If I could describe 2016 in a few words they would be challenging, confronting, surprising and shocking.
No, they are not the most positive of words, but they really do encapsulate the overriding sense of unease that crept in throughout the year. I know I am not the only person to feel this way, with many of my friends and family also citing 2016 as an unusual year.
Brexit, the meteoric rise of Trump, the atrocities of the Syrian crisis, natural disasters occurring left right and centre… the global platform was wobbly at best.
Also add into the mix the deaths of much-loved icons including David Bowie, George Michael, Mohammed Ali, Carrie Fisher, Leonard Cohen… coincidence or something much bigger at play?
On a personal level I have had a tumultuous time at work, where I worked across three different roles and endured a drawn-out restructure process. This year also marked the transition of my nana into a rest home. Emotions were certainly frayed.
Despite the surface-level stress associated with all these events, I got through them all and realise that life is amazing, despite the complexities that come along with it.
This year I wrote 35 blog posts so to mark the end of 2016, I hereby give you 35 things I have learnt from this year.
- Smiling is important. It not only makes you feel good, but has a positive effect on others.
- I do indeed love singing. Playing in my weekly ukulele group has given me the confidence to sing in front of a like-minded group of people.
- You cannot trust opinion polls. The American election was a perfect example.
- David Bowie and Leonard Cohen were absolute geniuses. Their final albums, Blackstar and You Want it Darker were eerily beautiful and poignant.
- Getting a morning coffee is a valued ritual of mine. I get to have a laugh with a colleague, but also bask in the aroma of coffee beans.
- I am reminded to tend to my self-care. I can get over-absorbed in work and need to realise that these tasks are not ‘life or death’ and can wait for another day.
- Twitter is actually a pretty good communication tool. I’ve enjoyed using it to receive updates, especially in the form of conferences and speaker sessions.
- Baroque music is perfect background music when completing complex tasks at work.
- Taking a KeepCup to work daily is actually not that hard.
- I am proud of how NZ recognises and celebrates diversity. I am surprised with Australia’s conservative is when it comes to same-sex marriage.
- A culture of gratitude makes for a harmonious work team.
- I am more likely to exercise when I participate in organised group activities.
- Smoothies are fabulous for breakfast. I do love my LSA, bananas, berries and spinach combo.
- Standing desks are over-rated. I end up slumping on the desk, which I’m guessing isn’t a good thing.
- Elder-care is a growing and important industry. I am grateful to all the staff who take care of my nan in her new rest-home.
- Auckland has become a blessing and a curse. Blessing: great lifestyle. Curse: High costs of living.
- There is no quick fix for attaining positive mental health. It is something we need to consistently work on and maintain.
- The Hunt for the Wilderpeople is my favourite film this year. It’s pretty skux.
- Despite using devices everyday, I still prefer reading traditional books than using a Kindle. Sorry but you can’t doggy-ear a Kindle.
- The only time I get to handwrite is when I write letters to my friend Jamie in Canada.
- I aspire to have a portfolio career where I can flex and dabble into different types of work and projects.
- It is so important to research the company you are interviewing for. This was a glaring stumbling block for several candidates we interviewed this year.
- Have a spare toothbrush set and deodorant stick at work.
- I like using Microsoft OneDrive. I find it so easy for storing all my work documents and files, without cluttering the shared drive.
- Facebook is still my primary social media platform of choice. This year I used it mainly for receiving news updates and finding out about events.
- The youth voice is growing stronger. I am in awe of 22 year old Chlöe Swarbrick who came in third in the Auckland mayoralty race.
- As much as I do not support John Key, I do salute him for working tirelessly as our Prime Minister.
- Māori culture and tikanga is beautiful and a big part being a New Zealander.
- Being childless does not mean I haven’t realised my potential as an adult. I love how I can support and nurture others in many other ways.
- Auckland arguably has one of the best cafe cultures in the world.
- The ukulele is a way of life.
- I have heard too many stories of people who felt their creativity was stifled in their teenage years. Symptomatic of what society places value on.
- When times are tough, it is important to listen to the wisdom and advice of friends and colleagues. Thank you to everyone who has helped me this year.
- Yes, mum and dad were right.
- We must curb apathy. Too often we think that small individual actions can’t make a difference, but if we all did something small, then that collective action so much bigger than we realise.
I wish you all the best for a bright start to 2017. Live it up x