Reflecting back at 2015 and the series of events that have happened, I don’ think I would have changed anything that happened because at every point in those 344 days, a lesson was learnt. It also reiterates the fact that everything that happens in your life is for a reason; problems come to propel us forward into becoming a better you. I am grateful to God that I was able to experience the things that happened and more thankful for the people God placed in my life at these times who helped me to learn these things.
2015 had the sweet moments and the bitter-sweet ones but what counts is how we react to these events. Did they become a stumbling block to you or a stepping stone?
The 10 things I learned in 2015 are –
1. Patience – I never used to be patient with time, people, and traffic; sometimes I let anger get the better part of me when things don’t happen at the expected time or when traffic is sooooo bad like being stuck in one place for more than 30 minutes. But I found out that life is not that serious, sometimes you just need to take a chill pill and wait a little longer, bearing in mind that there are some things you do not have control over – like the weather, foresight into how the road will be for each day. Beating yourself about these things will only make you angry and a bitter person; instead of being paranoid over things you cannot control, learn to be patient and manage the situation – eventually everything will fall into place.
2. Savings – this year I saved more than I have ever done, I surprised myself this time because I didn’t think I could be able to do it. First, I decided to cut a lot of things that were not so important which I used to think I could not do without; this separates the ‘needs’ from the ‘wants’. Secondly, I created an excel sheet to structure my monthly earnings and expenditure detailing every single dime spent (thanks to Hadiza). This helps you know where your money goes & how to plan your spending. Thirdly and thankfully to God for giving me multiple talents, I do by myself most things other ladies will pay for like fixing my hair/ nails, make-up, DIY outfits etc. This doesn’t mean that I never went to the salon, maybe just 4 times this year but trust me, D.I.Y helps save some costs. Finally, I made some investments (you use money to get more money).
3. Little or no expectation from people – if there’s one way to stay happy, it is not to expect anything from anybody except God because when you have little or no expectation, you don’t get disappointed. Some people may have promised you the world and told tales that gladdened your heart – you had seen yourself living that dream only to realise that they were just a mirage. When people tell you they’ll do something, believe them but don’t put all your trust in man; only trust God.
4. Less Complaints – hehehe…I can complain for Africa, kaiiiii. I wish I knew how to explain this but 2015 has taught me that complaining about something does not change anything, instead it makes you become a nag to people around you because all you do is talk, talk, talk and talk without any action. Instead of complaining, find a solution to the problem and if you don’t have a solution, be quiet.
5. Being Valuable at Work – I remember when I started work, I complained about everything; there were times I went to my service manager and complained about irrelevant things. She will just look at me and say ‘Lynda this is Nigeria, we are not in London, things are different here.’ To cut the long story short, I decided to adapt to the Naija working environment and learn how to enjoy what I do while adding value in the little way I could. I smiled more, invested more time, paid more attention to details, and complained less.
6. Dealing with disappointments –you need to love yourself enough to understand that you should not let people get to you. Friends will disappoint you, sometimes family will disappoint you too, don’t let it change who you are or make you try to get even with them – it only means that nobody is perfect. I also learned that sometimes things may not happen the way you planned it and that’s OK; leave it to God, he can fix it.
7. Health before Wealth – In the last 5 years I had not been seriously sick that I will need injections or be placed on bed rest for days but this year, it happened twice and the doctor will always ask the question ‘what type of work do you do?’ In Nigeria, we believe in working until our body is worn out – long hours spent in the office does not guarantee productivity because at some point, your brain fizzles out and needs rest. You hear cases of people who slumped at work and died – they won’t be able to enjoy the money they laboured for. It is even more sad that the company will move on without you because in less than a month there will be a replacement for you. If your health was not so important for that job, there will not be any medicals before you receive your offer letter; so to be able to do my job effectively, I have decided to put my health first.
8. Monday is mot such a bad day after-all – Every Sunday night, you’ll see different bbm display pictures of how people dread Mondays; waking up on Monday morning is a bit difficult when you’ve had two free days of no alarms and early rising. But on the bright side, Mondays are always very quick days, the clock seems to run pretty fast and before you know it, the day is over. It is also the first day of the week and should come with some sort of excitement because you’re going back to the grind to make more money…. you’ll be smiling when the credit alert comes.
9. Silence is truly golden – sometimes the best way to respond when people expect you to scream and shout is to be silent. I used to think talking will help but I noticed the more you talk, the more fuel you add to the fire of your anger which increases the heat and makes you say things you really didn’t mean to say. The best way to react in situations like this is SILENCE – it will give you peace.
10. Giving people benefit of the doubt – I learnt that you cannot always expect people to do, say, act in a certain way. Why? Because people are different with different backgrounds and way of life so having a high expectation and becoming mad at them for not doing what you want or saying what you want to hear will be unfair. The man who is driving like a crazy person may be rushing to the hospital to deposit money for treatment for his child. A practical example happened to me in Balogun market, I hate people touching me so imagine how pissed I was when a guy kept tapping my shoulder saying ‘sister, you wan buy jeans’? My reaction is always ‘did I tell you I want jeans?’ But one day it occurred to me that these guys are only marketing their products just like I market the bank’s products to customers. Unlike me, they don’t seat in their shops and wait for customers, they actually need to go out there and pull customers in – this is how they get their daily bread. Since that day, I don’t get so mad at them.
How was 2015 for you? What did you learn?