It was the year that Jacob Zuma’s presidential term FINALLY came to an end, the global economy grew by about 3% and Bitcoin became more popular than gluten-free bread. On a personal note, 2017 was the year I was shown what it costs to be myself, and the reward too. In the words of Donald Miller:
“It costs personal fear to be authentic, but the reward is integrity. By that I mean a soul fully integrated, no difference between your social act and your actual person. Having integrity is about being the same person on the inside that we are on the outside, and if we don’t have integrity, life becomes exhausting.”
Here are 4 lessons that I didn’t learn from reading the news in 2017:
1) Mental health is a thing
I touched on this in last year’s recap “3 Reasons 2016 Wasn’t Actually The Worst Year”. We all get mental bumps and scrapes; we all encounter moments of shame in our lives and things that detract from our ability to be our true, authentic selves. This year I learnt that my mental health is equally as important as my physical health and there are plenty of ways to look after your mind:
An apple a day keeps the doctor away… and an Oprah podcast a day keeps the loony bin at bay.
So the above was a joke… but having said that! Exercise (especially yoga), podcasts, mindfulness, sleep, time with people who bring out the best in you, a good morning and night routine, a healthy diet, a digital diet all do wonders for the mind. Get back to basics, get in touch with what makes you feel good – it’s intuitive.
2) Gotta have grit
In 2016, I thought that achieving a permanent state of happiness would solve all my problems… that if I just got a bit fitter, a better wardrobe, quit smoking, went to bed at 10pm every night, drank 8 glasses of water a day, discovered my dream job, and met a good guy… I’d be right as rain! I looked at all the people I followed on social media, isolating the people I envied in one form or another and curated my ideal life.
This year I realised that life is beautiful, chaotic and full I things I don’t have control over. I learnt that you gotta have grit to wake up every morning and get out of bed and that you aren’t going to be happy all the time but that’s ok… because one thing that we can all be assured of is that change is inevitable. So if you’re happy, enjoy it because you won’t be forever, and if you’re sad or going through a difficult time – know that it too shall pass.
Watch this Ted Talk on “Grit: The Power and Passion of Perserverance” by Angela Lee Duckworth.
3) Acknowledge your phone addiction
There was a moment this year where I realised that my phone and I needed a time out. The amount of time I spent on my phone, looking at my phone, holding my phone, thinking about my phone… was not a way to live! So I did a 30 day social media detox, and I turned off my “Last Seen” on Whatsapp, and I bought a watch so that I didn’t use that as an excuse to check my phone.
I still don’t like how much I use my phone, and how I STILL manage to get caught up in a ceaseless social media scroll… but I am proud that I went on a digital diet, and that that digital diet taught me what life would be like if I spent less time on my phone and social media… for me, it’s a better way to live and I will be exploring this more in 2018.
4) Love thyself
And last but not least, I’m getting better at loving myself. Another gem from David Miller’s book ‘Scary Close’:
“The whole experience makes me wonder if the time we spend trying to become somebody people will love isn’t wasted because the most powerful, most attractive person we can be is who we already are, an ever changing being that is becoming and will never arrive, but has opinions about what is seen a long the journey.”
We can all get caught up in trying to be someone that other people will accept and love, but this is ultimately a waste of time. I’ve experienced a lot of performance anxiety throughout my twenties… I didn’t have a particularly strong sense of self so I relied on my friends, family and romantic relationships to validate me. This made me feel less like a sketch and more like a person. But this also put a lot of pressure on my peoples. I love my peoples, but I don’t want them to have to complete me… like poor Renee Zellweger in Jerry Maguire.
So in summary, look after your mind, persevere with the things that are important to you, spend less time on your phone and be kind to yourself!
What were your biggest learnings from the past year? Thanks for reading my blog in 2017, here’s a giphy glass of bubbly to celebrate.