Fifty-Four Things I’ve Learned in Boston

Six months ago today was my first real day living in Boston. Within a period of ten weeks, I had graduated from college, moved across the country, ended a serious relationship, and started a new job. I was about to work with middle schoolers, be part of a team, and learn to be a leader, all while dealing with the challenges of moving somewhere with a new culture, climate, and people.

If I had known how hard it was going to be, I’m not sure I would have done it, so thank goodness for that human inability to perceive things unless we’re dealing with them in the moment. Today, for no particular reason, I began to reflect on how much easier things have gotten and how much I appreciate every single component of life here- even the ones that once scared me, like being single, or being cold. I began to write down the things that I’ve learned in the last six months, and before I knew it, I had quite a list. So, with no particular organization, here are the 54 lessons I’ve learned in the past six months I’ve been in Boston.

  1. Art- music, art, poetry, whatever- can literally save lives. Do not underestimate it, and give it a chance.
  2. There is not only a place for creativity in the workplace, there is a necessity.
  3. Truly, the key to connecting with people is finding out what motivates them.
  4. We can do so much more than we think. We change in the moments when we say, “I can’t do this anymore, but I’m going to go do this.”
  5. Keeping up with the people who are always there for you is essential to happiness.
  6. The perfect team is one in which each member treats everyone else like they’re more important than they treat themselves.
  7. Setting goals is everything. Achieving them is more.
  8. There’s nothing like the feeling that you matter.
  9. There’s nothing like helping someone else to understand that you believe they matter.
  10. Surprising others with kindness is uplifting for everyone.
  11. Middle school isn’t scary; change is scary, and it just happens a lot in middle school. Middle school is actually a pretty magical place.
  12. Sometimes all you need at the end of a horrible day is to tell somebody about it.
  13. You never know what’s inside your mind until you write it down.
  14. Huge things are achieved when you do things before you’re quite ready.
  15. It’s hard to believe, but sometimes one kind comment really can change everything.
  16. No matter how busy you are, hold on to what makes you you.
  17. Be passionate. It doesn’t matter what about. And share it.
  18. It’s never inappropriate to tell someone how much you appreciate them.
  19. Humans really can adapt to anything: weather, relationships, or adolescents.
  20. It may be scary, but ask for help. It builds connections and it makes you better.
  21. The most incredible people are the ones who appreciate and embrace others for all their quirks.
  22. Overthinking is toxic to growth.
  23. Push yourself. Always.
  24. Even if it’s hard, there’s not much that’s impossible to laugh about later.
  25. Learning to laugh at yourself is difficult but so worth it.
  26. Honesty, clarity, and transparency earn respect.
  27. Trust yourself.
  28. It is possible to enjoy going to work every day. We all deserve a job like that.
  29. There’s no harm in trying something new and not being good at it. You may surprise yourself.
  30. “Can’t” and “should” are possibly the two worst words in the English language.
  31. There’s no one right way to go about anything. Don’t let anyone tell you there is.
  32. Cherish the past. It’s ok to be nostalgic and relive memories.
  33. A great leader is invisible, existing behind the scenes and empowering others.
  34. Sometimes you can’t think your way out of a problem. Sometimes all you can do is call on a friend, close your eyes, or write down the lyrics of your favorite song. Calming down works wonders.
  35. Having something to look forward to is incredibly motivating.
  36. Everyone has challenges. It’s okay to admit yours. It’s even liberating.
  37. There is a bright side to EVERYTHING. Challenge yourself to find it.
  38. Choose your battles. Not everything can be perfect.
  39. Sometimes what you thought wasn’t good enough is actually a lot more interesting and fun.
  40. Take advantage of your talents. Share them and use them.
  41. Never in the future will you say, “Gosh, I wish I had written about my life less.”
  42. Be proud of your team. Don’t apologize. But don’t be a sore loser.
  43. There’s always a place for being human at work. Nobody will be mad about team building, getting to talk about themselves, or playing a game. It’s not wasting time because it’s what makes us people, and that’s what we want to be.
  44. There’s a beauty in realizing that every person, even someone you don’t like, is passionate about something.
  45. Sometimes the things we think make us different don’t matter much at all.
  46. It’s unbelievable, but it’s possible to wake up every day for someone who doesn’t know that they are what you live for.
  47. It’s okay to change your mind. It feels good to be the type of person who lets that happen.
  48. Never settle with the people around you. There are always more wonderful, inspirational people out there that you have yet to meet.
  49. Human connection and belonging are at the root of everything.
  50. Feeling cold is not the worst thing that has ever happened to humanity. It’s not necessary to make a big deal out of it.
  51. Somehow, both kids’ honesty and their lack of an ability to lie are both extremely entertaining.
  52. Even if you don’t agree or understand at all, what other people are feeling is real and true to them. You don’t have the ability or the right to change it.
  53. Keep up with relationships, even if it’s a little bit awkward or hard. Don’t be afraid to show your affection.
  54. Challenges ALWAYS make you better. Always.

I must say, I’m pretty proud of it. I think these are some great things to know. And if I can learn this much in six months, I can’t wait to see what my list looks like at the end of the year. Because if I could sum all of this up into one lesson, it would be this: There is always more. More knowledge, more willpower, more beauty. Now is not all there is, and if you keep going life can only become better. What a beautiful thing.

Until next time.

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