How was your 2016 - life-changing, uneventful, challenging, all over the place? What were the high points, the low points, the boring points?
Honestly, your life is a gold mine. You just need to do a little digging. Take a look back on the year that was - not just the memories Facebook cherry picked for you - and pick out the gems of wisdom. Consider how your experiences in 2016 can help you create a positive 2017.
Not sure where to start or just feeling lazy? Feel free to piggy back off my five big life lessons from 2016.
#1 Love is a marathon.
Everyone wants love - romantic love, soulmate friendship, close family bonds. We are wired for love, our species depends on it and, quite frankly, life would be pretty boring without it. But just because love is neccessary, doesn't mean it comes easy.
Love is a marathon. You can't put in a few hard yards and then relax. Love is a long, beautiful, difficult and spectacular journey of personal courage.
Like a marathon, you need to fully commit to love for all the right reasons. You will get hurt. You will hurt. You will need passion and endurance.
Advice: Embrace the messiness of love. Breathe through the difficult times, take incredible care of yourself and show up for the relationships that matter.
#2 Happiness is not the point of life
Happiness - as in, "I feel happy in this moment" - is not the point of life. Collecting a lifetime of feel good moments can make you lose sight of the big picture, and the big picture matters.
Advice: Consider not just 'how can I feel good today?' but 'what kind of life do I want to create?'. Take daily actions that add up to a life you feel proud of.
#3 Embrace uncertaintity (in small doses)
For me, 2016 was anything but predictable. The only certaintity was uncertaintity.
Learning to embrace change and unpredictability is a practice worth mastering. But the truth is humans need some level of stability in order to feel ok. We can't live in a never ending state of upheavel.
Advice: If you are going through a really unpredicable patch in life, anchor to the things you are certain of. Create a list of things (people, places, songs, hobbies etc) to get you through.
#4 Transitions are hard
Transitioning from one thing to the next is tricky. In the no-mans land between tasks, environments, projects, houses or countries it is easy to become overwhelmed, lost, hopeless and dejected.
Transitions are a vulnerable time for your mental health.
Advice: Be generous with self care during times of transitions. Find pleasurable things to buffer the change and seek support when you need it. Remind yourself of all the times you've dealt with change in the past, and the lessons you've learnt.
#5 Life is about experiences, not time
We are all on the countdown to something - dinner, the weekend, birthdays, the new year. If we don't like our current situation, we sit and watch the clock until it changes. If we love our current situation, we keep one eye on the clock hoping it will miraculosuly slow down or stand still. With all this clock watching, it is difficult to live in the moment.
Advice: Define your life by your experienes not by how long they take. Allow each moment in your life to pile up alongside all your other moments, so instead of collecting years, you collect experiences.
These are my 5 big lessons from 2106.
What has 2016 taught you?
Happy New Year!