10 Life Lessons 2018 Has Taught Me

Camille Co with Christmas fairy lights

2018 has been globally known as one of the worst years since the millennium. It’s been the year of:

  • the job market collapse
  • breakups between celebrities and influencers we thought would be together forever
  • the loss of our beloved romance lettuce due to the outbreak of e coli
  • and a lot of online shopping purchases with delayed shipping due to the Canada Post strike

A lot of negativity there… but in order to get past the hard times, you need to look for the silver lining and use it as motivation to climb out of the hole.

Originally, I was going to post this on my birthday, but I decided to hold off and save it for the end of the year to really give thought to what I wanted to say. I have always been the type to enjoy celebrating my birthday, but this year something felt a little different. I hate to say it but I spent a majority of the year lost in my own thoughts. It was so bad that, sometimes when asked, I would forget my age. It may have been due to all the chaos happening in the world, stress from work, or perhaps just a passing phase. But what I know for sure is that 2018 was a year of learning and understanding myself and my mental health  — something I think everyone should take the time to do.

But without further ado, I wanted to share some of those thoughts and some life lessons I learned after being alive for over 28 years.

1. There is no cookie-cutter timeline for when people find success.

I used to beat myself up all the time about this. Actually, sometimes I still do.

Coming out of university, I was hired on (after my internship) by a major media company which a lot of journalism graduates would consider a faraway dream. It was euphoric until I was let go a few months later. I had forgotten that with the way the economy was, at the time, people were losing jobs every day. So completely demotivated, I felt like a failure. I had what so many people considered a dream job, and it slipped right through my fingers. I stopped believing I could get a job at a company that was so heavily sought after again so I gave up on my journalism degree, worked on my brand MissCamco, and pursued a management position at my part-time retail gig.

After 10 years of climbing up the ladder, I became a Retail Sales Manager and regional trainer for all Halloween Lead Consultants across the GTA. It was a lot of fun, but I wasn’t happy because I wasn’t putting my degree to use. So, I decided to try my luck in the field again. I landed an interview for a place, and they decided to give me a chance (despite being out of the field for so long) based off my personal brand experience.

Here I am today, not in my dream position but I’m happily traveling for business, immersed in the digital field (and using my degree), constantly learning new digital strategies, and still continuing to build MissCamco in my spare time. Everyone has a different answer for what they think success is. So figure out what it is for you, and stop comparing where you’re at with someone else’s perspective of what success looks like. Success is not limited to a single perspective.

2. Family always comes first.

This is nothing new but every year, I realize just how strong the bond is even when we’re apart. Through thick and thin, my parents and my sisters have been there for me. We’ve gone through many love-hate situations from my choice to pursue a digital career right down to my choice of hairstyles, but despite it all, they’ve had my back and have always been my strongest supporters. In my teens, I could argue that in order to get through life, you only need yourself. But now that I’m an adult and able to make my own decisions, I constantly find myself asking for a second opinion or for advice from my parents and even my younger siblings. They are my cheerleaders, therapists, and  I couldn’t be luckier with the family I was born into and given.

Camille Co with her sisters in polaroids

3. True love exists but you won’t know you’ve found it until you jump over many hurdles.

It’s like the concept of yin and yang — balance. You don’t know the positive if you haven’t experienced the negative. The same is true I find in relationships.

A couple can go through millions of positive memories but if they haven’t already gone through any of the hardships like arguments, distance, interference, etc. then how will you know that the love you have is true and can conquer life’s most difficult hurdles? I’m only speaking from personal experience of course.

4. Misery loves company. It’s true, but it’s the wrong company.

Some believe that the best way to help themselves through a hard time is to help others out of theirs. And while that may be helping them, you’re really not helping yourself at all.

I’m going to use an airplane as an example. What does the flight attendant say if there ends up being an emergency on the plane and everyone needs to put oxygen masks on? They always tell you to put the mask on yourself before you help others around you. The same is said about love, advice, and helping others. Before you can love someone else, you must love yourself. Before you can give advice to others, you have to take your own advice. Therefore, before you can help others, you need to help yourself.

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5. You can only truly love someone else, once you love yourself.

I know this phrase was said above, but I never understood this saying until this year. Believe it or not.

I always felt like loving my appearance and being confident was the key to loving myself. But what I didn’t know was that I didn’t love who I was on the inside. I realized that on a solo trip across Europe in 2015. From then until my birthday this year, I’ve really been working hard to manifest the person I dream to be on the inside. I’m constantly writing lists of goals I’d like to accomplish and traits that I’d like to improve (like being more positive!) to begin to take steps in the right direction.

6. God’s love for each and everyone of us is like an overflowing cup.

Whether you believe in God or not, the more we spread the love and support to others around us, the more we receive from God (or the universe). It’s a positive cycle of peace and caring. When I think about how some people can hold in so much negativity and anger in their hearts, it really makes me tired. It’s so much easier and more satisfying to be nice. One of the goals I have each day is to do something nice to someone. It doesn’t have to be someone I know, but literally anyone. Finding happiness and satisfaction in helping others, putting a smile, or making someone’s day is really one of life’s easiest-to-obtain rewards.

7. If you think you’re going through hard times, you’re not alone.

Every single living being in this world is dealing with their own problems whether it’s big or small. Something that really helps is finding an outlet to release that negativity and brainstorm solutions. Whether it’s a family member, friend, therapist, online community, or social media, anything helps. I’ve had issues in my life where I felt like the world was crumbling. I felt like everyone in the world was just out to gain my trust and leave me hanging when I needed them the most. But after speaking to others, I was able to really analyze my problems and truly see them from a different perspective. Remember, the fact that you’re even talking about it, means you’re already taking actions towards fixing it. A lot of my solace comes from Reddit communities.

8. Even in a relationship, you need to be independent.

Just because you’re a couple, doesn’t mean you need to do absolutely everything together. This is hard for me because a lot of my true happiness is felt when I’m doing something I enjoy with the person I love. But being independent and prioritizing your own needs / errands (like going to the gym, taking a class, or going out with your friends) isn’t a bad thing nor does it put a thorn into your relationship. If anything, it strengthens it. Everyone is their own person and once in awhile, they need to enjoy being alone also.

Camille Co with her boyfriend Jerico Orfao

9. When you think you’ve hit rock bottom, know that you won’t be stuck there forever.

There’s only one way to go from there, and that’s up. Yes, that’s a Bridesmaids reference.

10. Get used to people coming in and out of your life.

This ties into my biggest insecurity — trust. Just looking at that word makes me anxious. To say the least, I’ve been burnt many times by giving the wrong people my faith. I’ve had my fair share of relationships go down the drain only to realize that they betrayed me and didn’t have the decency to even admit their fault to my face. Therefore, so burnt that now my judgment of who I can trust is completely off. I know I’m not alone when I say I’ve been cheated on. Unfortunately, it’s a growing epidemic in relationships now with the rise of technology and social media. But I don’t want to end this post on that negative note so here’s a bonus*

*Sometimes people come back in.

I’m not talking about the cheaters, because you should never let those people back in. They don’t deserve the amazing person that you are / are becoming. I’m talking about the people who are going through difficult times in life. We all go through ups and downs and for some, the way they handle those tough periods is alone. It’s not because they don’t want to be part of your life, it’s because they need to be alone to figure out what it is that they want out of life. I’ve had friends completely ghost me for years, only to come back, say they’re out of the hole and want to reconnect. Those situations initially make me upset because of the disappearance but it quickly turns around when I hear that things have gotten better and they didn’t want to actually let our friendship fade.

Similar to my solo trip, I completely disappeared from social media, and didn’t do much socializing until I was able to figure out what my next plan of action was for my life. So if any of your former friends comes back running, I hope you welcome them back with open arms.

Did any of these hit close to home for you? And if not, what are the best life lessons you learnt in 2018?


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