Thing is, the past would not let you go, no matter how much you try to run away from it.
Or so you hoped.
New years always give me that jittery feeling, apart from (my own) birthdays. You can see where I’m going to with this, right? I don’t have to elabo- I do? OK.
Well, imagine sitting with your peers/friends/parents on a casual end of year dinner party, you know, all good and fun. And out of the blue, one party pooper (you know you have one even within your inner cliques. FYI, I’m looking at myself here), pops that dreadful question: “So what’s your plan for the new year?”
While the question itself is harmless, I’m somewhat tempted to think that what the inquirer means to say is this: “What are you going to do with your life? Where do you see yourself in five years’ time? Where do you see yourself in ten years’ time? I mean look at yourself and where you are now. Are you sure you’re happy? Are you sure you’re where you’re supposed to be? Have you reached your potential and be the better version than your best self? Can’t you be more like _____ and start to get your sh*t together? Hello, responsibilities?”
Or well, maybe that’s just me when I’m asking myself the same question. Cue negative self-talk all the way. This year’s transition feels a little different, though. I’m somewhat calmer when I’m answering each and every one of those questions, compared to the previous years. I guess as you get older, you tend to enjoy the process of growing up a little bit more and get better at singling out the positives of each passing year.
The biggest takeaway for me this year is this: I don’t want to spend too much trying to make it to a future that still hasn’t happened or avoid the past that would not let me go. Thing is, the past would not let you go, no matter how much you try to run away from it. It sits in the corner of your room silently and at times (more often than not, at the very worst timing) comes over to you, demanding your full attention, wanting to have a (quick) chat, just ‘cos. And it’s up to you whether you’d say yes to its invitation or decline and politely say, “Hi again! We did have a good time, thanks for that. But at the moment I have something important that I have to do, which is being at the present, preparing for my future. So if it’s OK with you, I’ll check in with you in a bit? Just for some lessons and inspirations. KTHXBYE.”
A good while ago, my past came knocking on my door. I welcomed her in and we had a good chat. I looked back at a lot of things that happened in the preceding twelve months and I felt warmth in my chest. I smiled instantly. It has been a whirlwind of a year that started off with a great deal of ambition and aspirations, ended on a mellower tone with an assurance that I actually do have my sh*t together. This assurance didn’t come easily, mind you. It was difficult, took a lot of courage (that came from lots of support from my main support system. After a while you know what/who they are.), came gradually (it took its time), and only arrived when you successfully reached one crucial point in your life: self-acceptance.
All in all, 2015 has been a good year of contemplation and learning. Here’s a (short) list of things that I learned in the past year. I was THIS CLOSE to adding more to it, but thought I shouldn’t go too far as to bore you all with my rambles. So here we go:
- An ending was an ending. Letting go is not as hard as it sounds; it all comes down to willpower.
- Perfectionism crushes you into ruins. That place doesn’t exist, so you should stop trying to get there. Perfection is fiction.
- Know your currency. Don’t discount your achievements. But know that hard work only is not enough.
- Make peace with your past.
- It’s okay to be silent. It’s not okay to be silent.
- You can’t please everyone and you don’t have to please everyone.
- Lift up your head. Put it up right and walk on. Forward. Always forward.
- You’re always where you need to be. You have to be where you are to get to where you need to go.
- Humility can take you to places you never know existed, whether physically or spiritually.
- Life is not all pastel coloured. Waves come and go. You just need to learn to surf through it better. And trust me, you get better at it.
- Do work that you’re proud of. Don’t stop searching until you find one.
- Values. Stick to it, or forever chained by your own guilt. And trust me when I say forgiving yourself is not easy.
- It’s OK to be scared, but it’s not OK to not face your fear.
- People will never forget how you make them feel.
- Acknowledge your loneliness.
- But know that you’re not alone. Never. I promise you this.
- Happiness is in receiving, but contentment is in giving.
- It’s not always your fault. And if it is, apologize.
- The world can wait. Sometimes people with the greatest potentials take longer to realize their paths in life, and it’s not always a bad thing. It’s OK to be late, as long as you turn up prepared.
- Being a better person doesn’t come from how many achievements you have hanging on your wall or remember on top of your head, but from the love you have for others and what service you are to them.
My wish for myself this year is this:
To be (even) happier about growing up, and more importantly to be content – about who I was, who I am and who I will become. To create beautiful things in life, both physically and spiritually, even if nobody cares. To do work with purpose. To dance in the rain, whatever philosophical meaning lies behind it. To take action. To work not only harder, but also smarter, and lastly, to enjoy the ride.
I wish you all beautiful souls a belated happy new year. Let’s take the first action*!
*If you haven’t started it already ;)