Social media today has its share of videos looking back on 2016. In addition to the obvious detailing of the crap year it was in terms of the number of greats who shuffled off this mortal coil and in terms of national decisions with global consequences, other posts are detailing the good that happened. Child mortality is down, the number of tigers in the world is up. Six million homes in California now have solar power, while in India, 50 million trees were planted in just 24 hours, and Portugal ran the country on renewable energy for four days in a row. The 800 Boko Harem hostages were released and a bank is picking up the tab for college tuition for the children of employees who died in 9/11.
The list goes on and on and there are plenty of lists out there. So it wasn’t all bad; we’re simply conditioned to focusing on the worst.
Looking back on 2016, for me it was an instructive year. I learned some new things and was reminded of some lessons of old. And that’s always good.
I learned the importance of listening to my gut. If it feels right and won’t hurt anyone, go for it. Life is too short to dither.
I learned that voting doesn’t end when the ballot has been cast. A huge part of the process is accepting the right of the other side to have an opinion and realising that some people are so entrenched in their views that no amount of talking or reasoning will change how they think. Better to be an example of what you believe to be right. Goodness will out. Don’t preach, show.
I’ve always known that the more I give, the more I get in return. But this year, I’ve realised that regular giving to those who do nothing but take creates a culture of expectation and dependency in them and unwanted resentment and frustration in me. It’s important to find the balance.
I’ve learned that constant negativity, something I once thought contagious, is now simply a pain in the proverbial. How we react to life is a choice.
I’ve learned that the secret to a good relationship lies in actively caring, in doing something nice for that person every day, every single day.
I’ve finally got the hang of the whole eat less/exercise more thing. Fad diets work – in the short-term. Long-term, it’s about changing habits.
I’ve learned that getting upset with people because they don’t behave as I expect them to behave is a waste of energy. If I can’t accept it, I can either adjust my expectations or see them less often.
I’ve learned that commutes are blessings in disguise as I rediscover the joys of driving and the music that goes with it.
I’ve learned that compromise isn’t nearly as painful as I’d thought. To get you have to give – something for something. Everything is negotiable if both parties are coming from a place where they want the best for the other person.
I’ve realised that without my faith in God, life would be a lot more difficult; without my eclectic set of friends, life would be a lot less fun; and without the dream of a better tomorrow, life would be a lot less meaningful.