twenty fifteen.

As the year has quickly come to an end, I am left reflecting on the lessons I have once again learnt and trust me, 2015 has taught me the most.

1. Trust carefully.
This year I have acknowledged the fact that I trust people way too easily. The reality is that people will disappoint you – it’s harsh, but it’s true and unfortunately it’s taken a few of these experiences for me to realise this. When you trust someone, you let down your walls and it is this vulnerability that can be so easily taken advantage of.

2. People come and go.
I see the people we encounter and connect with as one of two things: a message in a bottle or an anchor. They either come into your life merely to teach you a lesson, then just as quickly they drift and move on to be picked up by someone else; or they support, love and encourage you, holding you down when your seas get rough. God will bring people into your life that are meant to be there and they can be a blessing or a lesson; sometimes even both, but just at different times. He can also take people out of your life just as quickly, but just remember that ultimately, He sees the bigger picture and He knows what He is doing.

3. It’s okay not to be okay.
We all have ‘those’ days and I have had my fair share this year alone. 2015 has been an emotional roller coaster and I have realised that I am a lot stronger than I thought. But, of course, that only lasts a while, because as soon as you think you are getting your life back together, something else decides to laugh in your face and go ‘ha, not yet’. You’re allowed to wake up and feel like crap. You’re allowed to want to be alone and cry. You’re allowed to have those days. Don’t feel guilty for not feeling okay. Just don’t forget that a bad day doesn’t mean you have a bad life. Don’t let a single situation you are facing determine your attitude toward everything else. Not all situations need a reaction. Amid all of the chaos, ask yourself whether the situation that’s making you feel this way will matter this time next week, next month, next year? Don’t let someone or something small and insignificant use up your energy unnecessarily and as a result, hinder your happiness.

4. Just do you.
One of the biggest killers of happiness is constantly comparing yourself with other people, whether that be people we actually know or those Instagram Famous ‘celebrities’ that pay for followers and look like they have the ‘perfect life’. Real talk: society’s standards are messed. I’ll be honest, I couldn’t count the amount of times I have compared my appearance to others on one hand, let alone two. It’s a huge insecurity of mine and I struggle with it daily, but who is to say what the definition of beauty is? I know, it is as cliche as my Year 10 creative writing piece for English, but sometimes the only way we understand it is to hear it a million times. Not only do I compare myself to others, but I am also guilty of being a people-pleaser. I get really uncomfortable and upset when I know that people aren’t happy with me and more than anything, I hate losing friends over situations that could have been well and truly avoided. If this is sounding familiar then my one piece of advice is just do you. It’s easier said than done and for me it’s a work-in-progress, but I won’t stop trying to be the best version of me I can.

5. Find your passion.
I love writing, if you can’t half tell. I also love food: eating it, that is – cooking and cleaning are not quite my thing (just ask my family – on a scale from gourmet to burns toast, I am the latter). But how can you find your passion by staying within the realms of your comfort zone? Try new things. Go on adventures. Fill up the car, grab a few friends and drive places you have never been before. Go camping. Learn a new language. Don’t listen to TLC and go chase those waterfalls. Solo-travel. Go on a mission trip. Make a bucket list and actually tick things off! What’s stopping you from doing what you love? What’s stopping you from finding your passion? And once you find that thing that makes you happy, hold onto it and don’t ever let it go.

So whether you have had an amazing year or you are keen to put this one away and start fresh with 2016, take this time to reflect on the memories, the challenges and the adventures that you have experienced this year. I can guarantee that you aren’t the same person you were this time last year. We are constantly growing and maturing and it is our choice how we let these experiences impact us – positively or negatively. What are you choosing?

Keep smiling. x

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