However, with leaving college behind, New Year's hits at an introspective time in my life, and instead of letting all of this live in my head, I'll let it live here, where at least you can enjoy it, too. Some of these things I learned are just on my mind right now, but for others, I went back in my Tweets and Facebook posts to find the most accurate representations of the things I learned.
Without further ado, here they are:
1. Tweet from March 15: "Advice: When you're really struggling in the last 7 minutes of your 60 minute workout, some old school NSYNC will get you through." Clearly it worked for me on March 15th and it's still true. Try it!
2. Wear hot pink lipstick when you want to. Seriously, who cares. Do it, go to Happy Hour, take a photo of it and Tweet it. (More like this at www.twitter.com/jschu_.)
4. Find that friend who will hold your hand on your bad days and pose for a selfie with you on your good. I found mine and her name is Kristen.
5. On April 18th I tweeted, "I just want to put it out there that I have a complete soft spot for animals who have stuffed animals." Also up there, dogs who stick their heads out of windows in cars. I'm not sure if I learned this in 2014 because I remember thinking something similar on a trip to Argentina where I saw a dog with a stuffed animal dog but it's one of the better things in life.
6. On July 4th on Facebook I checked into the CBS Broadcast Center and wrote, "Happy Independence Day! And special shout out to those of us at work today so that there can be something on the television in the background while you get drunk." Television is one of the industries where working on holidays is common, but it was tough to turn down a weekend trip with a friend that I really wanted to go on and opting to work instead. Being the intern who asked for a day off felt wrong to me since I was only there for 10 weeks. I still hope the opportunity for this trip presents itself again. Make these choices boldly.
7. On February 21st, I tweeted for the first time about my plans to live with one of my best friends Nicole for my senior year. I'd come to learn it would be better than I ever could have imagined when I tweeted it.
8. The relationship we have with social media is a complicated one. I understand the irony in posting this in a blog that references my own social media posts, but I've really started to examine the way we post and why. I think it's important to acknowledge everyone is going to do what works for them, in life, and in social media. But I've started to ask more questions. If we're truly happy, why do we have to post this and garner approval from others? If we're sharing details, does it detract from the intimacy of experiencing the moments for ourselves? Do we post things because we want to share them, or because we assume others will care about them? As I head into a career in a public field, the way I post is changing. Not everyone needs to know the restaurants I eat at, the people I hang out with or what we do. If you're close enough to me to know who I hang out with and what I do, you don't need to see it on my social media. That's a huge thing I'm learning.
9. When you lose your appetite because of stress or heartache, you don't have to eat! Trust me, the act of forcing yourself to want food and trying to consume it is going to make you miserable.
10. Tweet from April 22: "Self esteem advice by me: even when you don't love every part of your body, your bed always will... So no worries." I do rival you to find someone who enjoys a comfortable bed and blanket more than I do, but this self-esteem statement was said before I read this blog post which taught me a lot and changed the way I think of my body forever. I sometimes think if more people read it we'd have a much more positive narrative about body image, one that does not revolve around food, exercise or clothes, but one that recognizes our bodies as miracle machines that mostly do not fail us. For that, I think it makes them all beautiful.
12. Tweet from September 21: "Still better to go to bed alone than to go to bed with someone who'd rather be anywhere else." I had moments of crippling loneliness this year. Maybe we all do. It's something I'd like to leave behind for 2015. But I learned it still beats being in a relationship that's anything less than what you deserve.
13. Your mom was right when she said not to buy so many clothes and shoes that you have a hard time packing your belongings to head home from school. Further, your mom is right about most things.
14. Just try to enjoy all the time you have left. I learned this the hard way in 2013 but this year I applied it toward the end of school, when I wanted to take advantage of my time left in Miami. I'm not sure when I'll return to Coral Gables, Florida, and I wanted to be absolutely present as my time came to a close. After an initial struggle, I like to think I was.
15. Tweet from November 19: "Having fresh flowers always is a thing I do because then I get to look forward to going home to fresh flowers!" In this case it was yellow roses. I bought them for myself and they brightened absolutely everything.
16. What I learned on November 4th: Vote!!! The voter outcome made me sad this year. I vote because I think the only way people will start to feel that their vote matters is if they see others putting elected officials in office who they support. I vote because it was not long ago in this country that women weren't allowed to vote, and I vote because in other countries, having and voicing an opinion are grounds to get you killed.
17. I learned it's alright to distance yourself from those who foster a sense of competition and threat where there was none to begin with. We'll all get jobs, we'll all be happy and we don't have to make the process any harder than necessary. "I'm not interested in competing with anyone. I hope we all make it." - Erica Cook
18. On a trip to Minnesota, I learned the technical term for the procedure that takes place with your luggage at the carousel is "bag dropping." They call it dropping your bags. Does anything feel more unsettling than the knowledge they just drop your bags?
19. Be as forgiving of yourself as you are of those you love. This semester, I totally hit a wall where I felt I had been on a roll until suddenly I wasn't anymore. Finding the joy in finishing my last semester and graduating, what should have been an extremely joyous occasion, was tough. I put so much pressure on myself to come out of this funk, telling myself that I was horribly overreacting to whatever I was struggling with and that I had to get over it, and fast. I realize now this funk that threw me off my groove was a momentary loss of faith in life, and a brief lapse of judgment where I felt maybe things don't always work out for the best. I did get past it. Graduation was joyous. Regardless, be gentle on yourself when you hit a bump or an obstacle. You will get over it. You will move past it, but you must be kind to yourself as you go through it.
19a. A few things that helped me through:
"You are young and faith will get you everywhere. Just you wait." - Abby Larson
"There isn't enough room in your mind for both worry and faith. You must decide which one will live there."
And lastly, one recommended to me from Gone with the Wind, "I can't think about that right now. If I do, I'll go crazy. I'll think about that tomorrow."
20. On graduating and the end of the year: Moving on is confusing. It manifests itself in different ways. You might think you've moved on only to be caught blindsided with answers you don't have. You might not know how things will fit together. You might find this scary and sometimes sad. But remember, the puzzle would not be fun to do if you knew how all the pieces would fit together from the start. It wouldn't even be worth doing. Cling to your friends and your family in these hard-to-navigate times of transition. Write it out. And when the transition is nearing an end on graduation day, the thought that you should have sacrificed the gorgeous heels you wore for the sake of the wound you'll have on your ankle for weeks to come won't cross your mind. Not even once.
Thanks for playing along through 2014. Hug and kiss your families, thank your friends, celebrate the things you must let go of and the things that are coming, and let's absolutely find ways to be better in 2015.
You heard it here first,