It’s a no-brainer that 2017 sucked for me. After coming back from Sweden, I fell into an existential phase that saw me start taking antidepressants. Mid-year, everything exploded. Important relationships came crumbling down. My heart was broken. My life was in crisis. I attempted suicide. I fell into a deep depression that still lingers on to this day.
But as with everything, there is something to be taken from the experiences we go through – even if those experiences freaking sucked and made you wish the ground beneath you would open up and swallow you hole.
So without further ado, here are 3 lessons I learned in 2017.
1. Nothing is ever certain. Life can change suddenly. Radical acceptance is a must.
People can tell you that they will “always be by your side” and that they will “always love you”. But nothing lasts forever. Things change. People change. You might think you have something incredibly stable, like a relationship or a job, and in the blink of an eye, it’s gone.
Our wilfulness when it comes to circumstances beyond our control is what turns pain into suffering. We often get swept up in our emotions, adamant that this is not the way it’s supposed to be. But it is what it is, and the sooner we can accept it, the easier it is to end our suffering and learn how to better deal with the pain we feel.
2. There is only so much others can do to help you – the rest is up to yourself.
It’s hard when you’ve grown up with this romanticised belief that there is someone out there who can ‘save’ you from yourself. There’s only so much saving other people can do for you. Trust me, I know. I’ve had many people – family, friends, partners, strangers – who have tried.
The thing is, you can go see a dozen doctors, therapists, psychologists, psychiatrists… you can pour your heart and soul out to friends, family and significant others… but their help is redundant if you can’t help yourself first. It’s not easy. Unfortunately, that’s the reality of life.
3. Life can present itself with opportunities even when things suck.
It’s just about getting out of bed and going for them. There have been many opportunities that have come my way in 2017. Opportunities that would not have presented themselves if things had not turned out the way they did. These opportunities were my saving grace. Had I not found the willingness to go for them, I would feel more lost than I currently do.
Yes, there are many things in life that are beyond our control. But I think we often forget that there are things that we can control. Like our ability to make decisions. To go out and try new things. To find a few seconds of courage and take a leap of faith.
So, those were the most important lessons I learned. And despite the shitstorm that was 2017, I still managed to have a few highlights.
- I met some of my beautiful subscribers in Sweden.
- I renovated, repainted and redecorated my room all by myself.
- I got swept away by the beauty of Sami culture and became slightly obsessed with shamanism thanks to Jon Henrik Fjällgren and Aninia’s masterpiece En värld full av strider.
- Eurovision. Always, Eurovision.
- My ‘7 tips for learning a new language’ video went viral.
- I travelled to Tasmania and found one of my favourite nature spots in Australia.
- My face was on the cover of a national magazine (and several websites).
- I landed my dream job with WWF-Australia and have a super supportive team.
- I got to go on my first field-trip for work and held a green sea turtle!
- I produced lots of creative content for work that I’m super proud of, like this one about the Coral Sea and this animation about tree-clearing in Queensland.
It is for those little moments, however rare they may be, that make living this tumultuous life a little bit more bearable.
What were some of the lessons you learned in 2017? I’d love to know. Let’s talk down in the comments ⬇️.