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Thursday, January 7, 2016

LOVE LIFE: My 2015 Regrets. And The Way To Go Forward!

In 2015, my thoughts were often in the company of doubt. I am not ashamed to admit it. It was a good year however, in a way that adds up in its eventuality. But! It was also punctuated with worry, fear, failures and a very familiar sense of gloom. So naturally, I was not too keen with the prospect of the New Year, particularly with all its perfunctory loveliness. And naturally, my tending is to rebel against the idea of great expectations or  a life as flowery as a motivational punch line. Somehow I suspect this is largely due to a mind that feeds off the exaggeration of its own suspicions, but more than that, I find that I am not able to make sense of, or space for 2016, or anything else, without at least, looking back at the past with all its debilitating errors and anxieties.
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So lately I have been looking back, especially at the past year. I’m digging up the
memories, not because I want to stay stuck, but because I need it to make sense of where I am going. Besides, I am pretty sure a motivational speaker somewhere once said; ‘the way to prepare for the future is by understanding the past.’ Or something like that.
Anyway, my thoughts have led me to a few things I did not do, or wish I did better in 2015. I have decided to start off the year by sharing them;  hoping you’ll find it as a kind of lens with which to examine your life and maybe determine to do better in 2016. So here goes:
1. Not slowing down. I had a medical scare towards the end of the year. It was horrifying and unnecessary and stress induced. But it thought me a lesson. No one is indispensable. Contrary to the flattery of your mind, life will move on without you, true! In a matter of moments, I saw how fickle everything we struggle for really is. For instance, no matter how much your partner loves you, death will bring closure. And, the employers and clients who feed off your services will replace you, in a matter of days. So I regret that I worked myself to a point of crippling fatigue. I mean, by the end of 2015, I was literally an assemblage of aches and sores and jitters. So basically, I’m taking more breaks this year. And you should too. Slow down. Attend to that headache. Go for that spa treatment. Sleep. And I can’t believe I am saying this, but also, eat your vegetables. You life may literally depend on it.
2. Thinking too highly of others. Not the typical insecurity of people pleasing, but the sense that you have the sole imperative to satisfy others. In other words, that their happiness depends on you. It might massage your ego to think you are that relevant. I know it had that effect on me. But, you can’t make everybody happy. Actually, you shouldn’t make everybody happy. I learned this the hard way. Be responsible enough to feature yourself as the central character of your life. Also, learn to say no; without the urgent need to explain why . I wish I had said no more often last year. But it’s not late, I am repossessing the right to refuse people. And you should too.
3. Holding on to dead weight. One of the worst things is to be in a gathering for which you have no interest or passion. In 2015, I did a lot of things and hung out with a lot of people, because it is what I had always done.  So, it took a while to realise I didn’t want to do these things anymore. And my the time I realised, I had spent a good part of the year pursuing misplaced priorities. So in the New Year, I am going to walk away, from places, from things and from people. Life is too short to be a tedious repetition of things just for the sake of it. You might want to think about it.
4. Worrying too much. More times than it’s okay to, I found myself worried sick. Well in fairness, I could be quite the worrier, so this is not a struggle limited to immediate past year. But I kind of went overboard: staying up at night, sincerely trying to correct people’s errors and generally, wondering about the health implications of not eating enough vegetables. But it is all ridiculous. So this year, I am going by a theory, ‘If you can’t change it, don’t worry about it. If they are adults, don’t worry about them. If the subject matter is worrisome, worry a little, then promptly  let it go.’
5. Not reaching out. And this matters, in a way I cannot begin to explain. It matters that you are able to pick your phone and randomly dial an old school mate, simply to check up on them. Because, in this world of thriving distractions, the ability to still think of others and make efforts to reach them is a human and thoughtful and miraculous thing to do. And because, sometimes, a person really just needs that sense of human connection and community to make sense of their current reality.
Having said all this, I’m wishing you love and laughter in the months to come.