6 Life Lessons Learnt in 2016



2017 starts in a few hours and I'm sure we're all excited and looking forward to a new and hopefully wonderful year. This time last year I wrote about lessons I learnt in marriage and I mentioned on twitter that I would do a recap this year too. I started to write about marriage again when I realised that all the lessons I learnt were applicable to every facet of my life. So here are six life lessons I learnt in 2016:


1. To be more mindful.

I started this year very determined to live as positively as possible. Thankfully, most days I managed to stay positive. There were moments that could have made this year a write-off but I've chosen to be optimistic and to be more mindful. Mindfulness is about being present, body and mind, in moments as they unfold. In this fast-paced social media age we live in, mindfulness is quite difficult to practice. We are constantly recording the moments for Instagram or Snapchat rather than fully taking in and enjoying them. One of the ways I learnt to practice a little more mindfulness this year is to go off social media for blocks of time and put my phone away. For me this actually meant deleting the apps to avoid temptation. You'd be AMAZED how you can really connect with your surroundings when there's no tech in the way. I plan to continue this practice in 2017.


2. To pray more.

I grew up in a strict Christian home (shoutout to all the Pastor's Kids out there!) so for me prayer was always just a formality. It was absolutely liberating when sometime in my late teens I discovered that prayer didn't have to be confined to a format and I could pray whenever and however I wanted to and God was listening. This year, I tapped into a new understanding of the power of prayer. It went beyond a way to make a request or to thank or worship God. It also became therapeutic. Some people turn to meditation or yoga, others to therapists or drugs but praying does it for me. To be able to pour my heart out: all my frustrations, my worries, my pain and even my overwhelming joy in prayer has been a a huge source of comfort during the most trying times this year.


3. To be more grateful.

So many things happened this year that kept reminding to be grateful. Moving to a new home and the birth of my daughter are some of the highlights. But there were many low points too and all of them taught me to ALWAYS be grateful. And you know what? The more time I spent in gratitude, the less time I spent feeling sorry for myself when things didn't go right. It's not as easy as it sounds theoretically but it really is good practice for maintaining a positive outlook.


4. To give back more.

There's nothing like helping people. Absolutely nothing like putting a smile on someone's face directly or indirectly. This year I was blessed to meet and support so many women online and offline in different ways. In the process of helping others, I found my own joy and peace. My burdens were often carried by other people and usually at the most unexpected times. I really pray that doors of opportunity continue to open for me to be a blessing to more people in 2017.


5. To stop limiting myself. 

On several occasions this year, I learnt that I'm not the risk-taker I thought I was. In fact, I'm an over-thinker. I have many ideas and projects, some of them quite good. But I often overanalyse and somehow talk myself out of executing anything at all. Something changed this year and I realised that I need to stop limiting myself. Last year I went through a phase when I felt like I had nothing to offer the world. Afterall, I was just a wife and mother who took photos here and there. In the grand scheme of things, how was I impacting the world? But no more thinking like that! I'm going into the new year with this quote by Mother Teresa firmly in my mind, "Not all of us can do great things. But we can do small things with great love." 


6. To live life to the fullest. 

I used to think that the phrase "life is short" was a cliché but now I understand what it means. I can remember being six or seven years old like it was yesterday. Feels like I blinked and I went from being that little girl to who I am now. The last 5 years have happened so fast thinking about it makes me dizzy. I look back at everything and I'm so amazed. I guess the point I'm trying to make is, life does go fast and tomorrow is not even guaranteed! I met several people this year who didn't necessarily have their lives together but found joy in living full lives anyway. They inspired me and now I'm determined to make every moment of my life count.


WOW! 2016 packed a wallop didn't it? I know it was a tough year for many and it is my prayer that 2017 will be the best year of our lives so far. My family and I are heading out in a bit to church as we do every year to cross over into the new year with a service of praying and singing. In the morning we'll join my husband's family for a party! How are you spending your New Year celebration? 

I wish you all the very best of 2017. HAPPY NEW YEAR!