The Things I’ve Learned

Well folks, my time in Australia is coming to a close this week. I have had some really amazing highs and I have also had some lows. This gap year that I have taken was the best decision I could have made for myself. The things I have learned out here are true life experiences and I am so grateful for this opportunity. With it being my last week I wanted to take some time to share with you a few of the things that I have learned this past year.

Number One: I can be so selfish at times. I have more than what I need back home yet I always desire more. I always think about being in the Akha hill tribe and how selfless those people were. In my eyes, that village didn’t have much to be smiling about yet they were the most generous and giving people I have ever met. They kept giving and giving and giving… It made me understanding that coveting isn’t what makes us most happy in life. And that leads me to my next point.
Number Two: you can be happy with the simplest things in life. When the focus is on continuing to have the next best thing and to do that most awesome thing there is always going to be “something better”. What needs to be on our minds is the present moment and to be happy with what we do have because that is the one thing we can count on.
Number Three: Having patience is a virtue. I come from a place that is so fast paced. We live in a mentality that we have to get things done the second we hear about them. During my time here I have learned that not only giving people time but also giving yourself time will be beneficial in the long run.
Number Four: Planning is key. Now you can ask anyone back home and they will tell you that I am already a huge planner. However, getting lost with our group in a big unknown city made me realize how important it is to plan some of the little things as well. Now I know planning isn’t a huge thing and isn’t for everyone, but having a plan and sticking to it is so nice. For me, it just feels so good to make a solid plan for the day and going about the day with a purpose.
Number Five: I love my family more than I ever knew. It one of those things where the saying “You don’t know what you have until it’s gone” comes into play. My family isn’t completely gone that’s for sure but not being with them and being able to talk to them every day has made me realize how much they mean to me. I don’t know what I would do without them. They are my strongest support network I could ever ask for and I wouldn’t change it for anything in the world. I have learned how to be independent and to get through things when all I wanted to do was get on the next plane home. But being so far away caused me not to do that. Being homesick was terrible yes, but it made me so much stronger than I could have ever imagined.
Number Six: Make the most out of the moment you have. This one might be my favorite thing that I have learned and it is something I actually learned from my grandpa. When I first came out to Australia I kind of had second thinking. Was coming here the right thing for me? Did I make the right choice? It is here that he told me something that I will never forget. He said, “Kaitlyn, I don’t want you to think that way. For one reason or another, you made this decision. There had to be some kind of pushing factor behind that. What you need to do now is focus on making this decision the right decision because you can’t go back in time and change it.” I have thought about that a lot here, more than he will ever know. So I am going to leave this as the last note of knowledge. Live your days with a purpose and trying to make every decision the right one.
This gap year has truly changed my life with everything, these six things are only a tiny glimpse of the things I have learned. Big hugs.
Kaitlyn