What I Learned in 2016

Chris Klemens

Saying that 2016 was "the worst year ever" or "a total shitshow unlike any other year" has now become a trend. While, yes, it was one, never-ending hot mess, I learned so much, both about myself, my dreams, my fears, and also about balancing life, friends, and so much more, that I wouldn't give up for the world.

I learned that I come first. Period. It's not that I learned this this year because I have always had this mindset, but I learned that it's not selfish, but instead, perfectly okay to feel this way. The way I look at it is how will I be able to help other and lift people up if I, myself, am in need of help. You come first.

I learned the importance of voting. I live in America where we have the right to vote for our next elected official. I never really cared about politics until this election, and I realized that people don't understand that voting for an elected official isn't universal. It's such a badass right we, as Americans, have. Don't be lazy. Being aware and knowledgable of what is going on around you is super cool.

I learned it isn't enough to think locally. The world is more connected than ever before. With so many tragedies and bad things happening, it's not enough to say that because it's not in your backyard, there's nothing you can do. Because there is something you can do, there always is. We all need to think on a global level.

I learned to live in the moment. No, I don't remember that stupid Instagram of lunch, but I remember that lunch where I conversed with the person/people I was with. Don't do stuff for an Instagram. Just live your life, and look around. Earth is a really fucking beautiful place, despite how shitty some people might say it is. It really is special.

I learned that alone time is really wonderful. After going through bumps with friends and family, I've really learned the value of alone time. It really is important to be totally okay with just yourself.

I learned that people simply just won't want to be your friend...and that is okay. I used to get so hung up continuously putting so much effort into unreciprocated friendships, and I began to ask myself why I was bending over backwards for people would wouldn't even look my way. Fuck that.

I learned the importance of random compliments. Whether it's receiving them or giving them, I've seen the effect of random compliments. It is such an easy thing to do that will stick with someone. Especially in New York City, I see so many stylish, pretty, kind people, so why not compliment them. 2017 is the year of random compliments.

I learned that if you want something bad enough, fight like hell for it. I tried standup comedy this year, and it was one of the best things I did this year. I realized that my dreams and aspirations won't just fall into my lap. I have to work my ass off for them, and I am beyond willing to do that.

I learned that I really like Frank Ocean. That's nothing groundbreaking, it's just me being a fucking grandpa behind on the times.

I learned to really try as many new things as possible. Trying new things can be scary, but it is good to get out of your comfort zone. I've always felt that way, but this year, especially, I learned to really try new things even when I knew I wouldn't like it because I either was right and didn't like it but survived or was wrong and now love something I never would've tried. Anal is still a no, though. Maybe 2017?

LastIy, I learned that love does, in fact, trump hate. This year really showed that there is so much meanness in the world, but it also showed so much more love. And we cannot forget about that love. It's so easy to do because the weight of hate feels incomparable. But it's not. We must never let it outweigh the love that is out there.