The 4 Hard Lessons I Learned From 2016

Every year I sit back and self-reflect on what has happened over this past year. As each year moves forward, I want to look back on what I have completed and accomplished and what I have learned not only about myself but also about life. I think that it’s important to do this every year to grow not only as a person but as a wife, daughter, sister, godmother, friend, and business owner. I don’t want to stay stagnant in my life I want to make sure that I am contributing to society and being the most well-rounded person I can be.

This is also the perfect time of the year because in January I turned another year older. Another year to the big 3-0. When I was younger (well turning twenty), I thought reaching this age I would feel so old and would be settled down with a heard of kids and all of those cliches that it would come with by now. Instead, I got the married part down, but everything else is a little late coming. This was the first year the I didn’t set New Year’s resolutions. One in part because I never actually remember what I chose by November and the whole only set goals because it is a new year is a bit cliche. I now believe we should always be challenging ourselves to be better people. Not only once a year. Here are the four lessons that I learned from 2016. Some being the hardest thus far in my life.

  1. You can change your bad habits if you really want to. I have previously been a big believer that once a ‘bad egg, always a bad egg’. Yes, I know, pretty black and white but it had helped me get to my 26th year. During my 27th I took a long hard look at my life and what I wanted as my legacy. What did I want to be known for or what did I want people to remember about me? I also took a hard look in the mirror and had to ask myself what was I waiting for and holding back when I was accomplishing my bucket list. So I sat down and (old school) took the pen and paper and wrote a list ending up with 28 items, ironically as I was turning 28 the following year. That gave me one year to complete each task. I tried my hardest and with the support of family and friends, I completed the majority of tasks. Am I disappointed that I didn’t finish the entire list? No. I set out to put myself out there and push my boundaries. Step out and face my fears and I did that. Here is the list of completed bucket list items:
  1. Learn how to make sushi
  2. Re-open One Up Communications
  3. Do yoga each morning for 15 minutes
  4. Be able to run again
  5. Be able to play the guitar again
  6. Participate in the #100daysofgratitude challenge
  7. Get a small tattoo that means a lot
  8. Become a pen pal
  9. Meet Andy Cohen
  10. Ride a segway
  11. Visit a fair
  12. Go to a beer festival
  13. Become a regular somewhere
  14. Start a tradition
  15. Read a book a month
  16. Meet one of my entrepreneurial icons
  17. Eat at Noir in Toronto
  18. Learn how to saber a champagne bottle
  19. Complete one Pinterest project per month
  20. Submit a piece of writing and get published
  21. Interview for/Launch a podcast
  22. Give back to my community
  23. Eat at a place featured on ‘Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives’
  24. Sponsor a child
  25. Have a spontaneous adventure
  26. Start a garden
  27. Hike in Algonquin Park
  28. Make my own wine

2. LET IT GO. True to the amazing words of Elsa (for all of the Frozen fans out there), holding onto things that cannot be fixed is not worth it. You are the person in the end that will take the brunt of the hurt. Carrying that negativity around isn’t worth it either. It becomes toxic in your life. It isn’t worth getting sick over or focusing your energy. Yes, acknowledging that this happen in your life is good, but letting it take over your life is not healthy. It cannot change what has happened and until they have invented a time machine, you will be stuck in the same rut, feeling the same way until you can move on. I had to learn this (while watching and listening to the Frozen soundtrack on repeat). This was one of, if not the important to healing and this past year. I apologize in advance for getting this now Disney classic in your head.

3. Relationships matter. This was a biggie and one that I realised the most these past two years. Surround yourself with the people your want to represent yourself and who you want to influence you for the better. Their support and kindness are what helps you through the day. Surround yourself with positive individuals that support your progress and bring the kind of energy you want to be around. It is important to work hard at those relationships around you that mean the most. Getting through the anxiety might be hard, but it will only get better. What I took the most from this year was the slowdown and be present in conversations and in your relationships. Work on my anxiety and my relationships that it has so badly affected. My goal this year is to work and nourish those relationships around me that I hold near and dear to me. I want to show those who have helped me through everything how much they mean to me.

4. You can’t plan. I have to admit I was a planner. I had planned my life out to a tee. From when I was finishing my education, to the 2.5 kids I was having by the time I was 26. Little did I realise that this is not how life works, nor can you change that.

After each life event and date passed by and I didn’t get to check it off my list a little bit of anxiety crept up in the back of my brain and so did the questions. Am I falling behind in my life? What if I don’t reach these goals by this date? Did I fail? It was a learning process that to cut myself a break and accept that it is okay and plans change. Measuring success and happiness were looked at differently each and every year. We can’t define ourselves on these things. Our bodies, our relationships all change as do what you think your life will look like. I used to think this is what success is supposed to be and that is what I need to be doing to stamp my legacy. That has slowly changed. I am grateful to be able to be here today. I may have stumbling blocks ahead of me, but who doesn’t. My legacy won’t be defined by these milestones that everyone has told or imprinted on me that I was expected to accomplish, it will be what I define as my own.


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