I did this for the first time last year, 12 things I learnt in 2012, and I think I might do this annually. There’s always something to be thankful for and lessons to be learnt.
So…here are 13 things I learnt in 2013:
1. “God speaks in past tense about battles you’re currently fighting.” Steven Furtick, Crash the Chatterbox. 2013 started out difficult and has ended on a high note because I put my trust in the One who knows my life and sees it from the end to the beginning. God is God and He never changes.
2. Family doesn’t just mean flesh and blood. Thank you to my Singapore, Indonesia, North Carolina, and UK family and all those of you who have helped me become a better, stronger person this year, all around the world. You know who you are. You’ve shown me that cities, borders and oceans separating us are nothing. I LOVE YOU!
3. It’s okay if the plan changes. For a serial planner like me, this was a tough but a fun lesson. I’m living the dream because I stepped outside the plan. I’ve been in a play, I’ve sung at so many events, I’ve led worship many times and learnt so much in the process. I moved to Exeter following a surprise job offer and it was the best 18 weeks of my life. Now I’m a journalist, living in London and doing things I never dreamed of. “In their hearts humans plan their course, but the Lord establishes their steps.” Proverbs 16:9
4. Don’t let reasons become excuses to never change. I began to realise that my valid reasons, I had started to use as a crutch, an excuse to explain my situation. I have the power to change, my words are just as powerful and it’s time for action. I chose to step out and take risks rather than sit back and react to life situations.
5. Nothing is wasted. Though it took me a long time to get going in 2013, the point is that I did. I learnt not to complain about the missteps but to learn from them. Each step, each conversation, each opportunity had a lesson wrapped up inside.
6. God is love and wants to bless me. I have experienced unprecedented favour this year. Doors that have opened and shut that I didn’t expect. Laughter and friendships I didn’t plan for. Unforgettable memories, unconditional love and joy despite the tears. “I will look on you with favour and make your fruitful and increase your numbers, and I will keep my covenant with you. You will still be eating last year’s harvest when you will have to move it out to make room for the new.” Leviticus 26:9-10.
7. Life is short. It’s made up of moments, both good and bad. Make each moment count! You don’t know how long you have left. Don’t assume you have forever. Take that leap, make that change, try that food, sleep through life less and live more.
8. Feel the fear and do it anyway. I did a lot of things scared this year and I’m glad I did. I would never have experienced all that I did, met all the people that I did, or had as much fun as I did. You set the limits on your life, don’t restrict yourself this year. Set yourself free.
9. Don’t compare yourself, focus on the goal not the competition. I learnt that comparing is unhealthy, that age is STILL just a number, that no matter how old I am – I should live life on my terms. Not because the world expects me to have reached a certain milestone by now or be married with 2.2 kids. Don’t treat life like a competition.
10. You only have one body. Take care of it. Living healthier, eating better, walking everywhere has allowed me to do more and be more this year. Losing weight has been an added bonus.
11. Stay open to the spontaneous. A lot of the greatest memories I have this year came from my response to spontaneous invitations and opportunities. Stay open to whatever may come your way and you could be pleasantly surprised.
12. It’s all about perspective. Each year is what I make of it. Every day is important. I’ve learnt not to just set myself goals once a year but to set myself goals daily. There is always something new to learn every day and from those around you. I’ve made a decision to shift my outlook, sharpen my focus and not lose sight of the bigger picture.
13. What mark do you want to leave on the world? Nelson Mandela died, a hero of mine, but he left a rich legacy and he impacted the world and everyone he met. I want to live a life that speaks volumes before people meet me, before a word I utter, I want to change the atmosphere for the better every time I step into a room or into someone’s life.
HAPPY NEW YEAR! Hello 2014, I’m ready for you!
What have you learnt or are thankful for in 2013? Your turn on the soapbox in 3, 2, 1.