New year resolutions are absolute garbage. I am sure this sentiment is shared by many people who realise that every year they make promises to themselves that they will never keep. Now, these promises are not unrealistic, they are just small promises we make that will never happen. Classic New Year resolutions include, “I’m going to be a lot healthier this year”, “I’m going to start going to the gym more”, “I’m going to pick up a new hobby.” but even as we say our resolutions we know for a fact that we are never going to see them through. More often than not I never stick to the resolution I make at the start of the year, last year I told myself I was going to stop spending so much money shopping. I purchased 3 new pairs of shoes in the first few weeks of 2017, just days after promising myself that I would control my spending (honestly, I knew my resolution was doomed from the start). Some of you might be thinking why am I talking about new year resolutions weeks into 2018, well for the simple reason that I consider the whole month of January a free pass and that there really isn’t a deadline for resolutions. People will keep making resolutions that they won’t keep, and sure there’ll be a couple of individuals who will actually keep their resolutions but those are the people who have they lives figured out (I envy them for it. I’m still trying to figure out this whole adult thing).
While it has become a tradition for most people to make their resolutions as we welcome in a brand New Year I find it a bit ironic to start the year with a lie. With this in mind, this year I decided to do things differently, I chose to look back at 2017 and pick out the 3 most important things I’ve learnt from my experiences. Looking back, 2017 was a big year for me as I was leaving home for university. It meant that I would be living in a foreign country and coping with a change in lifestyle and culture. So, without delay, here are the 3 things I have learnt in 2017.
1. Life’s too short to be sad
A quote that has always resonated with me was said by Audrey Hepburn, “The most important thing is to enjoy life – to be happy – it’s all that matters.” For as long as I can remember I have always tried to be happy and optimistic. I always thought that life is short, and we should enjoy the time we have. I understand that it is difficult to be happy sometimes. The world is a sad and depressing place, we see it in the news every day, but I always try to remember that feeling sad makes us human and it helps us to value the good times a lot more. In life, we will face countless obstacles and challenges, in those situations, it is important to look for the silver lining. It might seem impossible, but there is always a reason to be hopeful.
2. Life gets hard sometimes but that is not an excuse to give up
2017 was a year full of challenges for me, I completed my last year of A Levels and was preparing to attend university. Throughout the year I found myself overcoming various obstacles that were thrown my way. The biggest challenge I faced was during the visa application process, I was told that my visa could not be processed in time for my original departure date and that I would have to return to Malaysia to complete it. This meant that I had to make an extra trip between Malaysia and the UK before I could start my course. Not only did this cost us extra money, it also caused a lot of emotional stress. Throughout high school I had one clear goal in mind, I would study at a foreign university. When I received my acceptance letter from Kent it seemed like all the work I had put it was finally paying off, but with all the problems that I faced when applying for my visa, it felt like I was never going to be able to go. There were times when I felt like giving up, I told myself it should not be this difficult to get some documents processed and this was the Universes way of telling me I wasn’t ready for university. Giving up would have been easy, but I persevered I told myself that nothing was going to stop me from pursuing my dream. In the end, I managed to get my visa out (it cost me almost double the fee because I had to pay for the express service). As stressful as this was, I realised that sometimes things are not going to go the way we plan and life will throw countless obstacles at you, but if you manage to overcome those obstacles you will grow as a person gaining a new experience from the hardship.
3. Never take your family and loved ones for granted
One of the first things I realised after leaving home, was how much I had taken for granted. I missed waking up in my own bed, I missed the companionship of my dogs most of all I missed the presence of my family. It became clear to me that when I lived at home I had never really appreciated what my parents had done for me. All the little things like taking care of me when I was sick, asking me about my day and just being around me. Reflecting on the last few years, I truly regret all the times I argued with my mother and said I couldn’t wait to leave home. While I can’t turn back time to change anything, I have realised how important it is to cherish the time you have with your loved ones. Never take anything for granted because you never really know how much time you have to spend with them.
When I really think about it, 2017 was a challenging year for me, but I do not regret anything that has happened. All my experiences have helped change me for the better, I feel that I have grown as a person and have gained a lot of new experiences and skills. As we begin the new year, I’m excited to see what’s in store for me in 2018.