned this year.

You listen to Rafiki, he knows what’s right (R.I.P Robert Guillaume, I need to watch The Lion King again)

1. What matters is what did happen, not what didn’t

It is no secret that Lordi was the highlight event of the 2017; something I waited 5 years to happen and believed it never would due to the lack of demand the band had outside of Europe, and their financial situation, but then, miraculously I learned in the summer of last year that they would be coming and that my dream was going to come true.
It was the happiest moment of my life as I stood against the railing with my eyes glued to Mr. Lordi the whole night through. I felt like everything in my mind of how the night was going to go, was planned but when it came time to meet the band, I ended up being too starstruck and in the moment to say anything other than a couple of words and forgot to ask my idol for a hug. Yes, I’ve told this story many times, and in the aftermath I felt a tiny bit of regret that I was too overjoyed that my mind went blank. However, once I found out I was not alone, those feelings diminished and my friends helped me realize the most important thing:
What mattered was that my dream came true that night. I should focus on what did happen that night, not what should have happened. Not everything will go as planned. We can get so caught up in the moment with our emotions that things we have planned in our head to say or do, we forget them. It’s normal in any situation, whether you’re starstruck or feeling a different way. I’ll remember that night forever, and hopefully I will get that monstrous hug I desire if there is a next time!
2. Never be afraid to consult with others before you make a big decision

I consider myself a very independent woman, but that doesn’t mean I should make decisions on my own without the input of others every time. I usually hate getting that input because I feel like theirs is going to be against the choice I’m thinking of making.
For instance, if you were to get a tattoo, you’d probably go around asking friends or family what they think since it’s permanent. (I’ll never understand why it has to cost more to have it removed) In April, I was still learning how to use my desktop computer that my brother gave me after he built a more advanced one for himself. I wanted to transfer some stuff from the SSD to the hard drive to save space for gaming. Things got messy and I made a dumb decision without anyone’s input to do a system restore.
Then, as a result, my computer wouldn’t update for some reason. I thought something was wrong with it and every time something is wrong with my computer, I get anxious and bug everyone. I ended up getting the thing wiped and had to reinstall everything. That was when I discovered my computer didn’t need to be wiped to update. It wouldn’t update because when I was transferring files between the drives, my computer could only update if downloads were set to my SSD by default, and I had forgotten to make the switch back! 
I wasted all that time and energy trying to fix something that I thought was big when it was small. If I wanted to transfer files, I should have asked my brother for advice on how to do so before doing it. I only know the basics of computers, but I would like to learn more so that one day when my computer dies, I want to be able to build a newer more powerful desktop that I can play video games on. We may think we can solve problems on our own, but sometimes, it’s better to ask for help if you’re unsure.

3. Watch your budget!

2017 was supposed to be the year where I would improve at managing my money. If I am to live independently someday, I would like to start learning those skills now. So far, I did pretty good: if there was something I wanted to buy, I would have to ask myself how badly do I want it to pay that price, is there an alternative, and do I need it right now? The last question is important because if you’re on a budget, you might have to wait until next month to buy that item to stick to that budget.
On my birthday, I like to buy something for myself and had no idea what I wanted until my mom and I went shopping weeks later. I went onto eBay and discovered two high quality G1 Transformers figures of Megatron and Optimus. I felt temptation building fast despite the high cost of them both; however, the Megatron one was more expensive than the Optimus one. When I couldn’t resist any longer, I hit the order button and that was when I forgot about what my personal budget was.
A few hours later I realized I didn’t want those figures as much as I thought I did. So, I logged into my bank account to check my credit card transactions, and knew I was making the right choice when I saw the total cost. It was WAY over my budget and I would have been broke once the bill came. I immediately contacted the seller (who lived in Japan) to cancel my order. Then, I checked one last time before going to bed, and received two emails. The first had my panicked because it said the order had shipped (which was an automatic reply and the items never got picked up), but when I read the other one, it said the seller had cancelled and refunded my order. I was so relieved.

Some say, I could have learned this the hard way, but I got lucky that time. From now on I try my hardest to stick to this budget and once I have a job I could adjust it.

4. Choose loyalty programs wisely

Fellow shoppers can understand this feeling. I’ve lost track of how many loyalty programs I am a member of. The very first one I recall signing up for was Shoppers Optimum when I had my first job at one of their stores. Then there was Sephora’s Beauty Insider, Nuclear Blast, Napalm, etc.

It was Sephora’s that had me hooked because of their programs ability to grant you a status based on how much you spent per calendar year. You get suckered into having that status, even if you don’t use any of the benefits that come with it.

I was guilty of splurging on Fenty Beauty products that bumped me to VIB Rouge by October this year. The only thing I could see myself benefiting from that status was free custom makeovers (although I highly doubt I would use that because I prefer to do my makeup myself), and occasionally exclusive sales. But yeah, I just wanted that status because it made me feel special. There was really nothing to it other than that. Plus, was I really willing to spent a thousand dollars a year to keep it? Probably not.

The points you would earn could just be spent to give you more….. well …… stuff.

It is likely by the end of 2018 I will lose my Rouge status. I look back and realize that the Optimum program was way more beneficial. You could use your points to take a chunk of the total price off of your stuff in the cart so some of the things you bought would end up being free and you would save money.

Please, take a good look at all the loyalty programs you are a member of, and ask yourself, what is worth it? Ones that can give you more stuff you may or may not like, or ones that can lead you to discounts or no charge of the stuff that you already use and love? That is what caused me to break my Sephora addiction to only shop there unless the item I want is an exclusive, and this time it worked.

6. Learn to understand other people’s motives

I wrote last year about how I was starting to learn to stop worrying about what other people do with their lives. I know that’s a challenge for parents to understand why their kids choose to do what they do.

Now, if your kid started doing drugs, then yeah it’s kind of impossible to understand that because of the dangers it presents. But then again, I’m heading into the pharmacy field with a strong opposition to recreational drugs.

But other than that, I try to understand my friends: why are some of them going out to do things on their own? Why do they feel the need to excessively build an online following? Sometimes we are able to learn why, or sometimes we will not understand. The reality is that everyone has different needs. I use this example too often but I’ve never been able to understood why some fans feel the need to own every piece of merchandise of something I love, but those people may not understand why I only pick the things I want the most. We also all have different values, and it’s a good idea to ask that person if you can’t understand them.

A few days ago I asked someone in a ME/DA Facebook group why they always felt like they wanted to play as a human character and they simply said because we are human ourselves and it comes out naturally. Not everyone has the level of imagination to picture themselves as a different race, or in a relationship with a character of a different race in a fantasy world and that’s okay. Everyone is different. What matters is that we should respect others if we want to be respected.

7. If things look real bad, just remember it’ll all work out in the end

I learned this lesson the hard way: When the faculty across the province went on strike for five weeks, I felt hopeless as hell. It was like my career and future was being dragged away from me.
Like many others, nobody likes it when a situation gets in the way that you cannot control. I am passionate about my studies and I want to have a successful career. During the first week of the strike I felt angry and couldn’t stop crying. I didn’t want time off from my studies that I didn’t ask for. I became obsessed with monitoring the news for any sign of hope and searching Twitter for fellow students who were equally frustrated and venting with them.
I was enraged that both sides were not talking and I was enraged that the union wanted their employees to reject the offer when the employer wanted them to vote, but overall, it was an outrage that myself and half a million other students were being used as pawns just so the faculty could get more pay, benefits, and “academic freedom”. 
The logical side of me tried to understand why this was happening. If I was in their shoes, I’d certainly like a better pay and job security too; however there’s an argument that job security rarely exists today. But, by the third week, I had had enough; I was running out of work to do to get ahead in class and just wanted to go back. After the offer was rejected, it shattered my heart like I really was a pawn to them after all and not a person. Then the government stepped in hours later. It’s great that they did, but at the same time it was unacceptable that they didn’t do anything until five weeks later. I normally don’t like to get political here, but we are not going to forget this come next election.
In spite of all that I endured, I still managed to thrive. It wasn’t easy to keep my hopes up. In all my life, I’ve never had my anxiety get this worse ever. From now on, I won’t anyone’s ability to use you as a pawn, even if you can’t do anything about it. But, the most important lesson I learned from this was to remember that things always work through it in the end. Like the time Garrus comforted me on the Normandy after the battle of Thessia he said: “We’ll get through this, we always do,” because no horrible thing like this will last forever.

And those are the things I learned this year, and 2018 I feel will be the time I turn the page in my life soon, and it’s scary. However, I can either look at it like that, or find a positive side to it. Whatever happens, I hope to learn something.

If I don’t get a chance to publish anything else before the end of Sunday, then Happy New Year everyone, I’ll be spending New Year’s Eve comfortably at home like I prefer it, and I’ll work on my Trespasser DLC article while at it.


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