As the sun sets on 2015…
I know it sounds like a yawning cliché, but this year has gone by so fast… it is indeed an amazing feature of time: to leave you baffled and wondering where the time has gone off to, while making you reflect on how much has changed in 12 months. One greets new members to the family just as one loses others, and I have noted throughout the years how weddings and births are punctuated by divorces/separations and deaths, just to keep us in check, grounded in the realization that we are all the same at the end of the day, no matter the wealth, the status, the self-importance we attribute to ourselves. This might come as a hard blow for those who think or are deluded that they are invincible against the ravages of time. Much to to the chagrin of the pompous oafs out there, here is another 2015 parting cliché gift of mine: what goes around comes around. You’re on top one day and then you come crashing down the next, just because you thought nobody could topple you over. It happens, to the best and even ironically to the worst of us.
So in a very reflective end-of-year mode, I must admit that it is refreshing yet strange that most of us get so excited over New Year’s eve, irrespective of what our year was like. This is because despite the trials and tribulations faced, we somehow still hope that ushering in a new year on the stroke of midnight will give us an extra stroke of luck for the 12 months ahead. I was once like that and part of me still is, but it is now with undertones of skepticism and caution, a maturer self that is slightly jaded but still content, if only because I have experienced unadulterated serenity and peace in the unlikeliest of places, and not at all during one of those 10 seconds countdown-to-midnight moments.
So in a brief commentary here are some highs and lows of 2015…
Family – Despite the huge workload and study commitments (major lows and stumbling blocks!), I think I have succeeded in balancing my time and giving as much as I possibly could to family and friends. I would have wanted to give more, but sometimes deadlines were too strict. Yet, I managed to dedicate time to people, who often were unaware of the juggling I had to do to make the time. This is also linked to one of my pet peeves of the year: as often as I offered my time, people seemed to have some sort of excuse up their sleeve, with the result that the amount of times people bailed on me was considerable. I cannot say the same of family, who somehow is a more reliable constant… and the best part is when we are all together. Lesson learned: to expect less of people, to ditch those who have proved unreliable, and instead be more appreciative of those who really want to be present in our lives.
After family, travelling trumps all the rest. It is when I leave my home and my country that I find myself, that I rediscover the will to marvel and be surprised by the wonders of the world. If you lose a sense of marvel, that is when you lose it all. Travel makes me a better person, I would like to believe, as it stops me from feeling entitled; it also has made me more independent, and less dependent on the presence of people. This is linked to traveling in nature (cue in my travels in Yosemite, California). This year I ventured out of Europe once again (for the 3rd consecutive year) and with some careful planning and budgeting, spent a wonderful month touring parts of the East and West coast in the US. My blog is replete with my adventures, outfits posts, and travel memories shared here. Lesson learned: to be even more careful with spending so that travelling further away can be repeated in 2016, because while buying a designer handbag might make me happy for a while, it will not replace the real joy of venturing in unknown lands and renewing that sense of wonder.
So the next question is, what will 2016 be characterised by, might we ask? Well, if I had the definite answer to that question, that will be short of prophetic and I would tell myself to change jobs asap. What I do know is that to me 2016 will be an important year in work and research areas so I already know that lots of long hours await till I reach my destination. For this reason, 2016 will be a year of perseverance. It is also meant to be a build-up of gratitude for the past few years, for all that I have done and for what I have in my life. This means it is a reflective year of more soul-searching, to purge my lifestyle from things and people that have proved toxic, unreliable, and a waste of time. This also makes me more mindful of the fact that what I have, I must continuously work for, and that satisfaction is not correlated to spending money and seeking things, but is borne out sacrifice, compromise, and sorting out one’s priorities. If I am to spend money it will be in the department of travel (as mentioned above) for it is more worthwhile to invest in experiences than in material things.
In light of this, I have reflected that this blog will have to shift its direction (as it has surreptitiously been doing) to promote a more style-related angle. You might have noticed the change from some of this year’s posts where I wrote about designers’ work, clothes, and street style that reflect personal styling rather than trends or ‘fast fashion’. This is also connected to the way I have been shopping this year, cutting down on regular shopping trips and editing my wardrobe so that every new piece I buy is not a whim but part of a personal style formula. This might mean less outfit posts (because let’s face it, those make you want to buy more clothes, right?) and more street style (of others, which would make for more interesting photos, wouldn’t it?). Let me know if you have any thoughts on this one!
While I wish you all a fresh start to the new year, remember that it is but a continuation of your life, and that promising drastic changes to your lifestyle is only setting yourself up for failure or disappointment. Be the best you can be to the ones around you, and the rest will follow!