2018, Thank You For The Roller Coaster Ride!

If I have not said it before, New Year is my favourite time of the year as it gives me the opportunity to reflect on the life that was and to look forward to the life that will be. 2018 was indeed a roller coaster ride of emotions, but I remain grateful because those emotions provided me with valuable lessons to be learned. I guess it is fair to say that 2018, you gave me false hopes at the beginning, but then you gave me the light in the end. 

So, how did my 2018 go? Well, I documented my journey in my instagram account, so here are a few of my musings that best describe the year that was:

1. Because we have each other, it's good vibes only.
- J and I had some minor health scare at the beginning of 2018. As minor as it was, it gave us emotional instability and some degree of physical challenge. I came to a point when I felt like I couldn't do anymore, however, I was reminded that J and I were in this together. The support that we had for each other during this challenging time was remarkable, and this helped us maintain the positivity and get through the challenges successfully.

2. Because tea makes everything better.
- I have witnessed through the years of living in the UK that people get offered a cup of tea when they are upset. Although it didn't make sense to me at first, I started drinking tea whenever I felt down and somehow it made me feel better. Since then, tea has become my comfort, like a dear friend really. :)

3. It's how you make other people feel and the difference you make in their lives that matter.
- I suppose a huge part of my 2018 was making a difference in how people, or shall I say women, think and feel about themselves. I suddenly became this woman who empowered other women without even realising it. It actually feels good to know that I am capable of doing this, especially in this world where women have the tendency to pull each other down. 

4. One day the stars will align and everything will go back to where it was before.
- Last year, there was an unfortunate situation that I wished never happened. This left me heartbroken most especially because for the longest time, I thought I was managing to keep things together. I was deeply hurt and disappointed to be honest, but I remain hopeful that one day, things will (again) fall right into place. For now, I  take comfort in my belief that some things are meant to be broken to give room for other things to be fixed. Whatever that is.

5.There is no challenge bigger than you if you have the courage to face it.
- I suppose it is easy for me to say this now because I have gone through a fair share of very challenging situations in the last 7 years. And honestly, if I didn't have the courage, I wouldn't have overcome those trials.

6. The bad things you say about other people say nothing about them, they actually say more about you.
- Some people are plainly miserable and they often only feel better when they pass judgement to other people. This somehow gives them confidence and makes them feel superior than the other person. But actually, this is not the case. It just shows the kind of person they truly are and I mean it in a negative way.

7. What other people don't realise is that- I don't give a sh*t!
- There was a day last year when someone asked another person in my face, "what do you think of Cristine?" Before the other person could open his mouth, I answered, "I don't care about what he thinks of me" before continuing in a lower voice, "because I don't give a sh*t!". Yes, honestly. Other people's opinion of me became insignificant the day I was portrayed really badly for doing something good.

8. Always follow the path that will lead you to your happy place.
- In other words, always follow your heart. Good things happen when you do. Trust me. :)

8. Happy and Proud.
- Despite being one of the most emotionally challenging and physically demanding years, 2018 will always be a special year. It was the year I took on the job that I knew nothing about. There were times when I doubted myself due to my lack of managerial experience, but I was constantly reminded by my deputy and my boss that I was doing a good job. I am happy with what I have achieved so far and proud that I managed to survive the year with flying colours. I will write about this soon. :)

10. Choose the right person to travel with.
- Travelling can make or break any relationship, so better choose the right person to travel with. As much as possible, choose someone as passionate as you. However, someone who may want different things will work, too (perhaps even better to be honest). But yes, travel with someone who embraces your imperfections, who generously gives you a space when you need it, and who prioritises things for the common good and not merely for themselves. Most importantly, travel with the person who has the ability to keep an open mind when things don't go the way you expected them to. For ravelling is all about seeing the best in every inconvenience, every wrong road taken and every moment of bad mood. After all, no travel is perfect. You just make the most out of it.

11. Once in a while, it's nice to give back.
- Until last year, I used to do some volunteer work for Alzheimer's  Society. Unfortunately, my current job is rather demanding, hence I can't go back to volunteering just yet. For now, I am giving back by donating blood twice a year. I actually do this mainly in memory of my dear Keith.

12."Don't worry, I've got your back."
- It is always reassuring when someone tells you, "I've got your back" and actually mean it. Sometimes you don't even really have to say those words. It should naturally manifest in your actions- that is if you genuinely love and care about someone.

13. Resilience. It is what will help you get through it.
- On Christmas Eve, someone sent me a random message to say that she admires my strength and my resilience. To tell you the truth, it has not been an easy journey getting to where I am now. Initially, I asked too many "whys"- which one of my religious friends disputed. In the end, asking "why" helped me find the purpose- of my existence and of everything that has happened in my life- good or bad. I never let failure define me. I picked myself up as quick as possible, as many times as I needed to. I did things to help me grow - things that I thought I could never do. I learned to let go of people I loved as soon as I start doubting their loyalty. It's tough, but this is the only way I know in order to learn, grow and thrive in the face of adversity- and I believe I am doing it right.

14. For the love of  food.
- Food has always been a huge part of my life.:) So last year, J and I planned to have a better food experience, and we did exactly that. In 2018, I ate a lot of good food, went to some amazing restaurants in London and in Italy, and had the most unforgettable food experiences ever!

15. Perspective. A good one.
- Life seems to be easier when you put things into perspective. It has been a good and helpful mental exercise for me in the last few years.

16.  No matter what the challenges, the only way is forward.
- I have gone through enough life challenges to be able to say this.  But seriously, no matter how overwhelming life can be and no matter how much difficult situations have shaken you, try to let go and keep moving forward.

17.  Self-reflection makes you a better person.
- Self-reflection is the only process I know  in order to connect with myself deeper. It helps me understand my emotions, feelings and actions better. Whenever I am in doubt, or feel that I have done something wrong, I reflect on how I can make positive changes. Self-reflection is the process I follow to achieve continuous self-improvement basically. It has provided me a better understanding and appreciation of all things that surround me.

18. One day, one person will question your character, but it's okay. Just remember the more than one person who can vouch for it.
- I am not going to deny that at one point last year, I considered quitting my job because I was no longer sure whether it was worth sacrificing the good character that I have maintained all my life and the good reputation that I have gained through the years. This was all because of one person. At the point of quitting, I realised that she was only one person. There are more than one person who can vouch for me. This gave me the the strength to carry on and the confidence to remain where I am.

19. Always be kind.
- I have always been a kindness advocate but I became more inspired to be kind when a then 5-year old labelled me as "the kindest in the family". I mean, if a kid said this about you, you got to live with it. But seriously speaking, being kind is the least thing you can do to other people and it is not difficult. One random act of kindness a day, can make someone truly happy.

20. All is well that ends well.
- Before Christmas, I went through something that almost broke me. I was trying to deal with it silently but one day, I broke down because I was feeling helpless. I almost gave up and was ready to accept the fact that our family will forever be broken. But God probably heard my rumblings because something happened which turned things around positively. There were tears and anger on my part, but who am I not to forgive and give people second or even third chances? 

I may have had a roller coaster ride last year, but it was a memorable one. I remain grateful for all the blessings that were bestowed upon me - most of them I didn't even ask for. I am thankful for all the people who stood by me for the entirety of the challenging year. Their love and support helped me get through the hard times.

In 2019, all I am asking for is love, peace, happiness and good health for all the people I love. 

I remain a work in progress and therefore, there will always be a room for betterment in 2019. 

Here's claiming a purposeful, confident and fulfilled 2019! 

Happy New Year!



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