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Five Lessons I Learnt From the Year Gone By

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A year- with its 365 days- is a great expanse of time. As it draws to an end, it is time to look back and reflect upon it. At this last dawn, as I head into 2018, I dream, plan and pin hopes for a better year ahead. The last few months have been dreary. Moments of stress and loneliness have been aplenty. Yet there were lessons learnt.

Lesson 1 : Change is a constant companion

The only thing constant in life is change. And these changes are of all kinds. Some positive ones that we welcome with open arms, some that catch us off-guard, and there are those that impact us emotionally. Over the years, I have learnt to adapt and acknowledge most of them. But, it is the emotional changes that I found hardest to adapt to. 2017 left me to deal with various feelings like, anxiety, threat, relief, joy, loneliness and optimism. As I reflect upon the year, I realize that we all encounter emotional changes in life. Coping with them requires time and patience!

Lesson 2: You could feel lonely, even if you are not really alone! And it is absolutely ok.

Living in a cantonment is one of the best things in my life. Much as I love the serenity of the place, and the wonderful fraternity I am part of, loneliness did creep into me. I wasn’t technically alone at most times. However the absence of the spouse for long duration, did create a hollow space within. I would spend most weekends at the beach with the children, amidst sandcastles and waves that lashed hard on the rocks. They soothed my mind. But, I still missed having the spouse around and, the interaction (and fights) normal couples would have on a daily basis. Thankfully the year saw me reading a whole lot of books, which helped to beat the blues and battle out the loneliness.

Lesson 3- Books are the best fodder for the mind

The mind is a muscle, and the best way to train it is to read. After experiencing a reading slump in the years before, 2017 saw me reading a great deal indeed. I turned into a greedy reader and didn’t mind experimenting various genres of books. Reading proved to be a positive change as I began to slowly look forward to those quiet moments in the day, when I would sit still with a book in hand. It boosted my morale in some unknown way, it calmed my fluctuating moods, and it did bring about a sort of renewed confidence.

Lesson 4: It isn’t worth wasting time on things that do not matter

Let’s face it. Most of us waste time on things, which actually don’t matter. And this includes what’s around us in reality, and the virtual world too. Worrying and wasting time on matters that is of least importance in our lives brings about decreased productivity and a reduced attention span. So, it isn’t really worth it. Ponder over issues, and reflect if it’s worth all that precious energy. Life is all about being yourself, and choosing to be happy the way you desire it.

Lesson 5: Travel as much as you can. It broadens horizons.

I realized travel is one of the best ways to escape from our busy schedules. December saw a lovely family holiday to Singapore and Bali. At the start of the vacation, there were worries about volcanic eruptions followed by an earthquake, resulting in a tsunami warning. Until the last moment we weren’t really sure, if we should undertake the holiday considering the known risk in Indonesia. Yet we went ahead. The holiday turned out to be a lovely experience, one that we would cherish for a lifetime. It was the perfect way to end the year. Travel teaches you much more than what you would expect. There are new experiences and new challenges en route. It teaches children to adapt and manage away from home in a land unknown. So travel as much as you can throughout your life. Surely, “You only live once”.

“Follow effective action with quiet reflection. From the quiet reflection will come even more effective action.” – James Levin

The year comes to an end and I step forward into yet another one. Garnering renewed hope, and pinning fresh dreams, its an adieu to 2017 finally.

Linking with December 2017 Gratitude Circle bloghop at Vidya Sury, Collecting Smiles Gratitude Circle Vidya Sury

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  • Sid Balachandran

    I know, I know. A bit late to comment here, but well, 🙂

    Some really important (and useful) lessons there, Ramya. And going by the number of books being reviewed her, I’d say you’re definitely taking Point 3 by thenhorns 🙂

    I so hope you get to travel more this year and of course, meet a lot more people and have a few amazing trips.

    Good luck!

  • the bespectacled mother

    These are some fine lessons which hold good for each one of us especially for the quieter ones. I know it when you say what it is to feel lonely even when you are amidst people. But, when one stays lonely for too long, one learns and devises ways to work around it. Books surely figure top in that list. Well I can go on and on but I will stop here. I have also heard a lot about travelling making a difference to life but I hardly know it that way since I end up being a tourist wherever I go. I need to travel as a traveler.
    Happy New Year, Ramya 🙂

  • G Angela David

    All the 5 lessons shared are so important and true, agree that change is the only thing constant in life and emotional ones do take a lot of time, travelling makes a lot of difference, I am happy that I have started traveling in the last few years and books could be great companions. Wishing you a happy and healthy year 2018!

  • Shilpa Gupte

    Happy new year to you,Ramya!
    Beautiful lessons 2017 taught you. It taught me some, too…and I am glad we look at the things that do not work our way as lessons to be learnt so we can work on ourselves, better ourselves. And, you are so right about books..they are the best friends we have!

  • Obsessivemom

    Happy New Year Ramya. Agree wholeheartedly with the points you made – specially 1,2 and 3. With the Husband being away I kind of understand the loneliness even though one has people/freinds around. Books are a great companion. That’s true too.

  • Kala Ravi

    Yep, some really sensible and wise observations here! Got to catch up on my books, somehow reading has taken a backseat in my life and I am hating it. Travel is again something I crave for but it just doesn’t materialize. Hope 2018 changes it. All the best and cheers to the New Year!

  • Natasha

    Hi Ramya,
    I agree with you that books can be of great solace. I believe in 2018 I will renew with much vigour my reading habits.
    That’s a great list btw. More power to you!

  • Corinne Rodrigues

    I’ve often wondered how my Mom survived being an Infantry Officer’s wife – with the constant separations. In 1965, I was 15 days old when Dad was called to the front. She coped with three children below the age of 6 alone and constantly getting news of casualties. But then the network of the Army ‘family’ did help. I’m glad you have your books to see you through.
    And I agree, there’s no substitute for reflection to bring healing, hope and change.
    Have a wonderful 2018, Ramya.

  • Shalzzz

    Some beautiful and important lessons they are Ramya. And I understand how fun yet difficult cantonment life could be. But that’s how life is, right! 🙂 Here’s to a very happy new year!

    Kohl Eyed Me
    Something’s Cooking

  • Rajlakshmi

    I can understand that living in cantonment, away from spouse can be lonely. I am glad you were able to enjoy the vacation even amidst the fear of eruptions. Life has its own ways to teach us lessons. 🙂
    Wish you a very happy new year 🙂

  • Vinay Leo R.

    Some beautiful lessons to take from 2017, and I agree with them too. Books helped a lot to keep me calm this year, and gave a lot of hope too. As did the travel, once in April and once of course in November. I hope 2018 brings some things to remember too, Ramya. 🙂 Happy New Year!

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