(through various sources; we're talking mistakes, books, people, experiences, etc.)
1) If you see signs of 'crazy' in your relationship with someone who holds some amount of power over you that you don't have to subject yourself to, get out of that dynamic PRONTO. Don't ignore it, don't wait or hope that the situation improves. It can only worsen. When you're dealing with a crazy person, logic and reason have been flung out the window; they have no legitimate place in this exchange. And since this other person is in a position of power, and you aren't... I repeat, do NOT try to toughen it out. Not worth it.
2) Increased quantity will always negatively impact quality since you are just one, limited person, with no infinite capacities. + on one end always means - on the other end. You are a scale, not a straight line.
3) Sometimes giving up the fight is the wiser thing to do. Accept defeat once in a while. Escalating your commitment when things get tough is sometimes just you falling prey to a logical fallacy- cut the cord, sink the ship, and look up the sunk-cost fallacy, it's a valuable life lesson.
4) Stop waiting. No one is going to finally 'discover you', 'see you', 'value you' nor be worth whatever it is you've been saving of yourself all this time. Be free, birdie! Allow yourself to live NOW, stop holding yourself back just because maybe 'one day'. Are you going to run out of you? Run dry somehow? If someone special who does value and see you comes along some day, will you somehow be 'finished up' if you start really being you now? You are only stifling your own life, putting down breaks that you pay the price for. Go see what you want to see, start expressing yourself and your gifts now. Your relationship with God (if this is something that matters to you) also suffers with this waiting-mentality.
5) God speaks in so many forms: Through experiences and nature and music and dance and intellectualism and serving others and writing and a myriad of other things. There isn't this sole legitimate mode of communication with God that rises above them all in holiness; a formula of fasting+sacrifice+silence+hearing God's literal voice that only counts. Those are wonderful means as well, but not the only ones. God speaks to us each differently because we're different. Imagine that. He's made it so that an interweaving of his word and community and doing things that bring us to life bring us closer to him and his voice (literal or not). Can you imagine that doing what you LOVE can actually bring you closer to God? What sadistic, morbid genius come up with this crap?!!!
6) Be reliable. Just because you're flexible and easygoing doesn't mean everyone else is. When you say you will call someone "tomorrow" or see them "next week", do what you said you would do. If you think you're bound to disappoint someone anyways, then don't be a people-pleaser and tell them ASAP that you can't come to their party or can't give them a call or, or. Don't put off disappointing them because they will only be more disappointed later. Whether you realise it or not some people are counting on that phone call you said you'd make, that information you said you'd send, or on you being somewhere you said you'd be. They may not have voiced it directly but they may actually need it. Be reliable in the small things.
7) No matter how cool someone may seem, if they don't think you're cool too, then what's the damn point? You gonna try convince them now?
8) In the INSANE screw-ups of your life, perhaps despite having done everything right, God still has a plan. Not one that will necessarily make you ecstatic with joy, but one that will stop you in your tracks and totally shut you up and just make you go ... 'oh.' Good luck ever trying to predict it.
9) Girls (myself included. Maybe boys too? but I feel girls especially) can be incredibly bad at being honest with one another (me included. This is a list of things I learnt this year, remember?) Buck up. Be honest, be a good friend even if it's uncomfortable. Don't be a chicken and disappear when it gets tough. Say what you think- "you're hurting yourself here," "this is not a good set up for you," "this person is bad for you" etc. Don't just jump to 'but it's not my place to say anything!' or 'but she just needed support!' Sometimes those are just excuses for being a coward. You decide when. I'm not saying your friend's choices are your responsibility, but I'm saying your voice and opinion can make a difference.
10) If you feel excited, but you know you'll likely feel disappointed afterwards, there's not too much you can do about this. Feel the heights of excitement, and then the lows of disappointment. Don't be afraid of feeling those difficult feelings. This is sometimes the nature of hope- you never know when it will pan out. Doesn't mean you need to kill hope entirely and become a cynic.
11) If you're South African and through a series of events you realise you need to renew your passport from abroad, for heaven's sake, DON'T. haha. Just pay for a frikkin' flight across the globe and renew it there in person.
12) If the world were divided into givers and takers, then surround yourself with givers (assuming you are one yourself), and limit the takers in your life to about 2, total, because seriously, anymore and you're just asking for the life to get sucked out of you.
13) If EVERYBODY likes you, do not congratulate yourself. You are probably a people-pleaser. Try airing your actual, honest thoughts and around people who supposedly 'know' you and 'like' you. Do they still like you now? Well then did they ever really?
14) This is not a 'who's toughest?' contest. Shed unnecessary baggage (this needs like.. weekly maintenance *sigh*) because eventually you hit an age (perhaps 27?) where your mental and emotional talents just don't cut it anymore and stress starts to manifest itself physically and wow, ouch. This new evolution sucks. Eyes droop, hair gets white, your neck stays sore, etc. You get the picture.
15) What do you really want? What do you envision for your life? Are you on that path, even slightly? Are your choices today matching up with that vision? If not, what needs to change? There is always a price to pay, but it's worth it. I don't say that lightly.
16) People that you do not deem cool enough or talented enough will affirm you and your work. People that you do deem cool enough and talented enough will affirm you and your work. Frankly speaking, most people just won't care at all. None of this matters much. The expression of your art is what matters.
17) When someone says to me 'Yeah, I didn't want to do this (insert difficult task) but God told me to do it so I gave up (insert thing that this person wanted)' red flags go up in my head. Listening to God is not a self-righteous, who-is-holier competition. It is not about your sacrifices "for God". We do not believe in a mean, sadistic God who will only ever ask us to give up the things we love. Occasionally that happens, when the stuff we love is harmful, but seriously, if this is your norm, and you think that this is the only way God works, know that something is off in the way you see God.
18) And finally, I learnt this one listening to one of my father's favorite pieces with him. There doesn't need to be a cap on hope, or joy, or love. They come from an infinite source and there is therefore infinite capacity to experience them.
That's it for now. Hope that was useful in some way. Have a wonderful new year!