In my room at the YWAM base in Dunham.
I wrote this blog:
In the month of September, I was in Switzerland and my Workaway host gave me a little blue notebook. She challenged me asking me to write down 3 things I learn every day on her permaculture farm. For the first few days I forgot to write in it, then I remembered it and then chose not to write in it... no decent excuse just laziness.
About a week later I then started writing because I had a lot to catch up on. I had complete freedom on what to write about; I could write down little practical things or lessons and thoughts that have impacted me greatly in 2017.
I am well aware that different people reading this will not exactly see eye to eye to everything I say. That is completely fine, we are all on different journeys and encounter different people and embark on completely different adventures. That’s what it’s all about.
Its good to be different its okay to have a different opinion.
Some of these are quite personal and I learnt many of these lessons the hard way.
Nevertheless, I present to you the juiciest 14 lessons I have learnt in 2017:
Whether it is a romantic or a strong platonic connection and a break up occurs, it is much easier and somewhat healthier to move on being on a good note with them. That doesn’t mean being friends or trusting them in any sort of way but just being at peace with them. Which can lead to being truly at peace with yourself.
It is a serious issue, I don’t understand how I wasn’t informed of this back home. But we all need to play a part in stopping the mindset of getting what we can from planet earth, without giving anything back.
Hard Work and Patience.
I can be quite lazy. I’m working on it… Slowly. Because I’m lazy. Jokes aside, so often I always try to find the easy way or less straining way to do a job, but after having a hard day’s work it is very rewarding. The harder you work and the more time you give it and yourself to flourish; the better it will be. Nothing of value will be created in a moment.
If you ask yourself at the beginning of each year, if this was my last year, what would I do? Whatever you write down; do it. Obviously, you have university degrees and other commitments that go beyond a year and take up a lot of your time. But not all of your time. Go beyond New Year’s Resolutions and go out of your way to live an adventurous, spectacular and fulfilling life.
Say Beautiful Words. Constantly.
Any human being that roams this world, thrives on being valued. Regardless of how introverted an individual can be, we all crave belonging and being recognised. Maybe not always on a big scale, but you have the ability of saying something beautiful to someone. Anyone. Best friend or stranger, you have the ability to make someone else’s day. Why not?
If you want something, whether it be a job, travel destination, love, relationship or activity. It’s okay to be scared, be scared. Steer away from stupidity but do things that make you scared and force you out of your comfort zone. If you hiked Mt. Everest easily and when a snow avalanche crashed over you and somehow you made it to the summit. And throughout the whole adventure, you weren’t at all scared… well that’s impressive. But if you did the whole trek, shitting your pants, throughout the snow avalanche and everything. Imagine the empowering thoughts that would be flooding through your mind when you're on top of the world.
I’m not saying hike Everest, there are other ways to get out of your comfort zone that won’t cost you $60,000.
You cannot have courage without fear.
People for Chapters.
Sometimes you encounter people, create friendships, form a strong connection or even a romance but sometimes those people are just meant to be in your life for a chapter. You can learn a lot from them and share some incredible memories with them and then as their life goes on, so does yours. You hope to see them again, but if you don’t… that’s okay.
As much as we try not to we generally ‘judge a book by its cover’. Hence why I think first impressions go a long way, I haven’t always made the best first impression and later on it has bitten on me the ass. Whenever you meet someone new, you never know just how much of an impact they’ll make on you. Even if they make no significant impact on you, they are still a human being and deserve all the respect and value you can give them.
Nowadays having heated debates about pretty much any topic is quite common. As healthy and insightful as many debates can be, lately most of it is quite emotional and people get very defensive and offended quite easily. I’m not saying be a door mat and be completely passive, but sometimes not having to fully express your opinion is okay. Yes, you are entitled to your own opinion but not everyone needs to know them.
I think it goes a long way in yourself, when someone insults you to your face or behind your back, as much as the words sting, try to understand. No, it doesn’t excuse the person for being horrible to you but instead of reacting, respond. Try to put yourself in their position, really question yourself why that person would say that? I need to learn to stop being so defensive of myself and maybe I could learn a thing or two from it.
‘Do it whilst you’re young’ ‘Oh to be your age again’ ‘You’re so young! One day you’ll learn’ ‘Glory days’
All those sayings drive me absolutely crazy, they shouldn’t. I shouldn’t let small phrases like that get to me, something I’m working on. But reason being, I hate the idea of only being able to be adventurous, spontaneous, open minded and fun only when you’re young. Yes, if you decide to buy a house and be grounded; there is absolutely nothing wrong with that. But there is if you’re constantly reminiscing on the ‘glory days’.
When I’m 80 years old, although there are obvious restrictions, I still really hope to be adventurous, spontaneous, open minded and fun!
I also strongly believe that age does not guarantee knowledge and wisdom. It is a strong contributor but not the only one. In my experience, I’ve seen countless of young people constantly being dismissed because they are naïve and young.
When I was a support worker back home, it was my younger 11-year-old foster brother that gave me the best practical advice on how to work with at risk kids.
Living a Deliberate Life.
I’m constantly checking my phone, I could check it whilst I’m eating, watching a movie, on the toilet or even for a few brief moments as I’m going up in the elevator. It’s okay to check my phone, but I think the problem comes when I get out my phone without even thinking. I realise that I’ve got a spare moment, so I naturally just take out my phone without even thinking. I can sometimes literally be a robot and it can be hard to catch myself in the act, because I’m switched off. Lately, I’ve been trying to spend less accumulative time on my phone on the daily and intentionally doing other things. Like juggling.
You always hear people say ‘you’ve always got a choice’ and naturally I think, who are you to say that? You don’t know what people go through every day, the struggles and obstacles that people face are all different. But recently I have come to terms with that cliché Holly wood movie saying. I’ve met and done life with people who have had some of the hardest upbringings, background and break ups. Whether it was domestic violence, sexual abuse, substance abuse or any other horrific act; they obviously took time to recover. But after allowing time, they made a choice that this wouldn’t restrict them from their potential. That this wouldn’t rob them of their happiness and that their past would not define them.
You have a choice on whether or not you’re going to let this take control over you. You always have a choice.
Lastly, although I have learnt lots of these through travelling and have grown a lot through travelling. Travelling is not for everyone. But I’m also well aware that the lessons I’ve learnt whilst moving, I could also learn being settled somewhere. Travel will not solve your personal problems. Travel will not always give you ground breaking self-exploration results. Although travel photos look nice on Instagram, there can be a lot of hard ship that goes behind it.
I’ve learnt a lot from this year and could not be more grateful to the people who have made an impact on me. I have no idea what 2018 will bring, really none of us do.
Finish 2017 strong and start 2018 stronger.
Photo credit: Hamish Gavin - www.shutuphamish.com