With every year that sails by, I take time to reflect on the highs, lows and lessons learnt along the way.
2018 goals and achievements
I’ve learnt through experience that setting too many goals in a year leads to despair when not achieved. 2018 saw me focusing only on two – finishing my first romance novel, Sydney’s Boxer and learning to swim. Each goal required immense determination and commitment. Both consumed so much of me and when things got hard, I questioned whether I was cut out for it. But I persevered and surprised myself when I finished my novel! And I learnt to swim at 43! Lesson learnt: It’s at the point when you’re close to giving up, when failure is circling you, when you have to surrender. A shift occurs, and a miracle happens. Don’t give up!
Losing a loved one
Roxy, my beloved fur-baby passed on 6 May 2018. I adopted her as a puppy, spent 12 glorious years with her, loved her unconditionally and never wanted to lose her. Her death toppled my world, stole the connection we shared, changed me forever. This is the second loss of a loved one I’ve encountered in my life and it never gets easy. Lesson learnt: The ones we love are only borrowed to us. They will return to the Lord sooner than we think. Cherish them while they still breathe.
2018 saw me enter my first competition, the Strelitzia Contest for unpublished Romance Authors. In what began as an opportunity to learn from a mentor and grow as a writer, turned into the biggest surprise of the year. My fiction writing, something that hasn’t come easy to me, that I’ve worked painstakingly at, was taken seriously and received an accolade. Sydney’s Boxers was chosen as a finalist and 2nd runner-up. I worked around the clock to finish and submit an entire novel on an extremely tight deadline. I believed that it had what it took to win the contest. But it didn’t and I was disappointed. Lesson learnt: Have no expectations in everything you do. Do your best and let God take care of the rest.
I started running in 2010. I loved it so much, ran numerous races and even trained for a marathon. But since being diagnosed with early osteoarthritis in my knees in 2015 and undergoing knee arthroscopy in 2016, I cut back on my running. My condition is confusing as exercise plays a vital role in maintaining my weight by not overloading my knees. But too much exercise inflames them, leading to injury. Running was heavy on my knees and had to be balanced. That’s where swimming came in. I alternated between the sports and was able to enjoy each and stay injury free. Lesson learnt: Don’t give up on the things you love. Do whatever it takes to fix an injury, research your condition, listen to your body and determine what works for you! You are in charge of your body – not a condition, not what others say you should do, only you!
Work and Family
I have a full-time job. I write in the evenings. I train in two sports. I have a family. 365 days go by in a flurry of too many things to do and far too little time. Everything I do feels like work in every aspect of my life. It takes immense planning to keep everything working like clockwork. It’s extremely taxing and I find it hard to take a break and do nothing. I recognize and acknowledge I wouldn’t be who I am today without my family, my biggest helpers who keep me grounded and tell me when I’m overdoing things. Lesson learnt: No matter how accomplished you are or how successful you become, it means nothing without your family, the ones who’ll take care of you when no-one else will.
I am who I am because of God. I never for a moment forget that. Every goal I achieve, every blessing I receive, every hardship I encounter, I know that God has played a role in it. There’s not a day that goes by that I don’t pray, meditate or thank him for this beautiful life of mine. Lesson learnt: Those who are grateful, will never need more, for they have all they need.
2018, thank you for all the good and bad moments. The lessons learnt will stay with me forever.