Lessons Learned in 2016

As we close out this year, I would like to share some of the wisdoms I’ve gained this year. Let’s start off by saying that this year was one of the most challenging and one of the most rewarding years yet – I got to be where I wanted to be for 1/4 of the year – I’ve went through a lot, learned a lot, worked a lot and vacationed a lot. And who can forget the friends I’ve made along the way through work and travel.

2016 was a year where I found my values.

2016 was a year where I learned to say “fuck you” and directed that fuck you both professionally and personally.

2016 was the year I learned to let go of a lot of things and in doing so I was  able to gain a new perspective on life.

And now without further ado, let me list some of those things I’ve learned this year.

Know yourself and your value

Who is that person looking back at you in the mirror day in day out? What is that person about? Who are you? How are you self defined? Is it by your beliefs, your passions, your plans for the future?

Are you self defined or are you defined by others?

This, I found was crucial. Because if you don’t have a strong sense of “self”, you’d more likely be “okay” with everything and that includes yourself, the people you surround yourself with, your situation, your job and it goes on.

If you don’t have a strong sense of “self” knowledge, you’re also more likely to get told what to do – and for what? A manager who outright screams in your face that you should do certain things because she’s ‘paying’ you? You don’t deserve that kind of abuse. Lesson learned.

Say “No” to things more often

Please, please please, hear me out. 2016 was the year where I went through some pretty significant professional and personal changes. I’ve learned to never take on projects that didn’t interest me in the first place, and or only for the money.

I’ll tell you a story – I was fired this year by a company (whom by the way, did it in a very underhanded way. I still have no idea if I’m going to be paid in full by them, but if they dare not to. I’ll see them in court.) but the point is, after I had known I would be replaced I reached out to some of my friends and past contacts. They were kind enough to introduce me to new companies that paid a lot more, with better people, and company culture.

So, my firing ended up me making up more money in the end. It was a blessing in disguise.

Not only that, but afterwards, I realized that the company I had been fired from mistreated me and I should’ve never allowed that to happen in the first place.

I should’ve been bold and knew my own value from the beginning and got out of there sooner rather than later. Lesson learned.

Always have a plan

Why did you pay “X” amount to go back to school again?

Because, the school offers a foot in the door to the industry I want to switch into.

Because, I also realize that while I made “peace” with my city now I still don’t like it one bit and I’m by no means reckless enough to pack-up and move to Europe, which by the way has its own problems that can take up 20 posts by themselves, but in short – I realized how expensive it is to live well in the city of my choice in Europe and I know myself too much, and know what I’m after to know that I’ll be okay with mediocre.

I’m playing the long game here. (See #1, know yourself).

Make yourself uncomfortable through action

Get out your comfort zone, take risks…blah blah blah.

As if you’re actually gonna absorb those wise motivational stories and take everything in – no you probably won’t, you probably hit x on the browser and continue on with your day. So try this instead, wake up at 5AM, get up and start your day.

When it’s freezing outside, go out anyways for a run.

Or, like me, work 60+ hours with some 12+ hours added on commute time a week just to see for yourself how much you hate it.

And still, what’s your excuse not to change?


What for?

You’ll be dead in 70 years time if you’re lucky.

Just how many people passed away in 2016?

And here you are, still breathing, still in one piece.

Scared still? You should be, because every time you waste time and be defined by others instead of yourself – every time you go for something just for monetary reward rather than staying true to yourself – you are wasting your own time, killing yourself.

That’s my wrap up for 2016.

2017, I’m ready for you.


Why you should consider routine

December 19th – my day off, I woke up at a reasonably late time to my phone flashing. Upon unlocking my phone I found a series of messages waiting – messages from work, emails, messages from friends sharing the latest headline that’d just came out from Ankara and Berlin.

Bad news, VERY bad news.

For the next few hours, I was immersed in the story.

Even though it had been my day off and I had other things I’d wanted to do. More friends message me to talk to me about issues – some I cared about – others I absolutely did not.

But this is necessary – or is it?

The thing is, the world, your life, is unpredictable.

In fact, things are never predictable and that’s why you wake up every morning not knowing how your day was gonna go.

The other day, I saw a guy I knew from a few years back. This guy had cheated me out of money before – but when I saw him I was unprepared and surprisingly, I didn’t care anymore. Since so much has changed for me in the short amount of time – however, for him it seemed like he was still the same.

I pitied him.

One day you’re working for one company the next day you don’t.

That’s just how things are nowadays – or so I’d come to observe.

Same with relationships – one day you’re in, another you’re out.

One day you’re madly infatuated – and the next you find out about the other person’s political affiliation and suddenly everything is toppled like a house of cards.

I guess you could say I’m stoic.

Or at least trying my hardest to have a consistent inner narrative in a world that’s just filled with noise upon more noise.

The more I experience, the less I am truly affected ultra highs and ultra lows – but to be not affected takes effort and practice.

I still worry and think about stupid things like how the next two weeks of work will be hell – but that’s my desperately needed tuition money – I want to sleep, but I don’t want to wake up just to goto work (which feels like a robbery of my time).

There has to be a balance – a compromise – what if I can schedule in a couple of hours where I’m just consciously doing nothing but what I want to do – then I’ll go to work? Would that work? What if I made a habit of 2 hours in the morning and 2 hours in the evening to not rush through things but just do what I wanted – would that work? I have no idea – but maybe that’s what I can tell myself now so I can go to bed and finally fall asleep.

Why I’m so unhappy with myself.

I am where I was last year and this is not okay.

Even though I’ve learned to care less and less about the things that bug me. I realized that I haven’t taken the “jump”. I haven’t pushed myself towards the path that I wanted to take and that explains – where I am currently in my life.

I’m working too much again (I realize that) and doing none of the things I love (I also realize this). The combination of the two manifests in terrifying ways:

My sleep is compromised.
I have no time for myself.
I have no time for my health.
My memory is off.
My days pass in a haze.
And my performance at work is lackluster at best…

And that’s just the things I notice…I’m sure there are other things that are reflected back as well, but I’m just too exhausted to take them into account.

I am shutting off internally because my mind can’t justify what my body is doing.

How people do this for long term is beyond me.

How anyone put their head down and say – okay, I’m going to do this for the next 40 years until I retire is way BEYOND me.

But should I be thankful as well? That I’m making “good” money. That I even have a “job” to begin with – though it doesn’t mean much to me at this point since I’m so tired I’ll just take whatever I can get – money is money, especially if I have to pay for tuition again.

But then, there’s a fine balance of things at work here – even if I work my ass off like this – with so much of my personal integrity at stake – this is not a longterm solution. I had found a receipt from a couple of years ago a few days back and I saw how much I was making back then – it was a mind numbingly low number – still what was really shocking to me was that – I had been conditioned to think that THAT was OK.

Was I really that desperate for money?

Or did I “settle”?

Why did I think that was okay?

Was it because it was easy?

And aren’t I doing the same now?

Today? The next week? How about next month?

I also realized it has been 21 days since I’ve updated this blog.

16 days before 2017…

…where does all the time go?

Today I am bothered.

Today I realize this is NOT LIFE.

Today I say no more.

Today I am CHANGE.