5 lessons from 2014

Last day of 2014!

This time last year I was anxious to embark the 2014 wagon. I was halfway through the most important year of my  degree, juggling between journalism projects, a dissertation (at least 100 books to reference) and a submission of a novella  by the end of June. 2014 had a gloomy start but here are 5 things I learned from it:

  • Optimism

This one is for the emotional sponges, myself included. Feeling  affected by everything around you is okay. But you might consider being selective of  the people you surround yourself with and the media texts you consume. Certain nuisances (people included) can be great sources of comfort and fun- until you start losing yourself in a turmoil that was never yours to begin with. We are more powerful than we think and the presence of optimism in our minds, hearts and environments can help us build a more fulfilling life. Think about it: the choice is yours.

  • Presence despite distance

If we’re lucky, we’ll spend a significant part of our lives trying to build a bridge between who we are/ want to be and who we are expected to be. Keeping track of  a professional, academic, personal life, diet(s), impressing your crush (or two), being cultures, looking presentable and everything else in between are time consuming tasks that can distract you from saving time for people who matter. Pro-tip: impulsive moments of admiration will buy you some time, but you know… you’re not fooling anyone. Technological convergence partly exists to facilitate communication, use it. Let people in your life know you care and you are present. Distant, but present.

  • Small steps outside your comfort zone

I’m a creature of habit. I make plans and backup plans for half-remembered backup plans. Still, the best memories of 2014 are the accumulated moments of spontaneity. I.e: the time I partied like there was no “tomorrow”, when the tomorrow in question was the day I had to pitch my final year project. It was fun: nearly got hit by cars (the norm), had a 2 hour nap and pitched in fear of literally passing out in front of my tutors. Was I sober? Did my pitch make any sense? Could I even articulate? I don’t know; it was worth it. Make new friends, create new experiences, incite and partake in small irrational acts. Besides, a crazier version of you will look less silly now than it will 5 years from now. Just saying. Everything with a little moderation. (Keyword: moderation)

  • Clear goals

This time last year all I wanted was: to pass my dissertation. When my friends enthusiastically spoke of their hopes and expectations of 2014, I only aspired to survive it. I was so consumed with this idea that I never took the time to clearly set Specific, Measurable, Attainable Relevant and Time-bound goals. Keep your goals clear whether short or long term. Analyse your approach towards meeting them, what needs to be done, what is more or less urgent, it will save you time and panic attacks.

  • Learn from your setbacks

Failures are inevitable. You can give your 100% to a relationship or a project and still find yourself drowning in the debris of your backfired efforts. Give yourself time to go through the shock, the denial, the anger, the acceptance and you will rise again. In a way, every painful moment we go through is a mock version of a bigger thing to come. The way you handle one setback will define the way you’ll handle your next one. Most importantly, it will define the way you handle your victory moments. Take the time to learn all you can from a bad experience and rise above it. You will do just fine.

That’s all- well, sort of.

I hope this year has been good to you. I hope the next one is even better. I wish you all love, success and happiness in everything you do! Xoxo

Copyright Gisele-Marie Manzi /Aficionadol





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