relationship tips, lifestyle tips, lifestyle blogger, allyship, career tips


1. Self-reflection is important | actually schedule this into your day. Taking time--even if it is a few minutes once a week--is really important for personal development and understanding yourself, what you like, and where you want to go.

2. Travel solo more | 2014 was the first time that I actually traveled solo in a foreign country, and I didn't realize how much it can teach about yourself and others. When traveling solo you have no one to rely on but yourself. You learn how to trust yourself (which may sound frightening if you are like me and have zero sense of direction) and assert an independence that even living on your own can't teach. I even wrote a post on 8 Reasons Why You Need to Take a Solo Trip this Summer. (yeah, it's that good)

3. Let go of the material | I could buy a sweet new sweater and try to make room in my flooded closed, or I could buy a few warm gloves or hot chocolates for the homeless individuals that I might run into on my way back home from shopping. I learned that giving up material things that you like (and therefore do not need) can be difficult, realistically speaking, but so so necessary. That's why we're starting a minimal wardrobe series to detach ourselves from mindless consumerism and material goods.

4. Let go of things that don't make you happy | after reflection, I went through everything I was involved in an quit/left about 80% of what was on the list. You can't do everything, so focus on just that which makes you genuinely happy. Stop stretching yourself so thin.

5. Be weary of comfort | Being comfortable is one of the main reasons why people are apathetic (also see no.11) in highly important issues, fail to have the ability to be empathetic, and can take you further away from what really matters in life. This is something that I am personally still struggling with. 


6. Keep up with the people in your life | I did a really bad job of keeping up with the people in my life that I care about, and this is something that I regret. Replying to messages has never been my forte. There is nothing wrong with spending time alone (it's actually a great thing to do!) but eventually you will start missing out on the valuable memories, laughs, and discussions that makes life sweet.

7. Taking risks is okay if it is for someone/something that you love  people > grades, sleep, deadlines, etc. At the end of the day, you will most likely regret loosing a friend, straining a relationship, or hurting someone you love rather than a missed deadline. 

8. Value life | building from no 7. No one lives forever.

9. Don't finish others' sentences | basically, this.


10. Good allyship in activism is integral to move your own cause forward | Branch out and understand that most causes have the same targets and roots. The Palestinians suffering under Israeli police rule were the first group to reach out to the protesters in Ferguson, and it was beautiful. (& this makes a great ally). 

11. Always be aware of your privileges | understand that at a protest against the lack of justice for blacks killed by cops, if you are not black, you should not speak over the black voices. Also, privilege means the ability to ignore issues or remain apathetic or neutral in times of crisis. 

12. Microaggressions are not something that you should allow yourself to get used to | After what happened at my university, I realized the importance of not letting micro-aggresions go quietly. As a Muslim woman growing up a highly conservative state, micro-aggressions are something that I faced daily, and didn't think much of it. But, they can be evidence of a larger intolerable climate that needs to be addressed. 


13. You will be surprised how far you can go by just asking for what you want | You have higher chances of achieving what you want if you are proactive rather than waiting for it to come to you.

14. Always and only talk others up | this one is from my brother. Although it pertains specifically for the workplace, this is something great to do in general.

15. Be the first one everywhere, and the last one to leave | you'll be surprised how many opportunities will come this way.


I encourage you to set aside a bit of time and reflect on another year that has gone by--what did you learn? Please feel free to share in the comments so other readers can take advantage of your insight!
(above photo was taken on my last trip to Iran)

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