I’m a bit late to review, but the year was definitely one full of the lessons. Perhaps the most full out of all the years that have passed so far. Twists and turns, ditches and heights, here is what made me feel older and wiser.

1. Worse can get better, and better can get worse.

It was a real blow when at the last minute the room I was moving into was given to someone else. However, 2 months later I couldn’t be more glad it happened as it gave me the chance to move in with two great mates in a great place, which made for a lot of great times this year.

Likewise, the ‘dream job’ I thought I acquired, well turned out to be a nightmare and led to me being fired. I lost the ability to go on my dream holiday to the USA , but my job hunt eventually led me to a rare opportunity to spend 2014 working for a good cause and living on a island in the Pacific.

I’ve also seen children in the hospital be hit by sudden illness or experience a change of fate as their conditions better. You just never know.

From here on, I won’t be too quick to judge any scenarios I find myself in. For better and worse, you never know what is around the corner.

2. You can’t please everyone.

It took two different jobs for me to eventually learn the meaning of this. Being called ‘unsocial’ by an employer, convinced me that some people only see what they want to see.

I enjoyed lunch breaks alone in the park reading a book and limiting chit chat to focus on my job, but to others, these were a few of the differences they could not accept.

I spent a while being forcefully pleasant but it only made me feel fake. Now rather than wasting time trying too hard to change people’s opinions about me, I focus on the opinions that do count. My own, and of those closest to me.

3. Intuition is a gift worth using

That strange gut feeling is more than just a sign I’m hungry. Buying my plane tickets and starting my new job should have been great experiences apart from the feeling deep down that something was wrong. And a lot went wrong.

I also had a feeling that things were too ordinary in my life, and losing my job was a painful ending for what was going to be a completely new beginning.

As I started to pay attention and trust my intuition, it gave me courage and hope. I turned down interviews for jobs I knew wouldn’t fulfill me even though I needed the money. I started to stress less and believe more.

Four months and 100 job applications later, I’m off for a totally new experience in a role I never would have foreseen myself doing, but strangely always felt I was destined for.

4. True colours take a while to shine

This is based on friends I made and girls that crossed my path.

I consider myself a good judge of character and have heard the saying that first impressions are always right, but this year gave me a new perspective.

People are very conscious on how they represent themselves, and presumably they will do the best job they can at it. To some this is a job of minimal effort as it’s not too far of a stretch from their natural persona, but to others, it could mean wearing a facade like every day is a  costume party.

One’s character is also complex, and presented through different contexts. Everyone is willing to exchange smiles and high fives on the first meet, but after a while as circumstances change, you get to see if they do too.

The sweet talking girl may easily blow you off because someone else comes along, or the laid back mate may show his temper over the slightest misunderstanding or difference in opinions.

Patience in getting to know people and giving my trust is definitely a new habit I’ll take to 2014.

5. Friend-ships .. sink

I’ve learned that friendships are not an obligation, even if you have known someone for ‘ages’.

There is times where you are warranted in walking away or distancing yourself. It takes two to keep things afloat and eventually one person may stop putting in the same amount of effort or concern, and it’s time to jump ship.

This isn’t always intentional.  You may simply have different ideas of a destination and no longer serve each other in the same way you once did. This year I’ve made a best friend who in just under one year knows me better than people who have known me for twenty times longer.

I attribute the distance her and I have covered so quickly to the fact we want very similar things out of life. From there I have opened myself up to finding and meeting others who also share similar outlooks and goals to me. Spending less time with those I felt obliged too, was the only way this could happen.

I’m still one to care, but I just am going to make sure my relationships work on a system of value. Spending more time with those who enrich my life , and those who I’m able to enrich the lives off, beyond just being company.

6. Your life is yours

And my life is mine. This means things like success and happiness are mine to define. Losing my job and watching my savings slowly decline could have made me feel the same about my self-worth but I’ve proudly changed my perspective.

I started volunteering ,began my blog, and developed new relationships with others and myself . I didn’t make much income for myself, but I know I made many  positive changes in the lives of others.

It goes against society’s views, but I do believe I’ve come closer to experiencing what I  feel is success and happiness this year than in any other.

Lesson ? Feel how you feel, not how you’re told.

7. The world is stranger than you think

Strange coincidences and my first psychedelic experience have made me question a lot of what is visible and not visible. On the topics of drugs, religion and spirituality there are so many conflicting and contrasting views that it is easy to feel pressured or swept to one side. The ‘evidence’ is endless but the experience is undeniable

8. In the game of life, winning is anything but quitting

One thing 100 job applications teaches you is to never quit. It also teaches grit and strength. Strength that even with years of gym experience, I didn’t know I had.

Unforeseen circumstances also remind you how much at life’s mercy you really are. No matter how great things are going, you can get hit, and hit hard. The rules aren’t even fair. In fact, there are no rules. Things may be so far against your favour that victory you want, may never be the victory you get.

We can make it fair, however, by changing the concept of victory so that everyone not matter their circumstance or fight has a chance.

Through various books and other material on success and optimal mindsets, I realised how simple, yet powerful the mentality of doing the best you can, is.

If you just aim for, and truly believe it, it’s amazing how you can go from being reminded daily of how far you are from the finish line, to taking pride and seeing the accomplishment in every step you take. Over time you your pace picks up, and before you know it, you’re there.

9. I am responsible, so I should be responsible

It’s easy to play the victim and list off everything that went wrong in the last few years. But I read a quote that basically said, where we are today is a product of what happens to us as well as what we do about it.

I had things go wrong, but I also had many chances to make them right. I didn’t get the right job out of university, but I could have developed my skills in my spare time. I found my design course difficult, but I could have practiced non stop out of class.

Losing my job was the big hit that I needed to knock some sense into me. I realised that things could just keep getting worse and worse if I don’t take action and fight for the life that I want. It lead to major shift in productivity and mindset. Nothing is ever handed to us, but everything is there for the taking.

10. Motivation is like a flame

It flickers and may burn out. I have spent more days that I want to admit, in that exact state. Burnt out. Other days, there is no stopping me. I’ve discovered the key to consistency is monitoring your own levels of motivation.

If I’m feeling great, then I ask myself how I can cultivate this mindset more often. If I’m struggling, then I look for fuel to add to the fire. Friends, my journal, my blog and the motivational websites I visit on the internet all help. At  the end of the day, it’s up to us individually to find out what drives us, accept the highs, lows, and do everything we can to keep the fire burning.

11. It is what it is, not what it should be

If she doesn’t want to see you, she doesn’t. If you don’t have a job, then thinking about why you lost your last one, won’t help. Time can easily be wasted running unnecessary mental laps in our minds. Eventually we have to realise our energy is better spent going in a straight line in a new direction.

In short, this means leaving the past, the future and any other fantasies, and focusing what is, and more importantly, what you’re going to do in the present.

12. Everybody hurts

Seeing a psychologist was a big step and may have been long overdue. It required getting over my pride and accepting to myself that I was having trouble and I wasn’t exactly happy with how my life was.

The appointments with psychologist didn’t exactly help, but what did was the realisation that came in the waiting room, that I wasn’t the only one. Everyone has their share of lows and highs and difficulties at times. Being down doesn’t mean there is anything ‘wrong’ with you, its a normal part of life, and there is people and resources out there to help you get through it.

13.                                   (Nothing is guaranteed)

I said there were thirteen lessons and if you read this far you have earned the last and most important one.

Tags : 2013depressiongoalshappinesslife changemindfullnessMotivationnew years resoultionsself developmentself improvementself reflectionself-help


  1. I loved this list – thank you for sharing. Like you, Ive always been someone who could judge people’s character well but Ive encountered someone this year who after a couple of months of great communication and getting to know each other (long distance), seems to not communicate the same way. I cant for the life in me figure out why – was it just a facade? Did someone else come along? Should I assume he doesnt want to put in the effort and concern anymore? Or is he just caught up in his own life?

    Who knows, all I know is that it hurts because Im here, waiting to know that he is ok. I have been blessed with friends who are giving and caring (and it is well reciprocated). So this is a very new one for me.

    Thank you for that: Patience in getting to know people and giving my trust is something I take into 2014 and will need to learn more about.

    1. Hi Lily,

      Firstly, thanks for taking the time to read my list.

      I can’t answer, why the change in your relationship occurred. The only certainty I can give you, is my certainty that you can’t answer it either.

      Your job is to best communicate your intentions and concern and hope the person replies honestly.

      Hold your head up high if you have done that. Most of all don’t let yourself become bitter. It will effect the best of you that you give to the next person.

      There is nothing wrong with giving, but its when to know when to stop.

      1. Thank you kindly for your response. No, at the moment, I cant answer it either. I am patiently waiting for a couple of weeks to see if I will hear from him (long distance, dont really know what his life is on a daily basis, benefit of doubt) and Im hoping God/Universe will give me the patience to keep still thru it. Should I receive no reply in these few weeks, there will be an email communicating my concern…and annoyance.

        I know I am a person who places great value in connections with people – even if he or she is a stranger – lessons and friendships come out of nowhere. Guess very few people place value on such things in general. I will try not to let this get to me .

        But yes, definitely, stopped giving and I think it is the other person’s turn to help me see that they value my friendship. Ugh! Growing up sucks! 🙂

        Ps. Read that you are from Australia too 🙂 Melbournian here 🙂

        1. I was just in Sydney for the past four days. Melb is much better !

          I hope thinks workout. Just remember it may not be worth expressing too much anger at the person.

          Negativity breeds negativity. If you can say it in a positive way

          , eg, i am concerned for you, but also myself so I must leave things here. I hope to hear from you, and you recognise the effort I have put into this relationship.

          That way it leave things open for whatever the future holds.

          Let me know how it goes 🙂

          1. Thanks Mate – yeah Melbourne was atrocious with the weather last week but back to the mid-20s now. Phew.

            I finally did hear from him and he told me that someone else had come along, which was heading towards a relationship. And he wanted to know my feelings (why??!) and that I was ok to continue down the path of a friendship. I was very hurt and came out of nowhere – with complete disregard for what we had shared over the past 8 months. Anyways, sent a kind and honest one telling him I did care, I was waiting to see him soon, I did see a future and being together and if he didnt feel the same way, to let me know and I’ll move on….but…No response.

            (Neither of us had discussed the future or what we felt for each other at any point, thus I dont blame him. Things happened, circumstances changed. However, he could have dealt with this differently as against hiding from me for months)

            Waited for about 3 days (while I couldnt sleep or eat or function!) and the wait drove me crazy (come on, WHO doesnt have TWO mins to send an acknowledgement??!) Had enough – Sent another one out saying thanks, cant do friendship, beyond my emotional capabilities at the moment plus the friendship wouldnt work as Id have to think,feel, behave differently (be inauthentic around him,which I will not do). Told him I was open to seeing what the future brings in a different circumstance but I couldnt nurture the friendship at the moment. Wished him happiness, told him Id miss doing the things we wanted to do and if our paths didnt cross,I wish him a good future. This was the hardest email Ive written but I had to do it as it was the right thing for me and I didnt want him to think I would be ok feeding on crumbs.

            Again, nothing – no acknowledgement, nothing! Absolute disregard for what I had said and shared. Plus disrespectful and so mean. THIS is what broke the camel’s back. He wanted to really know how I felt but when I told him how I did (not in an emotional-girly-way) I heard nothing! In dont expect him to profess love but at least say SOMEthing! Made me think that he was asking me just to make himself look and feel better…ugh.

            Thus decided I had done my best, put my honest self out there but if he wanted to just ignore/disregard what I had written, better finishing it off here. It hard to maintain connections with people who hide at the very sight of an issue/problem. Doesnt enrich my life one bit.

            True colours took a while to shine 😉

            Sorry that was lengthy 🙂 Would love to have your thoughts.

          2. Coming from a perspective of the guy, and having met a few girls on dating sites / apps.I do have some thoughts.

            Firstly, regarding true colours, in the same way perception of colour works, it can be ourselves that sees them in an off shade. Brighter or darker. He may have not have intentionally deceived you, your interest / excitement / imagination may have let things seem more vibrant. When you don’t know everything about the person, you fill in the gaps, and we assume the best, its natural.

            Its why people always seem AMAZING at the start, then issues arise as they go along.

            That is that.

            Next, I’ve always demanded honesty from girls. Sometimes I’ve got it, other times I have not. When i found myself in similar but role reversed situation, I found it alot harder.

            Met a great girl, I couldn’t fault her, but it was just the ‘chemistry’ wasn’t there for me to peruse things. I spent so long trying to word things, that I didn’t reply. And never did.
            I felt pretty bad, and imagined she would feel like you do in way, but it was not my intent.

            He definitely, did a wrong like I did, by the lack of communication. But don’t take it all as a direct offence or with the intent to hurt you or lack of consideration. Being considerate can make it harder to say certain things. Keep that in mind.

            Less him , more you now.

            I think your stance was great. Respect yourself, and others will respect you. Part of that respect , is how you let others deteriorate the quality of your life. He doesn’t deserve to have you down for 3 days, so get back up ! If you hurt, then use that hurt to do better for the next week. Find an outlet.

            I’ve been hurt. We all have. I put myself out for people, often too far. I still write birthday cards to an ex from 4 years ago. Only because I made a promise the day we split, that no matter how far away i go, I’ll never be gone. I never get a response, but I don’t do it for her. I do it for me.
            Doing my best, with integrity and the values I decided to live my life by.

            If he hasn’t enriched your life, at least the experience has. You are stronger and know one thing you definitely seek from another is open honest communication.

            Even if you did get together, something else may have come up down the track.

            Life goes on.

            Sorry this was lengthy, but if you got to the end, at least you know you can function ! ahha or at least read.

            – Boy

          3. Thank you so much for take the time to respond 🙂

            You are very right with the fact that my perspective of him has been tainted by the fact that I have been excited about him and getting to know him. Probably this changed colours a bit and yes, made him look a lot more appealing than what he is. Distance also meant that there were a lot of blanks to fill, which I filled with positive aspects. Nevertheless, I did not wish make any major decisions or assumptions until I got to see him again – more face to face time to know the real him. It looked all so amazing until he started to change and perhaps, this ‘new’ him is who he truly is.

            I do get what you are say – I don’t want to think that this person is mean and has gone about this wanting to hurt me. I think deep inside, inspite of the fact that I feel hurt at the moment, I think he did the best that he thought. I do and have I told him so too, appreciate him being honest about this. Circumstances changed and he is not to blame for that change. I do wish him all the happiness. But for my own self-respect and self-care, I cant be a part of his life.

            Have I been to harsh to cut him out of my life completely? I dont know. But how do you ever know what is right or wrong in such a situation?

            But yes, not communicating is what killed this. His delay and silence. And the distance. Unfortunately, I do feel I was ‘tossed out the door’ the moment someone new came along. Like anyone else, I want him to know I am worth it, worth stepping out of his fear-zone and talking to me… worth fighting for. But no acknowledgement leaves me with nothing than “he doesn’t really care enough to say something..and he didnt actually wish to be friends”

            The chemistry was partially explored the first time we met (great) and the communication and sharing after was great too (or so I thought). But Im not there, Im not next to him and I thought since I was moving closer to him in a couple of months, it meant that we could further explore what we felt. But that was not to be 🙂

            I think it is admirable that you send a card to your ex (not very nice that she doesn’t respond) but you know what, it is great that you live your life the way you wish. You draw your own values and your goals and stick to it. Not too many out there who do that. You shouldn’t stop. I too sent a kind email to this man, against all of my friends saying not to, purely because my values instruct me to appreciate what this person has brought into my life – lessons and thoughts and expansion and challenging of my values. All the things that make me stronger. I do it for me because I need to do the best I can.

            Haha! I am back up and back to (almost) fighting form. I shared with friends what you said about self-respect including not letting anyone else deteriorate the quality of your life – brilliant stuff. You are much wise 🙂

            Life indeed goes on. And it gets better. With a lot more great lessons in the bag everyday.

            Thanks again mate. Sorry if I turned this into a therapy session, wasn’t my intention at all.


          4. Im proud of you. This was perfect.

            “I do wish him all the happiness. But for my own self-respect and self-care, I cant be a part of his life”

            I once said the same thing to a girl with the same name was you.

            This was also well said

            “purely because my values instruct me to appreciate what this person has brought into my life – lessons and thoughts and expansion and challenging of my values.”

            And I relate to this one even more.

            I advise you write about this experience in your own journal or take note.We easily forget the lessons once we are out of class for the day.

            I don’t consider this a therapy session.Write as much as you want. I just ask you spread the blog / facebook page to help others join in. I remembered a few things about my experiences from what you said, so thanks for helping me out too.

            This was just a conversation between two friends 🙂

            – Boy

  2. Thank you, that is very kind. Conversation between friends it is 🙂

    I have been telling friend’s about your blog but you know, there seems to be a shortage of people who are wanting and willing to explore their higher self. To think, to feel, to sit with it, to overcome the tough bits with compassion and patience. Most of the people I know are not keen to look within themselves, work through their fears and troubles. I think they find it so much easier to just let it be or worse, pink elephant in the room.

    I have recently started to journal my thoughts and this long weekend, I will be putting some of them down. It is easy to forget but once in the journal, it helps turn a bad day around pretty quickly.

    Happy Australia Day!


    1. Lily you sound a really good friend (and an ex… heh). Distance is a massive killer. So in my opinion it is less about you as a person and more about the situation and the distance.

      Oh and try not to mind fuck yourself. A great psychologist Albert Ellis believed nearly all of human suffering is self inflicted. He was the godfather of a cognitive-behavioral therapy and in his own words “You largely constructed your [suffering]. It wasn’t given to you. Therefore, you can deconstruct it.”

      1. Thank you Greazy! That is so true! I am a massive over thinker and I do it to myself every single time! It is something I am learning to change but it is tough. I try to remind myself to not believe in everything I think…another tough one.Heaps of work to do, heaps to change and learn.

        But I am truly looking forward to moving past all this and growing stronger (not jaded) and be willing to walk into even awesome-er new doors.

  3. #8 hits home for me. If everyone changed their idea of success or victory then we would all be happier. One of my favorite quotes is: Success is the timely pursuit of intentions.

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