10 Life Lessons, Courtesy of 2016

Happy New Year!

I’ve never been one of those people who ushers in the New Year with a list of resolutions firmly grasped. Nor am I an idealist who believes that when the clock strikes twelve, the slate is wiped clean. Alas, I’ve spent many years thinking the midnight toast paves the way for exciting adventures only to realize it’s simply a continuation of the same.

No, time has taught me that in not having expectations, I decrease the possibility of being disappointed. So does this mean I’m bracing myself for another crappy year? I don’t know.

I do know I’m not leaning one way or the other. Very much akin to being in a state of limbo, I greet each day with the question, “What now?”

Self reflection is one of the tools I use to battle, embrace, or accept any circumstance that is thrown my way. The minute my head hits the pillow, I play the movie of my life. Not all at once, but instead, one hour at a time; one minute at a time.

Thought after thought, I take in what I did.
Didn’t do.
Wish I’d done.
Realize I’ll never do.

I ponder ways that can help me make better decisions.
I justify my actions.
I pray there’s a reason for every choice I make, good or bad.

I’ve spent the first two weeks of 2017 reflecting on 2016. I want to share my conclusions with you.

10 Life Lessons, Courtesy of 2016

1) Nothing is the way it appears to be. We may think our situation is static but in an instant, life gets worse. Or it gets better. Though we may think we’re in control, the reality is we’re not. The faster we allow things to flow their natural course, the faster life will unfold.

2) Trust should not be given away. We’re fools if we believe we can deposit blind trust in everyone who comes into our lives. Trust should be something that is earned and as such, we should be cautious with whom we bring into our inner circle.

3) You can’t make someone love you. Sadly, they either do or they don’t and no amount of bargaining will change another person’s mind if he or she has decided love has left the building.

4) Our word is better than gold. I miss the days when a handshake was the way to sign a deal. Times when a person’s word meant he or she was trustworthy and had integrity. Sadly, those days are gone. It’s up to us to honor our word and when in doubt, not make promises we can’t keep.

5) Internal beauty exists. I used to think being beautiful on the inside was something ugly people said to make themselves feel better. Fast forward decades and I now understand no amount of makeup or fine clothes can mask an ugly interior. Kindness, empathy, and compassion should be beauty’s measuring tools.

6) The words, “I love you” are overrated. You love me? Do you really? Then don’t just tell me. Show me. Let go of selfishness, make sacrifices, think of others before yourself. But whatever you do, don’t think the words, “I love you,” mean anything to me unless they’re backed up with actions.

7) The truth can be ugly. But it can also liberate the spirit. Truth allows for a person to have closure, move on, and more importantly, heal. Honesty should always be exercised. Even when it hurts. Even when it’s ugly. Even when it means someone will be devastated. Because no matter the pain, no matter the heartache, the sun will continue to rise. Its bright light will remind us we’re still alive and while we may be broken, we can get up and start over.

8) Coffee and chocolate are always the answer. No matter how bad life seems, there’s something comforting about cradling a hot cup of coffee in your hands or savoring a piece of chocolate. Their aroma alone are testament good things don’t have to be expensive or hard to find.

9) Counting to ten before going forth can make the difference between a good or bad outcome. Fools rush in. Every single time. They don’t stop to take a breath. They don’t consider other options. They come in hot and get made. As a result, what could have been hardly ever is.

10) We are never alone. God always has our back. No matter the problem, we can trust that we are where we are supposed to be. Every tear, every moment of uncertainty, every doubt, is part of the process. Trusting in a higher power allows us to believe everything happens for a reason. Be content to sit in the copilot’s seat every now and then. Release the need to control everything and everyone. Liberate yourself from the stress that comes from thinking every decision comes down to you. Believe and have faith that while things may not happen when you want them to, eventually you will find joy.

What life lesson did 2016 teach you?


30 thoughts on “10 Life Lessons, Courtesy of 2016

    1. Brenda, so happy to see you on my wee blog! I love that life lesson because we are indeed stronger than we think! I think the harder life hits us, the more resilient we become. Happy New Year to you, lady! :)

  1. Thank you for sharing Bella. Reflection and learning set us up for the best possible path moving forward. Wishing you another year of strength and resolve for whatever 2017 has in store. I related to so much of your post and appreciate you putting your lessons out there for us to share. Happy New Year!

    1. Caryn, it’s funny how a gray morning and a cup of coffee will inspire you to write! The idea for this post was hatched on the first day of January but it’s not until now that I’ve been able to pen it. I do have to make more time to write. Thank you for your ever kind comments. They keep me coming back to the writing table! :)

  2. I love the life lessons you’ve given us here, Bella. My word for 2016 was “whatever,” as in whatever happens, I know God has my back. Believe me, there were quite a few “whatevers” during the year and powerful lessons learned. Hoping that 2017 will be a HUGE (my word for this year) one for you and bring you countless blessings!

    1. Martha, thank you for your kind words and the well wishes. They are much appreciated! I am praying that this year will have better things in store for us and if we have to battle not so good ones, then may the good Lord remind us to say, “whatever.” I’m going to steal that one from you! May this be a wonderful year for you and yours! :)

  3. Well what I actually learned last year is that God has given us free will. We are where we are in life because of choices we’ve made, good or bad. The Bible says God has set before us Life and Death, Blessing and Cursing then says, “therefore (you) choose life.” Once I took responsibility for my choices, I’ve had some amazing breakthroughs and huge blessings come to pass in 2016 that I believe will continue on in 2017. I loved this post even tho there are a few places we’ll have to agree to disagree. I do love your writing, Please don’t be so scarce in 2017!!

    1. Nan, my sweet friend, how I have missed you! I’m such a bad friend, I know! Please forgive my absence. I wholeheartedly agree with you–holding ourselves accountable is crucial to our growth as humans. My curiosity is piqued, lady. Please share the places we are agreeing to disagree with. You know how much I love the awareness of how we are all different in our ways of thinking! Kisses and hugs! :)

  4. Another great piece Bella! I think 2016 made me realize that time flies by far too quickly. I started the year thinking about all the things I wanted to do and ended the year thinking where did the time go not having done any of the things I wanted to do.

    1. Jon, I am honored you liked the post! Indeed, time does have a way of flying past us, doesn’t it? There are times I wish I could do more and others where I wish I didn’t have to anything at all. The art of dolce far niente is highly underrated! :)

  5. Bella, this is one of the best pieces you’ve written! My life lesson has to be to be a little more self indulgent. So many times we think of others but rarely do we think of ourselves. I think it’s important to treat ourselves to something small every now and then!

    1. Mindy, so happy you like this piece! I’m going to take a page out of your book and buy myself a little chocolate today! :)

  6. Bella, how I’ve missed you here — but how blessed I am to have such a wise friend! I LOVE your 10 lessons learned in 2016, and it’s clear to me you’ve had a very productive year. Just to contemplate all that Life has taught you in 365 days and to whittle it down to 10 well-defined lessons is amazing to me! I tend not to do as mujch reflecting as I probably should. Roll with the punches, as my late daddy advised. So my mouth is hanging open when I read the wisdom contained in just 10 lessons — thank you, my friend!

    1. Debbie, your words fill my heart, they are so uplifting! Thank you, thank you, thank you! I think the reason I’m able to have such insight (if you want to call it that), it’s due to the fact I have too much time on my hands, lady! :) Seriously though, self reflection does lead one to think more deeply of things. I wish you, Dommer, and Dallas a wonderful year!

    1. Daenel, you know I live vicariously through your oufit and coffee pictures on Instagram! Your style is to die for! So much, I’d be willing to trade self reflection for it! hee hee! So happy you liked the post! :)

  7. I don’t believe in resolutions either and enjoyed your post. 2016 taught me that no matter how hard I try to reach a goal, I need to trust that when I’m ready God will make it happen. I also learned that no matter how much I pray, I still dont have the patience for stupidity or ignorant people. I guess I’ll continue to live one day, one problem and one idiot at a time. Thanks for another beautiful post.

    1. Eve, your comments always make me giggle! Yes, amiga, I too often wonder where all the smart people have gone! Alas, patience does not reside in me and I pray one day I will make its acquaintance. I’m not holding my breath though! Sending blessings your way, chica! :)

  8. Dear Bella,
    However painful, lot of things you write seem true..This said i hope we dont get too sour on life.
    overall again a great post, We hope to hear from you soon! bye bye

    1. Hello Walt,
      There are times that the avoidance of turning sour is harder and harder to defeat. That said, I shall soldier on bravely and see where life takes me. Thanks for commenting! :)

    1. Hello Cara! Indeed, it was a tough year. Thus far, 2017 seems to be headed in the same direction. We can only try to stay positive that things will eventually shape up! :)

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