In the words of Kylie Jenner, 2016 was the year of “like, realising stuff” and boy did I realise some stuff this year.
Its funny how a new year makes you reflect on your life and where you have come in the last year. It’s the time when people all around the world stop and look at their life and figure out a few things that they need to change. But why worry about changing? Why not just enjoy the life you have? Stop and enjoy the little things, those moments that make you laugh so much you cry or that really make you appreciate the world around you.
2016 was a big old year for me. I was faced with my fair share of challenges, but also with some incredible, life changing moments. This time last year I was buried in my dissertation, worried about passing the final term of my degree. I was also in the middle of working on an election campaign as well as dealing with counselling. Now I am sat here writing this with a degree, a job and a happy, clear mind.
Throughout the year I realised what really makes me happy. Its not things I own or can own. Its not about making lots of money or going to extravagant places. To me, happiness comes from sharing. It comes from kindness. It comes from cups of tea with friends, with silly games at the dinner table and from loud music in the shower. 2016 made me realise what true happiness is and what can happen when you are genuinely happy with yourself and who you are.
Those people closest to me know that its not been an easy journey for me and my family. There have been many ups and downs, and there were plenty of those in 2016. The details aren’t needed, because there has also been so much joy in the past year too. The highlight? Graduation day. There were points where I really didn’t think id get myself to the point that id be walking across the stage in the Usher Hall in my gown, picking up a degree with my name on it. But I did it. that week I proved to myself that I could do it and I realised the importance of inner strength. The importance of self belief, and most of all, the importance of family.
In 2016, I realised that a lot of good can come from the bad in the world. I realised that true, unforgiving kindness comes from the people that are truly happy in themselves. The people that do things for others and don’t expect anything in return are the people that you need surrounding you. Those people love with no terms or conditions, they just love.
Among the personal joy I’ve experienced in the past year, I’ve also had the pleasure of watching other peoples joy. I’ve got to watch the most incredible people around me conquer their own battles and live out their dreams. Nothing makes me happier than seeing my loved ones do what they love.
So what have I taken from all of this? I have learned to love without conditions and to dream without fear. I have learned that there is no right way to do things, just do what makes you happy. So my challenge for the year ahead is not to make resolutions that only last a week or two. Its not to set myself up to fail or to try and change who I am. Its to accept who I am, the ups and downs that have made me who I am today and will grow to become over the next year.
And I challenge you to do the same thing. Find the joy in the little moments in life. Get up in the morning and listen to your favourite song. Stop to have a cup of tea. Meet up with friends more. Play silly games with your family. Laugh until it hurts. Listen to a friend in need. Hug more. Walk more. Love more. And most of all, realise that you deserve all the happiness in the world.