Honestly, I thought I would be writing this with a completely different frame of mind. I’d imagined I would be spread out on my mum’s bed, sipping some wine, and wrestling the little one with one hand as my other hand typed away leisurely. The fact that I’m writing this last-minute, sitting upright on a bed in a house that isn’t mine or my mother’s, clacking away furiously at the keyboard, still trying to gather my thoughts into some cohesiveness should give you a preview of what my year has been like. No? Let’s get right into it, then.
Everything I Learned in 2016; Because Telling You Every Single Damn Thing That Actually Happened Would Probably Take Me The Whole Entire Day
Don’t Kill Yourself Making Someone Else’s Dreams Come True
I changed jobs twice this year. The first time, I didn’t have much of a choice as the company folded up and the owner refused to pay us. The second time, was by choice. This year, I realised you will wake up at an hour you may not be entirely comfortable with, go to work, slave away, get back home too tired/late to do something for yourself, go to bed, and then repeat the cycle. And for what? At the end of the day, your boss can wake up one day and decide they don’t need you anymore, and you’re out of a job. As far as this person is concerned, you have done your part in realising their dream, and now they have no use for you.
Don’t Be Afraid To Be Selfish
Because everyone else is; at east to some extent. I actually spent a lot of time mentally reviewing my year, I realised I spent most of this year making everyone but myself happy. Like, I would help people out, and share without thinking about it and these same people just shut me down whenever I reached out to them. Some gave the flimsiest excuses, and others just did it because it’s what they do. And this is fine. Because at the end of the day, your happiness is what matters. If looking out for only you is what will give you happiness, then go ahead and do that. I know I will.
Be Selective of Who You Tell Your Problems
Of course, I wasn’t going around telling the whole world my problems. But this year, I learned even telling the people you consider your friends your problems might not be the best move. Instead, actively seek out problem solvers. Being told “sorry” or “eyaahhh, pele” is not going to pay your house rent. If the person you are sharing with cannot provide or help in providing an actionable solution, maybe keep it to yourself?
Love Is Not A Bargaining Chip, It Is Not A Toy, It Is Not Enough
Love is a strong motivator, but, when the chips are down, you’re going to have to find something much stronger to back it up. Your love will be tested, and it is all those other little things that you hopefully paid attention to that will help you find your way back. In the same vein, you cannot use love to hold a person to random. Just because you love someone doesn’t mean they have to love you back, and you have to be able to realise this and let people go. In that very same vein again, it’s important not to take a person’s love for granted, because, like I said, love will be tested and you don’t want them to only see an ingrate when the scales fall from their eyes.
Be Thankful Always
It’s not a lot, but I learned how important it is to find at least one thing to be thankful for. Even if that thing is that I am alive. At least, I am alive; some people can’t boast of the same thing (or even at all). When you’re thankful, it kind of opens you up to the possibility of things getting better. Your brain kind of thinks “Oh, hey. I have this. And if I have this, I can probably get more.”. It gets hard, but it’s something worth practicing.
Just Start; If You Build It, They Will Come
I spent most of this year waiting for a lot to happen. If I wasn’t waiting for money, I was waiting for time, or for one thing I thought I needed. What happened? Nothing. I ended up doing nothing. Until I woke up one day and decided to just start. Now, I only wish I had just done that sooner. Don’t let your hopes and dreams die away because you’re waiting for something. Start with what you have, and everything else will fall into place.
2016 was a trying year in so many ways, and I had hoped so much would happen for me. And I thought I was going to write about everything that went wrong this year, but somehow I didn’t. Somehow, while writing this, I realised I actually grew. Not as much as I would have liked, but I grew. I may not be able to boast of much, but I finally started a subscription box I’ve been planning for almost a year (shameless plug), I made amazing new friends, and I left a job where I was under appreciated and under paid for a better one. I thought I was going to end this year, feeling miserable but now I refuse to. I’m going to end this year being grateful for the opportunities it afforded me in the despair, and carry the lessons I learned into the New Year.