And the year is over, my dear readers!
First I want to thank you for reading The Notebook in My Pocket these past months. Thank you for staying despite my inconsistencies and my crooked photos, thank you for commenting and sharing the posts; thank you for reading, eating and travelling with me.
Here’s a summary of what happened in 2015: the most popular posts, the books I read and the books I enjoyed the most, and a reflection about what I learned in general about life.
In 2015, I published 44 posts
The three most read are a review, a literary route and a book rant, which tells me that it was a good idea to vary the topics of discussion while staying in the world of literature.
- Book Rant: Why ‘Life and Death: Twilight Reimagined’ doesn’t work for me
- Edinburgh: Sir Walter Scott
- The Hobbit, by J.R.R. Tolkien
I read 20 books
To see the complete list with statistics from other readers and the average amount of pages that I read per book, please go to this link: Goodreads: Your Year in Books Here are the five books I liked the most:
- The Hobbit, by J.R.R. Tolkien
- Everything I Never Told You, by Celeste Ng
- It, by Stephen King
- The Hound of the Baskervilles, by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
- Mrs. Dalloway, by Virginia Woolf
I was able to work on some issues that I had been ignoring
The hardest part about having issues isn’t really admitting them, it’s changing them. Old habits die hard, they say, but this year, God helped me understand certain things about myself that totally changed the way I see life now. When I say understand, I mean I already knew that stuff, but I didn’t know how to experience it. Here’s a list of what I learned this year:
I may not be as smart or physically attractive or I may not have the same academic achievements as others, but that doesn’t make me inferior in any way
Despite my parents’ unconditional love, support and best efforts, the fear of not being enough crept into my life a couple of years ago. Thoughts like ‘That person is way smarter than me… I’m afraid I might sound stupid if I say something’ settled in the back of my mind and actually made me afraid of speaking up, even though I had never had that problem before.
In my experience, those kinds of thoughts come when you move on to a new thing and see that you’re not as equipped for the situation as you thought you were. It’s natural to doubt some aspects of yourself when you go through a big change, but instead of brushing the doubts off, I let them stay. Two major problems came out of that:
- I stopped doing certain things out of fear of making a ‘stupid’ mistake, and
- I started doubting virtually all my skills and talents.
This year I learned that fear doesn’t prevent disasters, it causes them. Those who are not afraid of making mistakes are the ones who actually get things done. I learned that I may not know as much as other people, I may not understand some things as easily as others, but that doesn’t mean I can’t learn more stuff and it certainly doesn’t mean that I’m inferior to them in any way.
I’m not like my neighbor, and I don’t have to be. God gave me ideas, talents, tastes and attitudes completely different to those of other people, and my job is to explore them, develop them and put them to good use.
In order to evolve as a person, I may need to ask for help, and that’s good
When I was sixteen, I spent a year at a boarding school. One day I was sitting with a guy discussing something about a movie when a friend of mine came up to us and asked him for help with her math homework. He agreed to do it, but as soon as she left, he turned towards me and said something that got stuck in my mind: I hate dependence. He hated depending on someone else to accomplish something, and he hated when people depended on him to do things. That day I told myself I would never have to depend on another human being to accomplish stuff. I am, after all, an independent woman who don’t need no man (or woman for that matter) to do anything.
I have ideas, talents and opinions, but that doesn’t mean I don’t have to ask for help when I’m not sure how to proceed. It doesn’t make me dependent, it makes me smart. I get to see other perspectives, see how other people’s minds work and learn new things.
This year I learned to ask for help.
“Sooner or later, discipline will defeat intelligence” – Japanese pearl of wisdom
Having intelligence, opinions and ideas is completely useless if I don’t have the discipline to put them into action. An idea is not enough if you don’t have a plan to bring it to life, and a plan is not enough if you don’t have the discipline to follow it.
Life is a process. Nothing comes magically, nothing is learned in one night, or at least nothing of quality. The process of becoming a disciplined person has been long, although not as hard as I would’ve expected.
This year I learned to establish simple routines to keep myself organized, I learned to set goals and sort out my priorities, I learned how to manage my time. The process isn’t over, I can’t rush it, I can’t force it, but it’s going well and steady, and every step I take brings me closer to where I have to be.
Making lists is fun!
Jokes aside, this year I learned something completely unexpected: I learned to enjoy everything, and that includes the things that seem boring or that I didn’t like before. Things such as reading overly-complicated texts (even if I don’t understand every single detail), doing homework, doing math or having to sit through a three-hour class with an annoying teacher.
I learned that everything serves a purpose, even if I don’t know it yet. Good or bad, happy or sad, boring or amusing, everything is a part of life and it deserves to be enjoyed.