Friday, January 1, 2016

Real talk: Happy 2016! (and a few life lessons I learned in 2015)

Happy New Year, my dear friends! May 2016 bring you everything that you've been wishing for!

How did you celebrate the arrival of a new year? I enjoyed pretty low key celebrations with my family: we stayed in, ate way too much delicious food, watched some seriously bad TV (something I only indulge in on rare occasions), talked and laughed until we cried and shared a Magnum bottle of the best Champagne we've ever tasted. At midnight we watched the fireworks lit by my brother, and I kept wishing that the 2016 would be an amazing year for us all. And I also kept reflecting upon 2015, which was one of the best years of my life so far.

I probably say this each and every year, but 2015 was a year of big changes, personal growth and some much needed soul searching. Looking back, there were quite a few important life lessons that I learned and that I'd love to keep in mind for the months to come. Here are the most important ones:

It was the year when I moved into my very first own grown-up apartment. And after several months I realized hat living on my own is one of the best things that ever happened to me. After all that I've been through in the past few years, this feeling of freedom and independence is truly invaluable to me. Of course, it goes hand in hand with a great deal of responsibility, too. There's no one else to pay my bills each month, and if anything breaks down, there's no one but me to take care of it. But I wouldn't have it any other way. At least for now.

2015 was also a year of a complete and utter work madness. I can't remember another year when our family business was this busy, which was both amazing and exhausting. I guess the biggest lesson I learned in terms of running a small business is that there's no such thing as the golden mean. Either you're drowning in work, or you're fiddling your thumbs restlessly, wondering when the next purchase order comes in. There's no such thing as the "right" amount of work. I just keep my fingers crossed, so that 2016 would be another successful year for our company.

Another important lesson I learned in 2015 was, that my health truly is my greatest treasure and my biggest asset of all. I know that this sounds pretty obvious, but knowing this and living by this rule are two completely different things. I must confess, my health really wasn't on top of my list of priorities last year. In fact, a few times I came really close to a complete physical meltdown. I kept pushing myself further and further, not taking my limitations into account. But it wasn't until I had a long serious chat with my doctor, that I realized how bad was I treating my body and my mind. So I've made a pact with myself: 2016 will be the year when I'll make my health my number one priority. Because only when I'll be fit and healthy, I'll have enough energy and force to execute all my other dreams, goals and plans.

I also realized how wonderful it feels to stop talking about something, and finally start doing it. After years of saying I'd love to learn Italian, this year I finally bit the bullet and enrolled into an Italian course. And I had so much fun learning the first words and trying to put them into phrases! I'm planning to carry on in 2016 as well, and hopefully next time I visit Italy, I'll be able to use this knowledge to talk my way through this beautiful country.

When it comes to my personal life, probably the single most important lesson I learned in 2015 was, that I simply can't force a square peg in a round hole, no matter how much I keep trying (and God knows I tried!) I can be so damn stubborn and bullheaded sometimes! I hate giving up, and so very often I try to keep the pieces together even when they've already fallen apart. My generosity has an annoying habit of trumping my good sense. And I've never been really good at walking away. One of my biggest hopes for 2016 is that by this time next year, I'll be able to say that I finally mastered the art of letting go.

Thank you so much for bearing with me, and for letting me share my thoughts. Now I'd love to know: what were the lessons you learned in 2015? How did it make you grow and evolve? Please, do share!

And once again, let me wish you the happiest and the most successful new year. May it bring all your dreams and plans to life!

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