5 Things 2016 Has Taught Me


At this time of year, it’s customary to look back at the previous year and reflect on the things that have happened during that time, before looking forward to the year ahead.  It’s been a momentous year for Dee and myself, in so many ways, so I thought I’d choose just five things that I’ve learned since this time last year. Here they are, in no particular order:

1. Expect the unexpected

This almost goes without saying after the year we’ve had, doesn’t it? Brexit, President-elect Trump, Leicester City winning the Premiership, and what feels like a famous person passing away every day.  I don’t think that anyone could have predicted even half of these events, and I think that lesson probably applies to everyone’s daily lives too. From my perspective, I think it’s very healthy to embrace the unexpected, embrace change, whatever that happens to be.  You can still protest if it’s not what you want, or if it’s illegal, immoral etc, but staying positive, with an open mind, even while protesting is good for you.

2. The grass could well be greener on the other side

I’ve lost count of the number of times over the years that people left my previous employer only to return a few months or years later.  I departed after over 21 years of service, leaving a company that had been only 1500 people when I joined and 80 000 when I left, and I very much doubt that anything could induce me to return, ever.  It had been such a huge part of my life and I was petrified of the big wide world outside it.  And do you know what?  I should have left years before.  My new place has given me a new lease of life, with limitless opportunities and a real pioneering spirit.  I hadn’t realised how much I missed the hustle and bustle, the cameraderie, the involvement, not to mention the fact that every individual makes a difference. This was a massively positive change during the year and I’m loving every minute of it.

3. Narcissists, like leopards, can not and will not change their spots

I’ve had some things to deal with this year which I’ve not blogged about, but I’ve had to cut ties with someone very close and dear to me because they could not – or would not – help me when I pleaded with them to (that was another example of 1 above – I thought they’d do what they could to help).  I’ve done a lot of reading about the topic, and have concluded that it’s because they are, deep down, narcissistic, with the attendant absence of emotional intelligence.  Many of the traits described in this article leapt out at me and fit the person in question perfectly. It was the right decision for me because my own health (and Dee’s) was suffering as a result of their behaviour and we’re now doing much better.  

4. Make the most of every day

In what has been on balance a very positive year for both Dee and myself, we recognise that one of the reasons for that is that we’ve created and taken opportunities to expand our experience, knowledge and awareness almost on a daily basis. Whether that be travelling to different places, joining in the festivities at friends weddings (which we felt totally privileged to be invited to), taking chances and opportunities at new jobs (see 2 above – and Dee has been doing a lot of great things around her work too), removing negative influences in our lives, or any one of a myriad of other things, we’ve seen them as opportunities to grow and enjoy ourselves. Even the worst of days has something to teach us. 

5. Things don’t always work out as planned

I guess this is related to 1 and 3 above, but a clear example of this was my intention this time last year to post an image a day for a year.  I didn’t even make it half way through (though changing jobs, moving house etc seemed more important at the time).  I don’t see it as failure though.  I expanded my readership (thank you) and found that that level of commitment to a blog is really difficult to sustain: kudos to those of you who manage it.  It’s helped me think about what is realistic and achievable in every aspect of life, and to set priorities more appropriately. 

Your turn!

What have you learned this year? And what are you looking forward to next year?  How are you planning to make your world and life a happier place for you?

I wish you all the very best for your endeavours, and would like to wish you all a very healthy, safe, prosperous and happy New Year.

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