Hey everyone! Welcome to this week’s post. I hope everyone is having a good festive season. This December doesn’t feel so festive for me. I don’t know where the real December went but I want it back.
In 2018 I wrote about the little things. I read through that post just before I started working on this one and I still feel the same way about small achievements. We shouldn’t overlook the little things because small achievements are achievements still. If you feel 2020 has been that kind of year for you, you should definitely read the 2018 post titled 2018 and the little things.
…if I have to achieve the huge thing I’m trying to, then I’ll have to go through small and seemingly insignificant victories along the way.from 2018 and the Little Things, Dose of Wonani
Back to 2020. 2020 has been a different year for everyone. I remember in December last year, we started hearing about the start out of Covid in China. All my friends in China were trying to go home and all that. Then in February, before my exams to end the semester began, I started hearing about Covid in Malaysia. At that time, there were not so many cases at all so no one was really bothered. I remember the week before exams I went out with my friends and that was the last night I went out before lockdown started. I remember during the time I had exams, my dad told me to let him know if I wanted to go home. My break was only for a month and I was so sure the virus wasn’t going to spread this much and things wouldn’t get this bad so I told him there was no need for me to go home.
I regretted that decision a few weeks later because shortly after that, we went into a full lockdown. I have never regretted a decision more in my life. Three of my flat-mates left to go back home so I was left with Njavwa, who you should know by now because I have mentioned her so many times on the blog. Lockdown was tough. I only left the house once a month to get groceries and food but I spent literally everyday indoors.
A few weeks into lockdown or the Movement Control Order (MCO), my results from the previous semester were released. This leads me to lesson number one.
Sometimes I’ll Fail But That’s Okay
First of all, I was so scared to log in to my student portal because I started remembering the rubbish I was writing during the exams. I eventually logged in and the first thing I saw was “Fail”. Y’all. I had passed all my other 5 courses but that’s not the first thing I saw. The first thing I saw was I had failed a course. I couldn’t believe it. I could not. I felt so bad and disappointed in myself. I had failed before. I failed my A-levels but after that, I told myself to try and not fail in school again but it happened. I was just shocked that it happened.
That’s exactly my point. Sometimes we try and we fail but the important thing is we try again.
Failure is normal. Not just in school but in everything else too. Businesses fail, relationships fail etc. What you do next is what matters.
I had to recover really quickly from that so that I could mentally prepare to take the course again and hopefully pass it. So, sometimes I’ll fail and that’s okay. However, I should never get comfortable with failure.
I don’t know about everyone else but during peak lockdown, all my days felt the same. It felt like everyday was a Monday. Time had slowed down and I was suddenly forced to experience every single second. Time moving slowly and having nothing to do was the worst combination because what was I supposed to do with myself. Lesson number two.
The combination of not having anything to do and time not moving at all left me with my thoughts. For the first time in my life, things were not moving at 200kmph. Everything had slowed down and I was left with myself. It’s like I was forced to take a break and to slow down. This gave me a lot of time to think about stuff going on around me. I understand that did others more harm than good because sometimes we don’t want to be left alone with our thoughts.
That whole period however, reinforced the idea of taking breaks and just slowing down to breathe. I still didn’t like the idea that time had slowed down but for the first time, I knew what was going on around me and other parts of the world. I suddenly became conscious of everything. It’s important to take breaks.
I’m a planner. I’ve said this so many times before. Usually I will not go somewhere if I don’t know who I’m going with, how I’m getting there, who’s going to be there, how long I’ll be there for and how I’m getting back home. If I can’t answer all those questions then I usually don’t go. That makes me sound like a control freak but I promise I’m not. I just like order. I like things working a certain way and being in control of what’s going on around me.
I also like knowing what’s going to happen next. That has been my personality for a long time and now that I write all this down, my friends probably find me annoying.
I wrote about this briefly in a previous post but I was supposed to have flown home in September but then flights got cancelled and that just messed up so many things for me. I was so mad we were in a pandemic but I had to get over that because I have no control over that.
During my internship, there was one week when nothing was going right or how I wanted things to go. It was something new everyday and that was stressing me out. So I would wake up everyday, plan my day hoping I’d just be happy during that day and that wouldn’t be the case. So one particular day, I went for work and everything was going fine. I had a good day up until it was time to leave the office. I missed a step when going down the stairs and hurt my foot. After a few hours, I could barely put any weight on it. I got home and crawled up the stairs to my room. I had so much built up frustration at things not working out and the foot just blew everything up. I balled my eyes out. I had a full on emotional breakdown. That was nothing new to me but it rarely happens. I cried for a long time then I called my friend afterwards and we talked about it. I was so frustrated that nothing was working out.
Another incident happened a few weeks after my emotional breakdown. Again, during that time so much was going on that I had no control over and I was so stressed because I didn’t know what was going to happen next. So much was happening and yet nothing was happening. Everything was just hanging in the air. Now, I have a tendency to let things build up. I’ve written about this before, but when something made me sad, I’d just push it down without really addressing it. So when things pile up, it takes one thing to make me unstable. This time that one thing was my phone fell out of my pocket and cracked. My screen went black. I panicked. I had my first (and hopefully last) panic attack. My whole body was shaking. I was dropping everything I held and had to remind myself to breathe.
I had never experienced that before and I think a part of me couldn’t believe it was happening. I couldn’t believe I briefly couldn’t control myself. I got over that but my next few days were just as bad. I know I didn’t break down because of the phone but I can’t point out what the problem was because like I said, I have a tendency to let stuff build up and suddenly everything is a problem.
There is definitely more than one lesson here. Lesson number 3 and 4.
I Can’t Control Everything
If I have to walk away with only one thing this year, it will be this. We can make plans but we can’t control whether they work out how we want them to or not. We can write to-do lists but we can’t control whether something suddenly comes up or not. We can’t control everything and that’s okay.
I can’t always have it figured out. Unfortunately I can’t know what’s going to happen next. There are certain things in life that are just beyond my control and out of my knowledge. Time and the future. I can’t control those. I can only hope things go the way I want to but if they don’t then that should be okay.
I’m trying to carry that energy going forward because trying to control things didn’t help my mental and emotional health this year.
Declutter Your Mind
Empty your mind. Let go of the bad things people did, the bad things they said, forgive them and let it go. Let go of hurt feelings and let go of disappointment. Let go of failure and let go of sadness. Holding on to all those things is just not healthy.
I had that really bad emotional breakdown because I held on to all the disappointment during the week. I probably held on to tiny offenses made against me and many other things. But all those things clouding the mind, plus other things that might cause you stress aren’t good for your mental health and mine.
So declutter your mind. There are many ways to do that. You can write things down, Keep a journal, go for walks, do away with unnecessary stuff, clear your space etc. Also, monitor what information you take in. You can curate your social media feeds and you don’t always have to listen to your friends problems, especially if you aren’t in a good space yourself.
This year, so many people lost loved ones. Every other week I heard, read or saw something that had to do with loss of a loved one. Some people close to me and others who I didn’t personally know. Lesson 5.
Don’t Forget To Love
A few months ago, I shared a post with this same title so you can feel free to read it if you want. I’m just going to echo my thoughts from there.
This year has taught me that no one is really mine/ours. God put people in our lives but they are not ours to keep. I know. It’s crazy. Someday He is going to want them back. He will want you back. Someday they won’t be here. You won’t be here. We never know when that day will come but before it does, let us not forget to love.
Love on your friends, love on your family and love on anyone you care about. We are not here forever so whilst you have those people with you, love them. How you love them is up to you. Send a text, call them, pay them a visit, buy them something etc. Just love them.
I have been very intentional recently about letting my friends and family know that I love them. Let’s be kind to strangers because apart from that being the right thing to do, we just never know what someone might be going through.
Don’t forget to love.
Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. 5 It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. 6 Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. 7 It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.1 Corinthians 13:4-8
I could go on and on about what I’ve learnt this year but I’ll limit it to these five lessons. Things may have looked different this year and that’s okay. Things may not have gone as planned but that’s okay too. You being here is what matters. Never forget that the seemingly small and insignificant achievements are achievements still.
What lessons have you learnt this year? Leave a comment and let me know.
Thanks for reading! I hope you have a lovely Christmas with your friends and family.