My 6 Takeaways From 2016

Typically, I try to write these Year in Review posts before the New Year, but collating my 2016 takeaways took more concentration than usual this go round. Blame it on being off work for a week and change or spending most of my downtime watching the last two seasons of The Office, but I just haven't been able to find the focus necessary to mentally review my year piece-by-piece. Until now. 

In thinking about it, I realized my year wasn't half bad. Sure, I met a BEVY of horrible gentleman who brought me closer to the edge of the ledge than I've ever been, I got gum graft surgery which wasn't terrible but mostly just super inconvenient (and expensive), my precious savings took a big hit upon finding out I owed a lot of money to the IRS because of unreported freelance earnings all the way back in 2014, and the election set me back emotionally in a way I hadn't predicted it would. But putting all that aside, it was what most would probably consider a fine year with some solid takeaways. 

Takeaway 1: Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on you again because most everyone deserves a second chance. Fool me three-four times, I'm an idiot but you're a terrible human.

My romantic year started with being jerked around by, well, a jerk. I was blind to the fact that he was in no way wanting to commit to anything more than hooking up and split meals, but that may be because he drunkenly said "I love you" three dates in so I reasonably figured there was something more there that maybe he was just too scared to let out. But nah. Just an asshole douche. It took me a solid four months and four chances given to finally see it for what it was, which makes me want to kick early 2016 Emma in the cooter, but you live and you learn. Whether you choose to take those learnings and apply them as you move forward in life is what matters, but I'll tell you this much — if someone fucks up a third chance, stop being dumb. Just stop it.

Takeaway 2: I love oysters.

It only took me 29 years to figure that one out. You see, my very worrisome and alarmist mother warned me against trying them since one bad oyster will supposedly either kill you or ruin your life forever. And since I'm such an obedient daughter (and intensely neurotic), I heeded her words and steered clear. However, this year I was presented with the mollusk on a few occasions and decided FUCK IT. TRUMP IS GONNA BE PRESIDENT SO WHY NOT. And, surprise surprise — I loved them. Thanks for nothing, Mom (JK, if you're reading this. Thank you for [mostly] everything).

Takeaway 3: Sometimes, the uncomfortable choice is the better choice.

We are a people who love convenience. We take pleasure in playing it safe and sticking to what we know. Who can blame us? The unknown is debilitatingly terrifying. However, at the risk of sounding corny and cliche, sometimes the road less traveled is the smarter one to take. I learned this back in March when I started talking to about maybe coming on as their copywriter. I was happy where I was. In fact, I had just made the statement out loud and to myself that, as long as I was in Dallas, I would stay with the company I was with. Then I got a phone call that presented an opportunity I hadn't seen coming nor was prepared to consider. It was a scary decision to make. I had grown so comfortable where I was, had just started feeling like an integral part of the company, and had met so many stellar humans I had no desire to leave. However, I knew not taking this position could possibly be the dumbest move to make. So I did. I left what I knew for something I had no idea about and it turned out to be a very good decision. Not to say it always works out like that, but when it does, it's a validating feeling. All this coming from a person who isn't super fond of change, too. So. Take that for what it's worth.

Takeaway 4: Sticking to your non-negotiables is harder than it looks.

I've preached before about having a zero-tolerance list of non-negotiables when it comes to dating. In all reality, making lists is easy and fun to do. It's actually sticking to those lists that's hard. Rationalizations and excuses are my bread and butter, so when my steadfast list of non-negotiables was put to the test this summer within a relationship I was very happy about, it SUCKED. It was one of those moments you just want to scream "REALLY?! REALLY." Everything's going great. Everything is checking out so far. You're pacing along well. Then BAM! You get hit with an irrefutable strike against one of your non-negotiables and it's devastating. This was the first year after many years of dating around that I decided to actually be a stickler, and y'all — it was hard. You have countless moments of self-combat: "Am I really going to end it over this one thing?" "Sure, it seems ridiculous but it's not. You know it's not. Your friends have told you it's not." "But what if it can change?" "It definitely can't. And won't. He's made that much clear." "Can I learn to live with it?" "Are you high?" "Nah, I don't smoke." "You probably should start." I'll say this though – breaking up with someone because you have the foresight and ability to know they're not going to make you as happy as you want and deserve to be is somewhat empowering. Even when they handle it like an asshole. No worries, though — I got the oft sought-after but rarely received repentant texts MONTHS later, which took the sting down just a bit. Anyway, stick to your non-negotiables. That's what I'm saying.

Takeaway 5: Don't be such a narcissist.

Yeah, the girl who posts OOTDs, selfies, and other self-indulgent junk on the daily is telling you to not be so egocentric. But hear me out. This may be my most important takeaway from last year. I am a paranoid person. Mix that with also being incredibly sensitive, and you get someone who worries way too much about others and why they are or aren't behaving toward you in a certain way. But guess THE FUCK what? 9 times out of 10, it's not about you because most things aren't. You may be the center of your own world, but people are complicated and just as much in their own little worlds as you are in yours. To be honest, they most likely don't give a shit about you (or they do but not enough to be thinking about you constantly). You have no real affect on them. They most likely didn't even think twice about whatever it is you're worrying about. I know I'm writing this with conviction, but don't be fooled — I'm still working on this every day of my life. That is, learning to understand that just because someone isn't talking to you or is but isn't as talkative as usual or that one coworker looked at you weird or your boss is acting a bit more resigned today, IT PROBABLY HAS NOTHING TO DO WITH YOU. And if you think it does, ASK. Don't just sit there convincing yourself otherwise, you narcissistic idiot (I'm saying this to myself as much as I'm saying it to y'all). 

Takeaway 6: These are the two best GIFs ever.

You're welcome. And Happy New Year. May you survive the first year of the Trump House, seek comfort in discomfort, eat some oysters, stand strong with your non-negotiables, stop being so self-involved, and don't get fooled again.