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And just that, 2019 is drawing to a close, and it’s time to pack away the fine china used for Christmas for reuse next year. Everyone will be shifting their focus from gifting to others to buying for themselves as the stores announce their sales, and of course, the excitement that the New Year brings. As we steadily approach 2020, our timelines will be filled with posts emphasising how 2019 was filled with moments that made 2019 everyone’s best year thus far.  Meanwhile, some of us are flicking through our photo gallery and saved Snapchat memories trying to find an ‘Insta/Facebook-worthy’ post with a creative caption solidifying how great 2019 was for us. However, it doesn’t exist, or we feel like it doesn’t add up to everyone else’s posts.

As we brace ourselves for a New Year, many of us, overtly or covertly are eager to say goodbye to 2019. If you are anything like me, then, you and I are ready to wave goodbye and slam the door shut on 2019. This year felt like it was neverending; like I was stuck in what seemed like an endless loop of bad dreams. Although I was blessed with some great dreams as well, the bad was enough for me to say I am ready to accept the lessons learned, but I am more than ready for a New Year.

Unlike most of the posts that I have seen and will undoubtedly see on social media for the duration of the festive season, I do not have any significant Insta-worthy post accomplishments for this year. I did not get engaged, I did not purchase a new home, I did not get extravagant Christmas gifts and I do not have any cute matching PJ pictures to post; in fact, I did not take ONE single picture on Christmas. I suppose what you can say is that 2019 gifted me with enlightenment (and a new laptop table for my bed).

One day, in retrospect, the years of struggle will strike you as the most beautiful.

Sigmund Freud

We have reached that time of year when we look back on the past twelve months and how they have treated us, or better yet, how we have responded to the treatment received over the past year. Our achievements and failures, our highs and lows and of course, our lessons learned all go into perspective. As we relive the last 365 days, we loudly and publically proclaim and comment on how quickly the year has gone. However, most of us shout and scream silently how we felt like we were drowning and constantly treading in shit, and how slow the year seemed to pass.

It is also at this time of year when our timelines will be flooded with resolutions that have been recycled over the years. We will see posts declaring how grateful people are because of what they received during Christmas (forgetting about the other moments of the year that didn’t cost a dime). We will witness people professing how 2020 will be their year; the year they stop allowing people to take advantage of them, the year they put themselves first, the year that is all about them etc.

Although my tone may seem a little cynical, I promise I am not totally mad at the posts. I mean, we have all participated in the New Year New Me Squad; I know I have. The start of a new year tends to generate feelings of a fresh start; the idea of a chance to start again with a clean slate are feelings we all feel.

I believe everything happens for a reason, and with that, I believe we endure moments of loneliness, darkness, let downs, heartache and pain so that we can genuinely appreciate pleasure, the light, love and fulfilment when we find it. Everything that happens to us has a purpose. I know you are saying that parking ticket or speeding ticket or the public humiliation on Facebook that you received this year couldn’t possibly have a purpose; but I promise you it does. We will not always immediately understand why we have endured the tough times; however, eventually, it will all make sense.

Undoubtedly, 2019 was filled with moments I wish I could redo and plenty that I wish never happened, moments that I will never forget and ones that I wish I could. I have witnessed, observed and learned so much about the people in my life and ultimately, who I am as a person, and I have gained so much strength and understanding about myself. I have accepted traits about myself that others would consider a flaw, and I still have a lot more to learn, but these are a few things that 2019 has taught me.

10 Things 2019 Taught Me About Life, People And Myself.

    1. Surviving This Year Was The Main Accomplishment For Many.

      For many people, 2019 was not a great year; it was filled with loss after loss, financial hardships, unwanted drama, unemployment, heartache and what seemed like an endless amount of pain and tears. There will be a lot of people that will find it difficult to recollect on the good moments and or blessings of the year. My message to you is this👇🏽:

      This year may have brought you to your knees, broken your spirit, challenged your strength and questioned all that you are. However, you made it; you survived. There were moments of loneliness, heartache and thoughts when you felt like you could not possibly take another blow or last another minute but you survived the round; albeit a little bruised, but not totally broken. So, if you are (although I am sure you are) beating yourself up for not accomplishing all or any of your goals and dreams this year, remember that you have achieved the most significant goal: living through the struggles and pain that you endured with the ability to start fresh in the New Year.

    2. Understand your friends and the category they fall in.

      We all have different types of friends, and most of us categorise them as Best Friend, Associate/Acquantaince or just a Friend; I could be missing some, but for me, these are the usual terms. Earlier this year, I was speaking to a friend who suggested that I categorise my friendships due to the stress I was experiencing. At this point, I didn’t put this into action just yet; in fact, I didn’t start this until later on in the year (the last few months). Coincidentally, while scouring the internet soon after our talk, I came across a post on BetterAfter50.Com about categorising your friends. The author is a therapist and believes that there are benefits to using categories, and she uses these:

      • Breakfast Friends: A person you know from your daily routine (a lady who catches the same bus as you).
      • Lunch Friends: People you choose to sit with during lunch, whether at school or work cafeteria.
      • Dinner Friends: The people you purposely contact to meet up with because you want to not because you have or need to.
      • Sleepover Friends: Someone you are incredibly close with and can share almost anything with, it is not limited to a friend, it could be a spouse or family member.

      This year has shown me that it is ok not to have so many Dinner and Sleepover Friends and more Breakfast and Lunch Friends. I have always been the type to want more Dinner and Sleepover Friends, but I am learning that not only is it ok, but, it is not all that it is cracked up to be. I have started to implement my own version of friendship categories to minimise the letdowns and upsets. I understand that some friends will only be my Party Friends, very few are The Next Best Thing To A Best Friend, few will be Trust Friends, and some are purely Small Talk Friends. By categorising your friendships, you can remove the expectations and accept them for who they are and the role they play in your life.

    3. You will n e v e r be able to please everyone, no matter how hard you try. 

      We are all individuals with our own opinions, thoughts, likes and dislikes—attempting to determine what makes everyone that comes into your life happy is not only a recipe for exhaustion and disaster but is a sure-fire way to lose who you are. Of course, we should still be respectful and understanding that there will be moments when we will disagree with those that we care about. We can also try to make an effort to create a middle ground; meet those whom you love and care for the most in the middle. In doing so, we are not losing who we are or what we believe in; we are simply compromising for those we know would not only do the same for us but would appreciate the effort made. 

    4. Do not confuse a degree with intelligence; a degree does not mean smart.

      Congratulations to all of those whom have graduated this year and have maintained their humility. For many graduates, they seem to believe that they are now the Queen Bee. However, I am shocked to see that most of these people cannot spell nor do they know the difference between there, they’re, their, to or too. Yes, we all make mistakes, but at what point does it no longer become a mistake… constantly maybe? A degree is text printed on a piece paper that confirms that you have passed your specific field of study. A degree does not mean intelligence; I know people who have paid for their assignments to be completed just to secure their degree.

      I, myself, currently have no degrees and I continuously beat myself up because of it; however, do not confuse this lesson with me being a Bitter Betty. I have learned that social media has the ability to reveal plenty fools and bullies. I have seen degree holders declare their achievements and demand respect claiming to know it all yet continuously use to instead of too, their insead of they’re. STOP thinking that because you were presented with this piece of card paper that you are  now holier than thou. Education is lifelong, there is always more to learn; humble yourself.  

    5. Every penny adds up, just like small blessings.

      Everything will not go to plan; there will be moments when nothing seems to be going ‘right’, but if you look hard and close enough, you will see your blessing. If I go into a grocery store or any business for that matter, and I pay for the majority of my goods with pennies, does that mean that I cannot afford my purchase? No. It simply means that I am paying in a less favourable and more time-consuming way. The same goes for small blessings. Of course, we would love one big blessing or miracle instead of small little bits that will later add up to something great. However, life doesn’t always give us what we want, how we want it, and when we want it.  

      We will all face difficult times, no one is exempt from this, and no matter what you are going through, if you look closely, you will find your penny that will add up. I have spent years questioning, doubting and being angry because I felt like I was in the same spot. However, after looking closely, I was able to see the smaller blessings that have started to add up. I am not perfect, and I still have to remind myself daily to look for my small blessings; however, I believe that there is only up from here. 

    6. Everone makes mistakes.

      Well, I have definitely had my share of mistakes—everyone has. Some mistakes I have repeated over and over. Don’t beat yourself up. Everything happens for a reason, and there is always something to learn from your mistakes so accept it as a lesson learned and try not walk down the same path making the same choices. Mistakes are there to teach us and help us grow, sometimes we can utilise the lessons learned to help others.

    7. You do not always need to plead your case.

      Not every action deserves your long term attention nor your response. Yes, when someone fucks us over, crosses us, hurts us or just disappoints us, it is natural to want to respond. However, it is not always worth it. Some people will n e v e r see how foul their actions were/are.

      I have learned that I looovvveeee to plead my case; I have this urge and need to want to let people know when they have negatively impacted me. BUT, 2019 has shown me that people are blind to their bullshit, but are QUICK to call you out for something you have done. I have learned that living ad speaking my truth does not always mean verbally; silence speaks volumes. Some people will only ever see things from their perspective are not capable of seeing things from someone else’s point of view, even if you have receipts to prove their wrongdoing. 

      Learn to be ok with only you knowing your truth; understand that you will not always get the opportunity to say your side and let the false blame fall to your feet and step over it. 

    8. Friends, they come and go.

      Friends, one of my triggers, something else I learned this year. I swear I have been learning this little nugget for most of my teen/adult life. I would say that the older we get, the more we notice who is really our friends, but, I do not even think age plays as huge of a factor as I thought. As we get older those that we were friends with since school days are all entering different stages and going through life’s hurdles. We are learning adulthood; we are getting married, having kids, working full-time and all of the other adultish. Shit, some of us are still trying to figure out our place in the world.  Our priorities change, and the free time we used to have to party, talk all hours, yeah, that is gone. 

      I have learned that there are a few combinations that will reveal who is there to stay for the foreseeable future, who has your back, who supports you, and who makes an effort. 

      • You do not have to hide who you are.
      • Your mental state should not be an excuse for them not to keep it 100 with you.

      • They will make time. We all have a life to live and responsibilities; however, you cannot be the only one to reach out and make time.

      • You will never be a burden to them. We all go through our battles, and we should be able to reach out to our friends in our time of need. Granted, they may not always be available at that moment, but when they can, they will be there.
      • Gossip. We all do it, but what sets them apart from the frauds, they are able to own up to what they have said during your arguments or temporary fall-outs. 
      • Support. They support you. It is really that simple, and social media makes it easier.

No matter what we do or how hard we try, once a friendship has run its course, there is no salvaging it. Appreciate them for the time and moments shared and unforgettable memories, but let it go when/if that time comes.

Some friends will resent you for your happiness, growth and success; there is nothing you can do for them; their issue is the lack of happiness they feel within. Life is too short to chase after people; I learned this. Not everyone deserves you as a friend. Know your worth. Life is a precious—share it with those that are deserving, caring, loving and supportive.

If 2019 has taught me anything, it is that I need to keep going; face my fears and demons and allow them to strengthen me on my journey. We will have bad days, but good days will follow. I hope 2020 brings you strength, happiness, success, opportunities and is overall a better year than 2019.

Happy New Year. 

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