I couldn’t resist a good (or arguably terrible) pun for the title of this post. But seriously, 2019 was a year of immense personal growth that thankfully, didn’t stem from pain and tough lessons this time around but rather from acknowledging a lot of the things that happened to me.
In the second half of the year I started journalling; I have a gratitude journal that’s an actual book, while my iPhone notes are filled with reflective thoughts that both echo and shape my mind. I ended up using so many of these anecdotes as Instagram captions that resonated with so many of you, I decided to compile a few of my favourite ones in this post and a few you haven’t read before as a way to get into a healthy mindset shift for 2020. If you want to see the one I wrote last year too, click here.
“Don’t be the supporting actress in your own movie.”
Can you tell I watched The Holiday recently? When I heard the old writer guy tell Kate Winslet say this line it first went over my head, then it hit me like a truck. I ALWAYS played the supporting actress in my own movie, AKA, my own life. I limited my goals, I stood in awe of others and dulled down my own achievements. While I don’t live this way anymore, maybe you do. Maybe you let a partner, a friend, a family member be the lead in your life. I can honestly tell you, it is the most miserable, limiting way to live. Never ever look at others and wish you could be like them or support their goals more than you support yourself; you are the LEAD in your movie! It doesn’t mean taking centre stage, “looking for attention” or trying to be the next big thing, it’s about knowing even in the softest and most refined manner you can impact the world.
“Take up space.”
Those famous words from our very own queen, Miss Universe, Zozibini Tunzi. As women we need to own the spaces we wish to be in. Step up to the plate. Don’t let anyone tell you or make you feel like you are in the way, like you shouldn’t be doing something, like you are too emotional, or like you can’t reach your goals.
Learning to manage my expectations was probably the biggest and hardest lesson I learned in 2019. At the start of the year Abdul Malick and I sat for SIX HOURS and I set A LOT of goals. And while goal-setting and belief in your ability to achieve those goals are important, being realistic about timing, cost, potential delays etc matter just as much. That’s where I fell short (I honestly think I was a little too excited to “take up space!”). At the same time, I was unintentionally pushing hard for so many other things that weren’t even on my list of goals and I achieved those, but dropped the ball on the things that I actually wrote down! The fact is, more often than not, you will never be able to see, do, buy and achieve absolutely everything at once, whether you’re on a trip, taking steps in your career, or setting goals. Remember, no one is posting their failures. Also dreams, circumstances and priorities change! And that’s okay too.
I know SO MANY people are feeling like they didn’t achieve enough in 2019 yet we are super burnt out. Ask yourself if you actually failed at the goal or did you overcommit and set unrealistic time frames? Did you actually fail or are you lacking patience and rushing your life to achieve everything right NOW?
I’m making a point not to feel guilt or failure for the goals I didn’t complete this year. I got a lot of other things right, and if I achieve the rest in 6 months’ time or a year only, that’s okay too, and the same goes for you! New Years shmew years! Let’s just keep pushing, be kind to ourselves and trust the timing of our lives.
Measure success in ways that have nothing to do with money.
Okay, I said this one in last year’s post too, but seriously, we’re so quick to base our achievements on the things we can have or can flash around. When I look back on 2019, the two things I am most proud of that I attained is I have become so much better at managing my mental health, I’ve regulated my period dramatically and improved my PCOS symptoms (click here to read how) and I have become far more empathetic, kind and patient with people. Emotionally I have also become so much stronger. I’ve made peace with who I am, what I can change versus what I can’t and truly care way less about what others think. All of the above were issues that tormented me and held me back my entire adult life. Not being that person anymore is the best feeling, and no amount of money could never buy that joy!
Show up for your body.
It only recently dawned on me how grateful I should be to have a healthy, young body that can move, and the best way to show my body that gratitude is to keep it moving and take care of it. I used to be so self-conscious when working out because I thought everyone will judge me for not being good at it, somehow forgetting that a training session is MEANT to challenge you both physically and mentally so you can grow in both ways. It took me surprisingly long to realize I don’t show up to show off, to be good, or “look good” in summer or in my content. I show up so I can be healthy. I show up so I can be strong. I show up because it makes me feel empowered when I see what my body can do for me, and I show up so that I can thank it. No matter what size you are or how many reps/laps/kilometers you can do, as long as you show up and try, you’re a bad ass.
Mastering the art of great relationships.
I used to be SO bad at this. I was the worst listener, I was self-absorbed, and I ignored my gut when it came to my relationships with people. At the same time, I allowed myself to be the doormat and to be manipulated. Thankfully, I can now say I learned to raise the bar and set a new standard for how I wanted to be treated and how I treat others. If there’s something I’ve cared for less and less over the years it’s relationships and love with both friends and family that you have to question or that drain you or use you. I also don’t believe in fabricating relationships to elevate my social status or to get ahead in life (not to be confused with networking). I see this all the time but personally believe as long as I’m good to others and put in the work, all good things in my world have and always will come from the Almighty one way or another, not a person and their power or status. When you build adult relationships of any kind, you’ve really just got to find people who love and laugh and work honestly like you do. You have to be with those who expand your thinking and bring your heart ease. Shooting your shot is one thing, but you will never ever have to beg someone worth your love, to love you. Ever!
It’s equally important to humble yourself enough to check your own toxic relationship habits, thank those who love you effortlessly, and let them know you love them right back. Life moves at a scarily fast pace, and is too short to spend it with anyone who is only giving you a halfway-there, so-so kind of love.
Use technology consciously.
Today marks 297 consecutive days of me learning the Portuguese language for only 15 minutes per day. This milestone got me thinking about how much access we have to FREE information and education online (check out this article for more), if we only thought to use our technology with intention and purpose. Sure, you may not walk away with a fancy certificate but even so, with a mobile phone and decent internet connection, you can literally teach yourself anything these days. You can improve your skill set, your body, your mind, your knowledge. You can make yourself more valuable and irreplaceable in your work/business, you can finally (kind of) get the lessons you couldn’t afford growing up.
The internet doesn’t HAVE to be a depressing and dark place. We don’t have to come online and vent all our frustrations and opinions about menial things. We don’t have to consume and partake in negativity. You can take a few minutes a day and prioritize in a way where instead of spending it all on social media and entertainment you can take the time out FOR YOU to improve your life. After all, whatever we consume or do online is a choice. I can’t believe how much I’ve learned these past 10 months. I’m so glad I put in those 15 daily minutes!
Be a human being online.
Social media has made it so easy and fast to say (or not say) both good and bad things to one another. For this reason, it’s important to me to bring a human “touch” to my presence online and our connection to each other as much as possible. As technology advances everything becomes easier and being human online becomes harder. Good and bad online decisions and judgement don’t take as much thought or consideration of their consequences, and I know this because I’ve done both.
Everything felt more real, rewarding and conscious when I stopped seeing my follower count as a number and rather as a group of incredible human beings I get to connect with and who share bits of themselves with me too. And this has nothing to do with having a large following and everything to do with the fact that social media has caused EVERYONE to put people’s boundaries at the bottom of the importance list. Just because you can WhatsApp someone easily at 11pm for that thing that’s important to you, doesn’t mean you should. Just because you don’t like how someone lives their life doesn’t mean you should message them about it. Empathy seems like a very much forgotten trait in the digital world. My heart truly softened, became warmer, more grateful and yet also more firm in my boundaries when I remembered there are people on both ends of a digital connection.
Expiry dates are a SCAM.
As women we’re given way too many EXPIRY DATES for things we have to achieve at a certain stage in our lives. I think I got so excited for my birthday this year because I know how hard I have worked on myself. I wasn’t scared to turn 30 AT ALL in October. While some say by this age I should be a mother, should be doing botox, should have achieved this or that in my career, should have a fancier car, I’m so happy with the story I’ve written for myself on my terms, my time. Fear of getting older or being filled with regret is truly the biggest waste of your life. If you sulk today about turning 30, when you eventually turn 40 you’ll be mad you didn’t appreciate your 30s, and it’ll be an endless rat race of never being or feeling young enough, accomplished enough, good enough. I know at every age and stage, I am enough and so are you. There are other achievements we can celebrate and be proud of as life progresses that are beyond marriage, motherhood, money, beauty and status. As tiring as these typical time-stamped expectations may be, I still have loads of energy to kick those expectations to the curb. Since I make the rules, maybe I’ll learn another language, start another business or travel the world five more times. I don’t know, let’s see how I feel these next ten or twenty years!
Honestly, there were loads more lessons, but this post got a little longer than I intended! What was the biggest/best lesson you learned in 2019?