To the worst year of my life so far, thank you for the lessons.

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2016 was a shitty year for many people including me, but despite all the hardships that I had to face, I can honestly say that I wouldn't change any of it even if I could. The lessons I learned have given me new perspectives on life and everything in it, and I can't help but feel thankful for all of it -- the good and the bad. I truly believe that everything happens for a reason, and although the reason may not present itself right away, in the end it still always does.

So today, on the first day of 2017, let me share with you 5 things I learned from last year.

1. It's okay to make mistakes.
Yes, it is. It's okay to make stupid decisions, and it's even okay to commit the same mistakes more than once over and over again. Why? Because eventually, you'll learn from them. Trust me on this. I've made so many mistakes the past year, and most of them I even repeated several times. My friends and family gave me advice and warned me repeatedly about some of the things I did, but I still ended up doing what I wanted to do. 

One day I just woke up and realized that I wanted to change, not because other people were telling me to, but because I realized that I was a better person than how I'd been acting. And you know what? The day I decided that I wanted to change was the day that I actually did. After all, nobody can force you to learn from your mistakes but yourself.

Just know that it's okay, and that doing bad things sometimes doesn't make you a bad person. Life is not a race, nor a competition, and it doesn't matter how long it takes for you to improve yourself as long as you never give up and keep moving forward. You may stumble a little, or take several steps backwards at times, but still . . . Just keep moving.

2. Some people are temporary.
This is probably the hardest lesson I learned in 2016. It sounds cliche, but it's true. People come and go in your life, and I'm not going to lie . . . It sucks and it hurts. All you can do is accept it. Don't get me wrong, there are wonderful people that will forever be in your life, but there will also be those who will leave all of a sudden.

My advice? If people want to leave, hold the door open for them. It will be hard, and it's okay to cry about it, but eventually you'll see that there was a reason why they weren't meant to be in your life. You won't understand it at first, but someday, one day . .  . Things will all fall into place. And you'll understand.

3. You need to let go of toxic friends.
It's for your own good, trust me. Letting go of people you love isn't always easy, but it doesn't have to be permanent either. I've let go of a few of my closest friends last year. Some of them came back into my life, and others never did. That's okay.

You have to do what's best for you and cutting the cord with friends who are bringing negativity into your life doesn't mean you no longer love them. It just means that you love yourself more.

Now, how do you determine which friends are toxic? Having several arguments with a friend doesn't make him or her toxic. It's normal to disagree with people (yes, even with friends) and it's okay to have bad days. Toxic friends are the ones that bring you down all the time, the ones that don't encourage you or root for your success, the ones that judge you and condemn you whenever you make a mistake instead of helping you turn things around, the ones that make you feel like it takes so much work to keep your friendship with them alive.

Remember, real friendship shouldn't be so hard. 

4. You're not going to have your life all figured out.
When I was a teenager I loved imagining how my life was going to be like in the future. I always figured that I'd have my life on track by the time I was 23 or 24, and here I am at age 27 feeling more confused than ever before. Did I study the right course back in college? Why don't I have a stable job yet? Does that make me a failure? Why are my friends getting married and I'm still single?

Breathe. Relax. It's okay to be confused and to not have the perfect life yet that you'd always dreamed of having. Life doesn't have an instruction manual.

Some people have it all figured out by the time they reach their 20's, others are already in their 40's and are still going back to college. It's not a race. It's nobody's life but yours. So breathe, relax, and be comfortable in your own pace.

5. Things do get better.
You know how when bad things are happening, and it feels like you're never going to get out of the depressing rut you've found yourself in? People tell you that things get better but you roll your eyes because they couldn't possible understand what you're going through.

Well, whether or not they understand your situation, they still got it right: things get better.

Don't believe me? Think about some of the biggest problems you had to face last year and ask yourself if any of it still matters now. I personally reached my lowest point in life back in March, 2016. Yet when I reflect back on it now, the things that felt like life or death at the time are no longer relevant in my life.

Time heals all wounds. It really does, even if it doesn't feel like it sometimes.

With all of the things that happened to me last year, I am grateful for all of it. I found out that I'm a much stronger person than I ever thought I was. This 2017, my resolution is simply to let in more positivity into my life and let go of all negativity. That's what you should do too. Spend time with positive people, give off positive energy to others, and think only positive thoughts.

Happy New Year, everyone!!!

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