I am not going to lie: 2017 was one of the hardest years of my life. I quit university and threw away my initial plan to live in Cape Town for 3 years. My dad’s progressing sickness caused a lot of frustration and difficult times within my family. Alex suffered from a bad virus for multiple months, which left me feeling helpless. My relationship to Julia was turned upside down and we went from best friends to not talking to each other for weeks. I ended up feeling helpless and without any security to hold onto.
After a fight in the beginning of December, with someone who means a lot to me, I felt like the last branch of hope and security that I had been holding onto so tightly had also been cut off. I felt like I was drowning, without anything or anyone to hold onto. I remember waking up in the morning and crying, trying to get all of the sadness out of my body. I went outside for some fresh air and told myself: “In a few months you will understand why this had to happen. Just wait and eventually everything will make sense.”
Appreciate your struggles
Sometimes it feels like I don’t have the right to complain or to be sad. I mean there are people out there who are off a lot worse than me. People without food, without a home and with “real problems”. This however made things even worse, because on top of feeling frustrated with my life, I also felt guilty for having these emotions.
I realized that it is ok not to be ok and that, no matter why you feel down, you have the right to embrace it. We are all fighting our own battles and we need to appreciate what we are going through, because no matter how big or small our struggles may be, they are all tough.
More trusting, less doing
Craving security and a light of hope so very badly, I did everything in my power to the turn my situation around. I threw myself into self-help books, started to meditate and listened to multiple audiobooks. All of this is great, but I was trying so hard to do something and to fix the situation, instead of just taking a step back, breathing and trusting life.
We as a society have a very strong “doing mentality”, as we believe that we can only achieve things by actively working for them. However, sometimes the best thing to do is to stop thinking about everything so much and to just let it go. If you look around in nature you see that everything just follows its instinctive process without hard work or a to-do list. Even though we are so far removed from the natural process, in the end we are part of it and we need to trust life to work out for us: “There is nothing in nature that blooms all year long, so don’t expect yourself to do so either.”
The funny thing is that with nearly every situation in your life, no matter how difficult it appeared to be in the past, it now somehow makes sense to you or taught you a valuable lesson. I believe that one day I can look back at the difficulties I am facing now and understand how they fit into the bigger picture.
Waiting for the happy end
When I was small I always wanted to write a book about my life. Why? Because I used to think that every book had a happy ending and if I were to write about my life, I would eventually also encounter a perfect place in my life- the happy ending of my story.
This idea is probably also what fueled me to write this post or this post about the ups and down in my life, because I want to genuinely share with you how I feel and what I am going through, instead of just posting pretty pictures and meaningless captions on Instagram. I want you to be part of my story, so that when one day when I am deeply happy and truly content with everything in my life I can share this with you and you will know where I came from.
What I truly learnt in 2017
This year I learnt that sometimes you need to let you go of your plans and accept the new path that life has lead you on. Forcing things or overthinking them isn’t always a solution- ironically letting go oftentimes helps more. Whatever you do, you should do as much as possible of the things that make you happy. This applies for your free time, your work and everything else. Moreover, you need to find your happy place and be there as often as possible. Alternatively, make your current home your happy place. Once you do things you enjoy in a place that you love and when you spend time with people that you feel great around, everything else will fall into place simply because you feel good.
The most ‘all around’ life lesson I learnt though is to always set your intention for everything you do in life. I like the intention of love. When I approach a situation or when I interact with others my goal is to do so from a place of love. Having a clear intention really sets a beautiful guideline in your life.
2017 may have been the hardest year of my life, yet at the same time, it was also the year that I learnt the most. About relationships, about myself and about life- and I am truly grateful for that.
I wish you all the most incredible year 2018- you deserve it!