Normally, I would start my ‘End of Year Reflections’ and set goals for the coming year by the 2nd week of December, but I have been too numb to do it this year. Every time I pick up a pen, one sentence rings in my mind: “2017 has been your worst year since birth”.
The numbness, perhaps, came from the fact that I felt like a loser. I was not where I wanted to be in life and I have never lost as much as I lost this year: making a huge cash-draining choice in my career that turned out to be a wrong move; not achieving a lot of goals set; being denied a visa that I normally would get; not saving even as much as a dime all year; still not being able to afford a puppy; still not being able to afford the kind of car that I want; being robbed so many times; my relationship with God becoming watered down; being disappointed by a lot of people, including friends and potential ‘baes’; the list seems endless! Basically, it has felt like I had lived the worst version of myself in the last one year. This was new for me, considering I always leave every year with at least 80% of my set goals for the year achieved. This year, felt more like 10%. A huge drop. And worse, It all had me feeling like I now have double work to do on my life, and it was so overwhelming I just want to close shop, wallow in self-pity and coast through the rest of my life.
A couple of days ago, while I was still in this hazy funk, staring at the long list of deadlines from clients and feeling depressed, a call came in. It was a friend who had applied to do a certain training for the first week of next year, a training I had applied to as well. She informed me that she had just gotten an e-mail that her application had been approved and that she wanted us to make travel plans together. I immediately told her to hold on while I checked my e-mail. I signed in to my inbox, and I had also gotten an e-mail, but mine said something different. I was encouraged to apply next year as the slots for 2018 had been filled. It felt like the last straw. I felt a strong burning sensation in my chest and I immediately thought: “that’s it, I’m jinxed”. For a minute, I even hated my friend and wanted her to get off the phone. I had been managing my sadness over 2017 being terrible and now, the next year was already looking bleak as well. All the high hopes I had that 2018 would be a sharp turnaround was already crashing down. I wanted to cry, but I couldn’t. I just lay in one spot for hours. I knew I had to share the feeling with someone…but who?
Coincidentally, my sister called. She just said “Hey, are you okay?” and I said: “why would you ask that? I am ok.” Then she said okay and started some random gist about a story thread she had just followed on Twitter and how it would be a great topic to write about, but then out of the blues, I cut her off and just poured my heart out, then started to sob. I didn’t know why I did that, but I guess I needed an outlet.
My sister, in turn, was a little shocked – as I have never been someone who shares a lot about myself, really. It is a thing I just started doing towards the last quarter of this year. After a bit of silence, my sister started to list to me the good things that have happened to me and to our family this year that I have ignored. They were simple yet important thing: a health scare my mum overcame; me joining new teams; getting new clients; and for the first time in my life, having an awesome boss whose aim in life is not to end mine; getting new travel experiences; earning more money; making new and wonderful friends who have made my life more colorful…by the time we were done, the list was actually long! I felt ashamed. How did I overlook these things? Even more, she also analyzed most of the things I listed as failures and mistakes and connected them to the positives that stemmed from them, as well as the lessons I have learned that would eventually protect me in future. It was a ‘eureka’ moment for me. She opened my eyes to the silver lining and made me look on the bright side.
So many times we are stuck focusing mostly on the negative aspects of life, we forget to see that perhaps, the positives actually surpass the negatives. We let negative thoughts become so powerful, we convince ourselves that it is better to just live the rest of our lives unfulfilled than face the alternative, change. If there’s one thing that unites us all, it’s that we all face obstacles. We all triumph. We face obstacles in our lives and encounter things that throw us off our course and challenge our inner strength. That’s life, with the lesson often seen in retrospect. Looking on the bright side was really hard, but now I can’t wait to embrace the New Year with optimism and confidence with hope to blessed with great things.
To all my readers, I wish you all a happy and glorious new year as well.
Written by: Nkem Ndem