Hi, my name is Lilia. I am a girl - or should I start saying woman now that I am 23? - with unstoppable fire in my soul, crazy love in my heart, and a philosophical mess in my mind. Welcome to my annual catharsis of all the lessons I have learned in 2017. Looking back, I feel like I have realized so many valuable things this year, and as many other aspects of my life, I want to share those life lessons with you.
MY LIFE LESSONS OF 2017
1. TIME IS OUT OF OUR CONTROL
The fact that I do not even know where to start describing everything that happened in 2017, gives a good understanding of how this year felt for me. On the one hand, this year flew by in seconds; On the other hand, 2017 was filled with enough life changing experiences for multiple years. This brings me to the first life lesson I want to share with you, and that is: Time is out of our control. Time is one of the most mysterious forces in life I was never able to understand. Why do some moments seem to fly by, while others seem to last for eternity? How come some memories never seize to exist in our imagination, while others only pass our thoughts once in a blue moon? Why does it feel like it was just yesterday when I was writing this blogpost for 2016, but I can also remember how many things happened to me this year? Ancient Greek mythology described this difference in time as Chronos and Kairos. Chronos is how we usually understand time: It is chronological or sequential, just like the time is measured on your favorite watch.
However, Kairos stands for the opportune time or right moment. It is non-chronological, and can make us feel like the world has just stopped turning: It is time defined not by external factors, but by our internal experience. It is that moment when you suddenly feel a rush of inspiration going through you, and you can think of so many new ideas just at once. It is that moment when you first kiss a person, and you know it is the right person for you. And it is that moment when you are so deep in your thoughts, you forget everything in the world around you. This brings me to my point: Not only time itself, but even our experience of time is out of our control. Simply put, when it comes to time, we do not know. So many of us are focused on questions like "where do you see yourself in 5 years" or "what is your plan for the future". Although it is always a good idea to plan and to dream, you should never forget that in the end, we do not know. We do not know, because time is not in our control. Realizing this made me feel more peaceful about my life.
Leaving my life in Groningen and moving to Washington DC, realizing that I do not want to be a lawyer and instead want to pursue online entrepreneurship fulltime, and choosing to be alone, are all decisions that were hard to make for me. Nevertheless, becoming aware of the fact that it does not matter if a choice is "risky" or not - because in the end, we do not know how it will end up anyway - made me feel more confident and relaxed about my own Dao.
2. NO ONE KNOWS YOU, BUT YOURSELF
Speaking of Dao: Another thing that I have come to realize this year is that no one knows you, but yourself. No one can know how you feel, what you want, or who you need in your life. I have realized that everything I have achieved this year was because I wanted it. I did not do it for the sake of someone else's happiness or wishes, but because I thought it would be good for me. I know that people may not understand or agree with me, but that is not something I should be worried about. In spite of many people having opinions about my choices, I always trusted my own intuition, my own Dao. I have spoken about Dao before, but in short, your Dao is the path of your life. It is the flow of the universe and of your life - the path that you should follow. This path is different for everyone, and that is why you should never judge, or take judgment from other people about the Dao. Becoming even more aware of my dao made me feel more at peace with myself. I understood that in the end, I should not listen to what others had to say about me, and just go with my own flow. That is also one of the reasons why I wanted to move to DC and study at GWU, even though I was not certain if I even wanted a legal career at all. To me it made sense - I love law, the knowledge that it gave me, and the way it boosted my confidence and strength - but for others it did not. However, that does not worry me, as long as I know that I am following my own path.
3. IT IS OKAY TO BE ALONE
With that being said, another aspect of 2017 that stood me by is that it is okay to be alone. Our society is so focused on finding your "true love", being "social", and building "relationships". I am not saying that that stuff is not important. What I am saying, is that it is more important to first learn to be okay with yourself, before embracing any of those other things. Previous year, I was trying to find someone that would fix how I felt about myself and my life. This year, I taught myself to be completely comfortable alone. 2017 was a year where many of my decisions I made before, manifested themselves. These decisions were risky, and made me feel insecure. That is why I missed having someone by my side, a person that made me feel more comfortable in these unstable times. However, trying to find a balance is not an external, but an internal process. I have realized that the only reason why I could even make these risky decisions in the first place, was because I was alone. I made choices solemnly by myself, for myself. And no, that is not selfish. I used to be this girl that always relied on someone else to feel comfortable. Today I am completely comfortable alone. I do not need others approval to know what is right for me. I do not waste my energy on people that are only taking my strength away from me. And most of all, I do not need anyone else, in order to feel happy. I have realized, that being okay with yourself requires you to be alone sometimes. 2017 was that year for me.
4. ACCEPT YOU'RE CHANGING
Another life lesson I have learned this year is about change and growth. Accept you're changing. You do not want to know how often people said to me that I've changed. I feel like especially in the online community, change has a negative connotation to it. We want people to stay the same, to be everlasting, in order for us to find comfort in their stories. However, like everything else in our existence, change will always be an inevitable process of life and death. I am not sure if I realized that I have changed so much because I have been documenting my life on the internet for years now, or because I am just a person that notices things like that in general. However, I am going to be honest with you: I find it so confronting to see how different I am from before. Not only when it comes to my appearance - that's not even the shit that matters - but when it comes to how I feel, and think, and act. The crazy thing is, it is not like I am more myself than I was before. My existence was always marked by Lilia, but my essence seems to have changed to a different person, or I guess a different "Lilia". It's like one of my favorite quotes from Heraklitus:
"On those stepping into rivers staying the same other and other waters flow." (DK22B12)
With this quote, Heraklitus meant to say that even though the "existence" of the river stays the same, its essence - the water - changes. And that's how I feel. 2017 made me even more aware about how much my essence has changed. The Lilia you know now is different than the one in 2016. And I cannot wait to see how different I will be in 2018.
5. PROTECT YOUR INNER PEACE
My last, but very valuable yet difficult lesson from 2017: Protect your inner peace. What I have come to realize is that everytime I had a negative experience with someone and I was treated unjustly, I would carry this burden around with me - not the other person. If I felt angry or sad about someone, the only person that would be hurt was me, not them. You should not lower yourself and your standards based on other people's behavior. If someone is treating you bad, protect your inner peace by being kind to them. I know that this is extremely hard, and may even feel unfair sometimes. However, keeping your inner peace is the best thing that you can do in every situation. Do not let their bad behavior get to you.
It's time to conclude the chapter of 2017. You were an intense year. I've finished my first year of being a Research Master LL.M. and a Philosophy B.A. student. I've had some amazing collaborations with brands, universities and organizations I love. I've hit the 150k subscribers on Youtube. I've travelled a lot to old and new places. I've moved accross to world to build a new life. I met people from all over the world and started new friendships. I dated with some guys, just to realize I am not ready for things like that yet. I finally managed to find closure for my bad break-up in 2016. And most of all, I have learned so many lessons I cannot wait to translate into actual deeds in 2018. I do not know how 2018 is going to turn out to be - no one does. However, I do feel like next year is going to be a good year for me. I hope it will be a good year for you too. Thank you for all of your support and constant love. I could not have done this without you.
WHAT IS YOUR LIFE LESSON OF 2017?
P.S. If you want to know what I've learned from life in 2016, check out this blogpost.
I love this! This post really touched me as I can relate to these experiences so much, thank you and a Happy New Year! ✨
Thank you so much <3
This is so perfect! I especially love the part about being alone, as it’s so important to realize this! Happy New Year 🙂
Thank you Meera <3
Some very good lessons. Can’t wait to see what 2018 holds for us all! Happy new year!
Amazing as always. Thank you.
Such a beautiful ending to 2017. I wish you a year filled with joy and laughter. :)x
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Wow Lilia, this sounds so beautiful and pure! I’m very happy you taught yourself to be alone and you learned to feel better about yourself. You’re a great inspiration to me, I love your pictures and your blog! I wish you the very best for 2018. Malou x
Thank you so much Malou, such an honour <3
Wow Lilia. This was so inspiring, I love the way you wrote about philosophy and how much it is impacting your life. You had an incredible 2017, thank you for taking all of us along with you on your journey to success.
Thank you so much Haley <3
Heel mooi gezegd en omschreven Lilia <3 Mooie lessen!
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Trusting the process !
Agree Ashley <3
Brilliant post to finish off 2017!
Wishing you all the best for 2018 and a happy new year from me x
I’ve learnt so much this year living away from home and finally launching my blog which is my lesson for 2017 that I’ll be taking into 2018!
Can’t wait to see where 2018 takes you, sweetie.
this was a nice post-Lilia keep it up, you are such an inspiration. God bless.
Very close and personal, and very mind opening. With all the things you talked about in this post, I learned that I should be a little bit kinder to myself and be more accepting despite the standards and expectations that exist in life. Love yourself more and be happy. That’s what life is all about. I love this personal growth, content of yours. It’s very inspiring. 🙂
I love this blog post!This post has truly inspired me. I look forward the change this year. I look forward to the running of time and most of all, I look forward to me loving myself more. Thank you Lily
Loved it… you are such an inspiring person … yes you have changed..but only for the better…you are a more mature and more responsible person now…some changes come with age and those changes are necessary…especially at the age where your college is about to end and your life will now be based on your decisions… i loved all the points you mentioned but the last point is definitely my favorite
Hi Lilia! I’ve been following you on Youtube for over a year now and to be honest you are my favourite vlogger! You give me so much motivation with school and life in general. You are a great rolemodel for other women and why not also for men.
I also love your style to write blogposts! You have a quality that makes your writings interesting and unique. This post was incredible as always! I really hope from the bottom of my heart that you will have a successful and pleasant year, 2018.
Love from Finland!
Aww thank you Sonja, this means a lot to me! xo
Nice post and very inspirational! You are very wise. Best wishes for 2018!!
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Thank you. I still remember reading the blog you posted before you left for DC. It was at the same time as I was leaving for England. And I feel that your life lessons, have become my life lessons. It is amazing how much a semester abroad and being alone can do. I often felt lonely, but as you said, you learn to be alone. And mostly, you learn to focus on your inner voice instead of the opinions of others.
Even though I still don’t know what I want to do with my Politics degree, I know now that I will follow my gut and just listen to myself. I hope you will re-read this life lessons you just wrote, because I will. I’m afraid I will become the same person when I go back home, and be too dependent of people again.
But I will read this blog as a reminder on who I’ve become and you have become.
You should be proud of the person who you’ve become and I’m looking forward in seeing you grow even more in 2018!
Lots of love,
My life lessons are really similar to yours. 2017 was a period of growth for me, and even though I had some awful things happen I didn’t let it break me. I changed a lot, and that’s always reason to celebrate.