Before 2016 began, I told myself that I must make this year a memorable one. To understand why 2016 was important to me, let me tell you a bit about how I felt the previous year. 2015 was the year where I felt like the identity I spent a decade building was slipping from me, and I was pulled in so many different directions to make everyone but myself happy.
2015 was also a shocking reminder that life is fragile; that I don’t know how long I will be on this planet for and that it’s dangerously deceptive to think that I will live to be old and gray. All I knew was that if I didn’t steer my life in the direction I intended it to be, I might find that when I reach the end of my life, I will have regrets of how my life could have been. Simply because I was afraid to pursue the things I’ve always wanted to try in my life.
“Do not wait until the conditions are perfect to begin. Beginning makes the conditions perfect.”
Which is why I started 2016 by making some drastic decisions in my life. I needed to break the patterns that made me feel as if I am just going through the motions because I was feeling very lifeless inside. When the time came for me to share my plans with the world, I felt happy and scared all at the same time. I had a plan that I thought would work out. But like most things in life, nothing ever follows the plan you set out for yourself. Everything will go the way it’s meant to go.
And so I cut my hair the weekend before I announced my plans to the world
Not that changing my hairstyle would influence the outcome of my year. But symbolically, I needed to cut my hair to get rid of all that I may still be holding onto over the last half decade.
Then I did some traveling
The timing couldn’t be better because I was at the point where I was panicking and doubting the recent decisions I made.
Came back and became a hermit
True story. I avoided civilization at all cost for a good few months and did tons of reading and reflection in solitude. I came across great articles, videos, and documentaries that I will likely read and watch over and over again in the future.
Here are some of my favorite discoveries in 2016:
- 10 things I realized after I quit my job without a plan
- Want to Raise Your IQ by 23 Percent? Neuroscience Says Take Up This Simple Habit
- How to Improve Your Work/Life Balance and Reclaim Your Time
- What you should think about before you judge others
- The Importance of Self-Awareness, and How to Become More Self-Aware
- Clueyness: A Weird Kind of Sad
- Your Life in Weeks
- How to quit your life (and reboot): Priya Parker
- Jim Carrey Inspirational Video – Love Or Fear?
- In Praise of The Quiet Life
- Jack Ma’s Top 10 Rules For Success
- Jack Ma – Stay Hungry And Follow Your Dreams
- Who Am I?
- A rich life with less stuff
And slowly crawled out of my shell
My initial plans did not pan out as expected (surprise surprise). And yet by fall, I found myself at a place where opportunities came knocking on my door, almost on a weekly basis.
Read next: What is my One Life Changing Year?
My most valuable learnings of 2016
While there are a lot of lessons that I gained this year, the following are ones that I hope to carry with me for the rest of my life.
1) Trust my inner voice
Tim Urban from Wait but Why says it so well:
Your Authentic Voice, somewhere in there, knows all about you. In contrast to the black-and-white simplicity of the Social Survival Mammoth, your Authentic Voice is complex, sometimes hazy, constantly evolving, and unafraid. Your AV has its own, nuanced moral code, formed by experience, reflection, and its own personal take on compassion and integrity. It knows how you feel deep down about things like money and family and marriage, and it knows which kinds of people, topics of interest, and types of activities you truly enjoy, and which you don’t. Your AV knows that it doesn’t know how your life will or should play out, but it tends to have a strong hunch about the right step to take next.
2 ) Don’t underestimate the power of the universe
I have to be mindful of my thoughts because my thoughts do become a reality. Too many times I said to myself “I wish this would happen” and then poof, it happens the very next day.
3) A great year requires a strong foundation
Suffice to say, 2016 turned out to be a fantastic year for me. However, this isn’t solely because of the decisions I made in early January. I took the learnings, mistakes, and grief that happened in 2015 to heart, in hopes that I will never have to feel that crappy again in my life. And while I am realistic and understand that there are the ebbs and flows of life, I want to do whatever I can within my control to make sure that I make choices that will make me happy and work towards a fulfilling life.
4) I’m never too old to keep dreaming
Honestly, every crazy dream that seemed impossible became possible once I started breaking down the steps to work towards that goal.
“Sometimes on the way to a dream you get lost and find another one.”
I’m so excited for all that 2017 has in store for me. Can’t wait…can’t wait…
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