I struggled to write this review not because there was nothiing to be grateful for but because so much happened in several areas and so I went back to read my 2016 review as a base. 2017 was quite a good year but I have struggled a little with theming it.
I know I said in my 2016 review that I was pushed out of my comfort zone, 2017 was even more of that. But this girl was ready. I enjoyed the year (mostly), learned to just take it one day at a time, travelling as light as I possibly could. I had started the year deciding to be impactful but it was amazing to see that one step after the other, as I gave voice and focus to my intent, I was able to live it out. I travelled some more, enjoyed my solo time immersing in other cultures and people and just allowing my light shine.
It takes a special grace to genuinely rejoice with those who rejoice when they appear to be living the life you want to live. I walked in that grace this year, the grace to recognise that others are blessed in areas where I’m not and being genuinely grateful for them. I thought I had mastered the art of deliberate gratitude in the face of all that until I took up a challenge to not complain for 10 consecutive days. Not one complaint!!! I flunked the test twice and had to start all over but that helped change my perspective. It was not an easy task and sometimes I had to catch myself from complaining. I realised every complaint was potentially something to be grateful for depending on perspective. But it was a whole attitude change and I found out that it made my journey of rejoicing much easier. The rest of the year through from then, even in the face of some obvious disappointments, my initial response was not to complain. It also helped to view each unpleasant situation as one that could be improved upon rather than a failure simply because it did not turn out the way I desired.
My self-reflection game became stronger. I’m learning that it is really important to be able to correct one’s self and be better every day without necessarily becoming self denigrating when one isn’t acting as one should or where one should be. It’s okay to admit one isn’t where they should be without writing off the past as a failure. However, I’ve owned my good and not so good decisions and their impact on my 2017.
Thanks to a few setbacks earlier in the year, I finally learned to take better charge of my health, from my vitamins to physical activity. I made sure I.ticked off my health care goals.
You know, the thing about learning is that it is often undergirded by pain. The pain that is mitigated when we see others make a success of their lives because we shared our lessons with them I felt that pain in 2017 and also enjoyed the redemption of my pain. I also went through the pain and vulnerability of finally realising that it was simply a walk of grace. Now when I say that all that I am is by the grace of God, I mean it.
My faith journey was one of the highlights of 2017. I discovered grace afresh, away from efforts or burden. The love of God was even richer when I failed. I enjoyed God and saw the word of God work wonders and enjoyed such comfort in the place of my fellowship with Abba. I decided that it was going to be a year of deepening rather than broadening so I flooded my mind with teachings, I joined new study groups and stayed in the shadows, it was so refreshing. I learned so much with such practicality too. I enjoyed the fellowship of other women, amazing in their expressions of life and faith and without knowing they empowered me to be and do. My gifting found expression as I yielded myself daily. Purpose truly is revealed in daily obedience. There were rough days, but here we are…
God came through for my siblings and me. I received a new nephew and niece whom I cannot wait to meet and my grandma turned 80. The woman ‘kukuma’ used that opportunity to download her blessings upon me with her right hand. My parents enjoyed good health and for that I am immensely grateful. My people were excelling!!! I saw my Downtown Crew make such significant progress, like everyone has grown up. Seeing answered prayers left, right and centre gave me courage to believe. We made progress this year and we are grateful. My uncle and aunt were such a blessing, such quiet unrelenting support.
This was one area where I believe I did well versus my targets. Beyond just the short and medium term investment goals though, I finally learned to spend on myself. I’m that woman who can gift others what she wouldn’t buy herself and for whom paying yourself first was hitherto somewhat theoretical. Naah, I practicalised it in 2017 and I loved it too.
Friendships…I was not as good a friend as I wanted to be.
Truth be told, one of the biggest assets I have is my relationships. In 2017, I am not sure how but my life was so full. Deliberately at first because I did not want any idle time for needless soliloquy, but that took its toll. So many times, I was behind in terms of reaching out to friends and family that I loved. And afterwards, I was often too ashamed to reach out still so it got worse. I really could not explain how in some way, stepping out was great but it was tearing me apart. There was always somewhere to be, some place to go. But more than ever before in my life, stretched as they were, my friends were there for me when I was hardly there. It reinforced the truth of the relationships not being 50/50. Sometimes its 80/20, sometimes even -20/+120. Someone needs to be willing to pick up the slack for another and I saw this first hand.
Professionally, I think it was a good year. I didn’t achieve all I set out to but I made progress in terms of my career and I learned and did new things. I think I owned that inspirational, mentoring side of me and allowed it flourish. It felt great to offer such invaluable support to others and watch them grow. I have always been a firm believer in the power of executive presence. The ability to not just fade away in a corporate environment and I harnessed same and I’m still working on it. I got a chance to be there in a small way for my mentor’s daughter. It was like coming full circle and she may never know but it was such an honour to give back. There’s a lot more ahead in 2018 but we will be ready to deal our unfinished business.
Ranting is great! I will do it some more
I earned myself a few older friends and they graciously provided a base for me to rant to rather than internalise my frustrations many times. 2017 was that year where I sometimes fell asleep in a calm boat amid weather predictions of calm and woke up to a tumultuous storm. I ranted, from home to work to everything. I vented and amid all of that, self-healed as I am wont to do. 2017 showed me myself, my strengths, my weaknesses, all afresh. I learned to not apologise so much, and to say no without trying to explain why. NO is good enough. I learned that I couldn’t be there as much as I wanted to be for everyone I wanted to be there for. A lot of the time, I was really holding myself together and people hardly thought to send me courage because it is ‘Eloho’, she will be okay. I’m going to send special thank you messages to these amazing people who provided their ears to listen to my silence, bear with my lengthy rants and offered their shoulders to bear my teary head.
I affirmed that one’s untested strengths could be their biggest weaknesses.
There is a place of absolute humility when one fails in an area that one considers a strength as an unfortified and untested strength is very often a weakness. Life itself stretches us and where we do not develop our strengths, they end up becoming our weakest link. Believe me, I walked that path this year. It was a very numbing and humbling place. But my grace to empathise from a judgement free place was enhanced. I did not even realise I had the capacity to take on all the burdens that I took on. It was quite a lot and as tasking as it was, I came into a renewed sense of purpose of not living for self.
It certainly is around the corner. I can feel it. J
More like, I am ready for it.
2018… is going to be lit. First because all I’ve learned has prepared me for it and also because I’m ready to war for what’s mine. I’m ready to make decisions and take the actions that deliver the future I seek. Life is a battle ground and there’s no demilitarised zone yeah? So we are mapping out the territory and going ahead to possess the land. I will be a better friend, definitely and Abba and I got it covered. There’s a few broken bridges I need to mend and I will be more deliberate and intentional. I will live; I will be random; I will be spontaneous; I will laugh; I will explore; I will travel; I will cry; I will make people laugh; I will hear laughter; I will do fun things; I will be unapologetically present at life’s table; I will be deliberate about showing up wherever I am; I will inspire others and I will be inspired.
In 2018, I will establish balance, I will live.