2017 went by quicker than expected and I’m only just catching my breath and easing into holiday mode. It was both challenging and rewarding and everything in between, with many lessons learned, tears shed and memories made. I thought whilst laying low in Durban I’d jot down a few retrospective thoughts on what 2017 taught me:
1| Don’t be afraid to step out of your comfort zone. This is something I have learned again and again while establishing a new life and career in Johannesburg. Take risks, try new things, talk to a stranger, ask questions, and most importantly, grow.
2| Don’t take your health for granted. Ever.
3| Blogging is harder than it looks, and requires grit – a lot of it.
4| Be content, but never complacent. Be comfortable, but never stagnant. Be patient, but also make that shit happen!
5| Friendships require effort and understanding. You will never like everything about one person, so don’t expect one friend to fit the perfect friendship mold. I’d always thought that I should have one friend that encompasses everything I like in a person, but I’ve found that some friends are better at different things. The friend who challenges your ideologies with complex and mind-blowing conversations or the friend who will dance the night away with you. Appreciate the specific qualities that your friends have and be grateful that you have them in your life.
6| A positive affirmation a day keeps the therapist away. Love yourself despite your flaws. Forgive yourself when you’ve made a mistake.
7| You can’t control or change people. You can give them advice or a new perspective but it is ultimately up to them to make their choice. Also don’t expect too much from people. And don’t trust too easily.
8| Spend money on experiences. Go away for the weekend, plan an adventure abroad, or even just go out for dinner at that new Italian restaurant. You won’t regret the memories you make, but you will regret splurging on those shoes you didn’t need.
9| Be informed, not just opinionated. And whatever you do, DO NOT engage in keyboard activism – social media rants and commentary will not change the world, not even the minds of the people it’s directed at. If you want to instigate change, do something about it, because tweeting about the gender pay-gap or Donald Trump’s hair from the safety of behind your phone or computer does not make you a vigilante, it makes you a coward with access and an opinion.
10| Take care of your body, it’s the only one you have in this life.
11| Be present; the past is over and the future is obscure, so embrace the moment for as long as it lasts.
12| Indulge in life’s guilty pleasures; eat the last piece of cake or order extra fried chips, but everything in moderation.
13| Do your best. I’ve learned that the path to a sustainable lifestyle is a journey, not a destination, and even the smallest action can make the biggest impact. Recycle, grow some veggies, and go from there.
14| Don’t compare yourself to anyone. While a little competition is healthy, measuring your successes against those around you is futile and unhelpful.
15| Spending an entire day watching Friends re-runs whilst in your pyjamas (even on the weekend) is not a sad event but a sure way to de-stress, unwind, and recenter.
16| Bikini waxes prove that nothing in life worth having is easy – or painless.
17| Treasure the ones who are always there for you; the ones who cheer you on even after you fail. The ones who make you laugh even when it feels like the world is crashing down around you. The ones who know you’re not perfect and love you for it. Those are few and far between.0