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“We ought not to look back, unless it is to derive useful lessons from past errors and for the purpose of profiting by dear bought experience.”     — George Washington

It has been that time when we reflect back on the year that was and look forward to the year that we hope will be.

I do believe that we should not dwell in the past, however before I file 2015 away in my ‘basement’ and move on from it, I would like to take one last look at the year that was. The only reason for this is because of the lessons that it has at times very mercilessly taught me.

Well, it was a challenging one to say the least. I thankfully got to a point though, of deciding that I did not want my life to be defined by sadness, heartache and self-pity. I mean, that’s boring and so incredibly tiresome isn’t it? Not only for me but also for those around me. Yip, I know that a lot of you started rolling your eyes and sighing heavily every time I rehashed about the state of my aching heart. Yes, it did get broken but have we not all been there at some point in our lives? If you haven’t, well done and I hope you never have to go through this rather disquieting time. It is so much more fun and exciting to be positive, happy and motivated. As Dr. Seuss quipped, “Don’t cry for what you’ve lost. Smile because it happened.”

I pride myself on the fact that I have absolutely no regrets about anything that has ever happened to me. In fact when I look back, I marvel at the fact as to how every event in my life has sculpted me into the person that I presently am. I say sculpted, because I believe that I am a unique masterpiece. There is no other like me. Ha-ha, perhaps that is just as well! I also need to add that I never blame. I am responsible for everything that has ever happened to me.

Loving, confident, independent, content, strong and zestful. Oh my goodness, how I have missed those beautiful qualities. Out with the insecurity, confusion, emotional turmoil and anxiety. Here, I will steal Al Pacino’s exclamation of, “Whooo ah.” – Scent of a Woman. WHOOO AH!

Whatever this year has thrown at me, I am eternally grateful. It may surprise you to hear but I would not have had it any other way. It has been a busy year for me in so many regards. A monstrous learning curve and a period of tremendous growth and transformation. A time for reflection, a point to define expectations and to put healthy boundaries in place. After all that has conspired to transform me this year, an appropriate question would be: Where do I now find myself? Other than on my couch, writing this spiel? I am in a place of extraordinary love for myself. I am so incredibly proud of ME and the authenticity of my life. I am travelling a road of understanding, acceptance and imminent adventure. It feels GOOD!

A side bar, please. I need to explain to you why I write and why it is always so very personal. My writing is cathartic. Just as an artist expresses himself through painting, writing is my form of creativity. Some of you may find my ramblings boring and others may see value in what I share. All of that is okay with me because at the end of the day the main point of writing is purely for me. Why are my blogs always so looong? I guess it is perhaps because they are more my memoirs and my stories. For those that are acquainted with me, you will know that I always have a lot to say about most things and then some more. I also don’t write that often so there is just so much that I feel obliged to share. Side bar over!

Please bear with me as I, for the last time, look back on 2015 and share with you a few of my experiences, observations and lessons that I have learnt.

Without any further ado:

  • I have had a bottle of Moët & Chandon in my fridge since 1999. I have been keeping it to share with someone very special. I decided that it was time and that I was going to herald in the New Year with my treasured bottle of bubbly. As I sat savouring every drop, I realised that I was indeed sharing it with the most important person in my life. That person was Me!
  • Sometimes you don’t need a plan, you just need a pair of gran cojones and faith. Courage is certainly something I do not lack. Although at times, I have to dig really deep to find it. It is good to get out of our comfort zones, it is only then that we truly begin to experience things on a higher level. My opinion at any rate!
  • People do indeed come into our lives for reasons, seasons and lifetimes and I would like to add, to teach us lessons.
  • I will forever be a tomboy but I discovered that I rather like the colour pink and that I feel comfortable in a dress as well as my faded Levis.
  • It was my year of running. And I don’t mean running away from anything either. I have always done a bit of running here and there but I started running a bit more seriously. Considering my history of injuries and health issues, this is truly no mean feat for me. I started trail running races and will be doing my first half road marathon in February. Every day that I get up and nonchalantly set of for a little 10 km run, I truly marvel at the fact. My running days will always be numbered, (I have after all had 10 knee operations) but at the moment I am loving it and will continue until I can’t. I have also brushed up on my MTB skills and am far more adept and brave. Through this journey I have discovered the incredible mental strength and focus that I have. Determination to succeed and to better myself. This spills over into all the other aspects of my life. I believe that in 2015, I became the fittest and strongest than I have ever been, physically, mentally and emotionally.
  • My father passed on in 2015. He spent his last few months in total confusion and torment about where he was and what was going on around him. I also lost some other very precious and important people this year. I have become extremely perplexed about death. There seems something wrong with leaving this world in pain and with suffering. It sits very heavily with me.
  • Something else I have noticed regarding the above is that oftentimes it can bring out the absolute worst in the family as they scramble around trying to claim their own glory through the passing of a loved one. Come on, is this not a time to feel compassion, surely there is no place for ego? Stand together in the sorrow and comfort each other.
  • I have one more thing to say on this topic. The pomp and ceremony the expense, the flowers, the beautiful words, the time and effort that go into funerals makes no sense to me at all. I get that it is a show of respect and love for the person but surely the poor old soul deserved all of this when they were still alive? The lesson? Tell people that you love them. Buy them flowers, spoil them, appreciate them but please do this while they are still alive.
  • Family are not necessarily our blood. It is the people who we choose to surround ourselves with that are family. I now have no problem removing toxic people from my life whether they are family or not.
  • I did a massage course at the beginning of this year and I have to rather embarrassingly admit to the fact that some of the people on the course, to coin a phrase used by one of the girls, were ‘cuckee’! I know that no such word exists but you know what I mean, don’t you? The lentil, harp playing, meditating, eclectic, no night shade veggie eating brigade. I really hope that some of you are reading this, because I have to tell you that at times I felt a tad out of place. What did I learn? I am grateful that this world is made up of such a gallimaufry of people. It makes it so much richer and more interesting. My mind was broadened by these encounters and I love you guys. Thank you! Oh and I also now know what a doula is!
  • No. Is a complete sentence.
  • Some amazing people came into my life in 2015. It restored my faith that there are in fact folk out there who still have integrity and who are genuinely nice, good people. Not because they are trying to score brownie points but just because that is who they are.
  • Conversely, I also encountered far too many that are the complete opposite of the above. They are only interested in you if they can get something out of you. Pretty sad.
  • The truth will always be revealed and I have no need to defend myself.
  • I definitely have learnt who my true, supportive friends are in my darkest hours.
  • My massage practice has brought such an incredible array of people onto my table. Thank you to each and every one of you for what you have taught me about, tolerance, acceptance, beauty, love, sadness, desperation, appreciation, spirituality and contentment. Wow what can I say? It has been an inspirational journey and often an eye opener for me. Each and every one of you has touched me, (figuratively speaking of course as I was the one doing the touching), in some sort of way. I have to be honest and say that it has not always been positive but 9 out of 10 times it has been a very profound experience for me. I have been told that I give a very beautiful, positive and healing energy during sessions and I must tell you that I often receive this from you as well. Absolute bliss!
  • I wrote a blog a few years back, “Check Your Mate”, about my experiences mostly on internet dating. I have not gone that route again but have had a few experiences this year. Boy oh boy! Guys! If you want to go out with me or in fact anyone of worth, here is a quick guideline which I have compiled from my encounters this year. I am a lady, treat me as such. What happened to plain good manners and chivalry? If you are keen, then show it. I don’t play games, so playing hard to get or ‘Kinda’ interested does not cut it with me. I go to trouble to dress pretty and spritz on perfume, please do the same. Okay, sorry, don’t dress pretty but please go to some trouble. Don’t wear perfume either but there is nothing more appealing than a man who smells good. Be decisive. Come up with different and interesting things to do. I detest messaging/WhatsApp, (unless it is to flirt or say good morning or goodnight). Pick up the phone! It really is so simple! Or not?
  • I learnt that if you fall in love with someone, make sure that they love, value and respect you in return, to the same degree, or more. I experienced that the depth of your love will be the depth of your heartache.
  • I have made the decision to not live in love purgatory. If you do not know what this is, ask me.
  • I have a clearer understanding of what a true partnership and joint ‘ad’venture with a potential life partner should look, feel and smell like. I am setting my GPS coordinates on this point so if I get lost, I will be able to find my way back again.
  • My Mom deserves more of my focused attention. Regardless of whether she returns it or not. Some people have limitations in what they are capable of ‘giving’ and in this case, acceptance is key. I don’t believe that the sole purpose of doing things for others should be because we expect something in return. We should do things because it makes us feel good, because we are the bigger, better person. “Blessed is he who expects nothing, for he shall never be disappointed.” ― Alexander Pope . Tough one to swallow because reciprocity is so very important to me. I guess this point could be open for debate.
  • I think that we should forever discard the idea of how we imagine things should be. We should rather embrace things as they are. If we can’t be happy with what we have right now, we will never be happy. Happiness is also a DIY job. Having said this, I do believe that our personal interactions go a long way to paving the road to happiness. Here is another gem though: It is up to us how we choose to pave the road! I’m so deep, it surprises me most of the time. Suffice to say, I will be choosing my paving stones wisely.
  • Our minds are so astonishingly strong. I have also discovered that they can also be incredibly destructive. I reckon a large part of what goes on inside my head is not reality or fact but assumptions. Plays havoc with your emotions. I am trying not to over intellectualise as it destroys my intrinsic nature. Follow your heart but let your mind show you the steps.
  • It both frightens and pleases me to have discovered how incredibly strong and resilient I am. I have never felt so alone and lonely as I have this last year. Yet I have remarkably achieved and accomplished such a lot.
  • As much as I yearn to be sharing my life with that one special person, I have sadly come to terms with the fact that the most enriching journey that we take will be the one where we walk alone. Only after having endured the road alone, will you be ready to allow someone into your inner, intimate circle. I have walked a long road on my own.
  • I learnt this past year that I don’t always have to eat the entire packet of potato crisps in one go. I can save some for later. The same applies to chocolate.
  • I note that my role and responsibility as a Mother is ever changing, however it remains indelibly linked to being of support, an advisor, a rational voice and the rock. As a mother to a 25 year old, no longer a child and very much a man, that he has to be left to make his own decisions, to stumble and fall. Otherwise how on earth will he ever become independent, strong and able to make wise choices? All actions have consequences!
  • “Patience is a virtue and virtue is a grace and Grace is a little girl who never washed her face.” I remember my mother repeating this mantra over and over when I was a little girl. It clearly did not have enough of an impact on me. Patience is not one of my stronger qualities. My inability to practice patience has been a downfall for me in certain regards. However I am constantly torn between, ‘if it is meant to be it will be’ and ‘if you want it, go get it’. I suppose knowing when to do which is the trick.
  • It took me a while to learn that if you continually do the same thing over and over, you will always get the same result. If you want a different outcome, change the way you do things. I eventually got this right. I think….I hope!
  • Lastly, I am very much aware that I am human and I err.
  • 2015 is now but a memory. For the first time in many years I am looking toward the coming year with great enthusiasm and excitement! The best is yet to come.
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