Four Things I Learned this Year

Four things I learned this year

Yesterday and this morning I watched as Instagram feeds from friends and acquaintances updated with good wishes for the New Year, throwbacks to 2014 highlights, and resolutions big and small for the year to come. I’ve read from those who are counting their blessings for a year fruitful with creative pursuits, friendship, love and travel, as well as from those who are relieved to see the year draw to a close, along with the hardships it brought them, from the loss of loved ones to reversals in their fortunes they have had to weather.

Personally, I found it hard at first to take a step back and look at the last twelve months with perspective because, if a lot has happened that has made me happy, grateful and proud this year, those close to me know 2014 also came with its lot of anxiety and frustration, and I’ve had ominous clouds hanging above my head on more days than I would like to admit. But the wise ones tell me that it is when we are trialled and also when we fail that we get to know ourselves better and, should we want it, that we can grow.

In this respect, I thought it would be nice to look at the last twelve months in terms of the opportunities they gave me to grow and the lessons and values I learned, which I hope will resonate with you too.


However defeated I’ve sometimes felt this year, I have reminded myself repeatedly that most of the things that give us trouble day to day are, in the grand scheme of things, frivolous, compared to what so many have to endure and experience. I don’t know about you but I’ve found the news this year so constantly heartbreaking, from planes falling from the sky, schoolgirls being kidnapped, the rampant outbreak of Ebola, and crimes carried out in the name of race and religion everywhere.

So, I’m not saying that when we feel hurt or upset we should negate our feelings but that it’s also good to remind ourselves in those moments that so much of what we take for granted in our lives we should really be grateful for, and that as long as our worries are not to lack a roof over our heads, food in our bellies, health and loved ones to surround us, we are among the most fortunate ones. 

My grandma used to say: “Save the tears for the tragedies” and I hope it doesn’t sound patronising, but this is genuinely what I’ve said to myself several times this year. In the face of adversity from people and from things, I have tried to be more humble and graceful. Technically, just asking yourself “Will this matter in two weeks, two months, two years?” makes a difference, and it has helped me to find back my balance in more than one tricky situation.


Disclosure: I can have a judgmental streak. Sometimes how people talk or behave baffles me and because I am impatient at heart, I have been known to judge others harshly, dismiss them easily, which is most definitely not something I am proud of. It may have to do with the French heritage, I’m not sure.

This year, I have made a definite effort to catch myself before a judgemental thought or sentence was uttered and to be kinder and more patient with others, to not make assumptions about what their circumstances might be, and to feel a little less offended about things not going my way. It is so tempting to see the world as revolving around our own little orbit, but it just isn’t, and I guess that’s me growing up.


This year has given me more faith and respect in myself than practically ever before. Trials have shown me how hard I can work, how creative I can be, and how far my enthusiasm can really take me if I decide to ride it. I have looked at failure and fears in the face, and at my strengths in a new light. I have been proud of a lot of my achievements this year.

Strength for me also means Temperance and this year, I have resisted being drawn into pointless debates or altercations because it is hardly ever worth it. I have learned to take some emotional distance with people who have proven to be negative influences or tried to take advantage of me, and even though saying “No” is easier said than done, it’s something that is absolutely ok to do. You cannot please everyone.


Rob and I sat down around the fireplace this evening and we reminisced about what we got up to this year, with a little help from our Instagram feeds. We talked about the trips we loved to take, the food we loved to make, the music and films and plays that made us think and laugh and cry (well, me at least), the great times we had with friends or on adventures together… and we made a commitment to do more of what makes us happy this year. 

The jury is still out on our resolutions but what really stands out for the both of us, is that to do just that, to take some time to reflect and to listen to our feelings and to commit to live a little more in the present than in the past or in the future makes us happier. We both got into beginner yoga and meditation and switched things around like walking instead of taking the bus, and it’s slowly improved our day-to-day lives, so there will be more of that next year.

I’m sending you all my best wishes for the year to come and if there’s anything that you feel you have learned in 2014, I’d love to hear about your experiences and what it has taught you.

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January 2, 2015

Happy new year, Jesse! It's always good to reflect at the end of the year - I've definitely tried to get through the bad days by asking myself if I'll care about what's bothering me in two weeks / two months or two years time and it definitely helps put things into perspective. x

Honey (The Girl Next Shore)
January 2, 2015

Loved this, Jesse. Here's to an awesome year ahead for you, your blog and Rob! x

January 2, 2015

Happy New Year to you too Lily and Honey and thank you for the kind comments! I've been delighted to follow both your travels and amazing food porn on Instagram this year, so here is to one more year of adventures! Jesse x

January 2, 2015

This is lovely Jesse! :) you've got some really really great things on this list. If it counts at all, I think you're lovely, and can't wait to see what you get up to in 2015 :) xx

Little Miss Katy | UK Lifestyle Blog

January 2, 2015

Thank you for the lovely comment Katy, and happy New Year to you! Jesse x

January 3, 2015

This is a wonderful list, Jesse. They resonate with me and I think we could all learn to be better at these things - self-awareness is the first step to improvement!

Happy New Year, and hope to see you in 2015! x

Miho @ Wander to Wonder

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