Wow, we are heading into another decade, it sounds massive, so solid, so expectant.
So many things have happened in this past year, let alone the past 10,right?
At the end of the year I love to reflect, take stock and give thanks. To see where I can grow and be open to endless opportunities that await us.
I want to encourage you and want you to pat yourself on the back for all you have achieved in the past 10 years.
This past decade particularly has been quite iconic for me – I was 22 now turning 32 in a few days. I started my adult life in a big city, hundreds of kilometres away from my home. I have learnt that you can only prepare so much for life – you can study hard, be good, do good, go to church, forgive, mess up, learn, repeat the mess up, learn a harder lesson – eat loads, love loads, meet tons of people, battle the flu and other illnesses in between life, work, love and studies.
Don’t forget leaning about finances and dangerous creepy people. I have bought way too many sale items that when I think about it, I didn’t really like but thought it was amazing that I saved money, but in actual fact I really could have owned a luxury wardrobe by now if I put things into perspective.
I spent way too much on time on what others thought.
I did not speak up enough.
I did not ask questions.
I let people get away with disrespecting me.
I did not know how to handle emotion.
I was chaotic, but in a cute way. Almost too sweet that anyone could believe I had a temper. But that’s the thing – we all do.
I supressed true feeling and did know how to process.
I hid myself in clothes, shoes, eating and trying to be the perfect person.
I expected others to make me happy and pick up the pieces around me.
I blamed so many people for my unhappiness and the joy that was stolen through the turmoil of my 20’s.
But then, I realised.. the only person that can change all of this was me.
2016 was a turnasround for me – the transition of knowing that this was not all life in store for me.
So here are the 20 things that I am proud of and you should also consider making a list for yourself too, so you can remember the good things amongst all the hell.
I always show up
I am professional, polite and had an incredible work ethic
I became a homeowner at 24
I battled sickness and toxic relationships and pushed through
I set boundaries
I continue to pray
I list the things I am grateful for everyday
I helped people through their difficulties
I am a good wife (most of the time)
A reliable and trustworthy friend
I am a devoted daughter / sister / granddaughter
I am creative
I am allowed to laugh and be funny and actually I am a funny person
I am incredibly intelligent
I am confidently humble and kind
I see the good in people and situations
I am dedicated to making my world a better place
I am fit and healthy and have healed most of my illnesses through, eating more mindfully, letting go of negative energy and conserving my time
I am an amazing, brave and involved mummy!
Now list your 20 things!
Remember good always happens amongst the bad – this is life. It’s how we reflect and the power we give the bad over the good that determines our freedom and growth.
We as parents are really our kids compasses, their
encyclopedias of life
Doesn’t this jut blow yourd mind? When a child is born, they
honestly are a blank canvas – a beautiful bubbly innocent soul, waiting to
absorb and learn and grow. Every idea, opinion, feeling / response they will
develop as a belief that they will firmly believe.
How profound is this – “You are not what you think you are
—–pause— but—what you think , YOU ARE!
So as parents, if we raise our kids to believe they are
good, they are conquerors, they are loved, supported, they are allowed to make
mistakes, they can be anything they set their minds too – THEY WOULD BELIEVE
that they are all these things and more.
Fact: by the age of 3, their sense of self locks in and
become a fundamental part of their make up. This sense of who they are becomes
So love on your kids. Break the mould of what can and can’t
be done. We are their everything- lets make them everything they can be!
More than anything lets make them feel safe, love and
accepted. This will give them a sense of security for the rest of their lives.
If you have a dream on your heart, a certain goal that you want to achieve. A niggling in your soul that there is more out there for you, don’t ignore it!
Don’t under-estimate how far you have come, everything you have overcome to get to where you are. Don’t forget the times you have pushed through on days that you didn’t even know how to. Don’t underplay the times you wanted to give-in to others criticism and give in to fear. Never forget the reasons why you started your journey, never forget your dream, your reasons for pursuing this life to the fullest and the strength you have inside you to live in the center of a life you have created, a life you have dreamed of.
I find it hard to envision a life of abundance and beauty when I am sad. Often I let stress and worry creep in and I get caught up in those emotions and can’t see the beauty in things or I don’t have the positive energy to see things from a different point of view. Do you also feel like this at times?
What helps center my thoughts and my focus to love more intentionally and get back to positive thinking is the following things:
First I try and recognize that I have not been myself (either sad, edgy, tired, cranky, snappy, negative, demanding)
I journal about my thoughts and often don’t know why I am feeling this way. Once you start writing you will start to see where the negative emotion comes from.
Think of a solution on how you can change your mindset about the situation
If it involves another person, talk to them about it
If it is a whole host of emotions and a series of events try to isolate the problem linked to each emotion ( I often end up so upset because I feel like I often look at things when they have become compounded with other issues)
If I go on too long like this, it drains me– your mind gets filled with I cants and you feel defeated. By taking control of the situation and your emotions you can deal with any issue in a more a healthy way.
Don’t cacoon – ask for help if you need it. Communicate your needs to others. No one can help you if you don’t tell them what’s upsetting you.
Go for a walk! Have a cup of coffee, a glass of wine.. treat yourself. Do not punish yourself when you are feeling down, rather try to add some sort of downtime to your day that will help ease your mood.
Breathe! I often forget to consciously breathe when I am stressed. A deep breathe can center your thoughts and just calm you down.
Don’t allow your emotions to stop you from being happy! Happiness is a choice. Today I have chosen to stop being so hard on myself and to be happy. Being happy is so personal to each of us – different things make us happy. Happiness is not a prolonged state of being, it’s a conscious decision in some small way to add some lightness to your day.
So the whole point of this to remind you and myself that there will be down days, hard days, challenges and people that may upset you – but don’t allow these hiccups to cloud your vision of your dreams and to enjoy each day in whatever small way we can.
Now I understand the saying “Faith like potatoes” There are times in your life that you have to literally be brought to the end or what you think may be the end before a type of strength wells up within you and then a miracle happens before your eyes. This is a place only God can dwell – where there is light and hope and courage, a work being done that we don’t understand but by just believing in the things we can’t see, miracles unfold before us.
2018 was already going to be a life changing year because we were expecting our first baby.
I had it all planned out from the beginning, I guess that’s human nature right?– how I was going to give birth, how I was going to lose my postpartum weight, how I was going to spend my days with my new baby… But what happens if things don’t go according to plan?
My pregnancy was overall healthy and I pushed myself to be fit, strong and engaged at every milestone. I accepted my body changes and I pushed myself to prepare a perfect environment in my tummy for my baby to grow.
It was an amazing journey to see this little life grow inside me and know that I was soon going to be a mom – a time that I have been waiting for my whole life.
I went into labour on the 5th of January 2018 at 3.30 pm – a very hot and humid Friday evening. We made our way to the hospital by 7pm and knew this was it – our baby girl was on the way.
I knew from the very beginning that I wanted to have a natural birth. I drew my courage and certainty on this decision from the fact we were designed to do this from the beginning of time and secondly that I came from a lineage of strong and determined woman where my gran had 4 natural births and my Mom had us three girls with no pain relief and pushed us out with sheer will, love and determination.
I was in labour for 18 hours! My husband held my hand and helped me breathe through each contraction. Being the holiday period, there were no anesthetists available and by midnight I reached 5cm without pain medication. We were told by the nurses that there may not be anyone who could administer an epidural for me. After laboring for 12 hours with breathing, back rubs and hot water baths, I was finally relieved with an epidural at 3.30 am. I was ready to push my baby out at 9am -10 cm dilated. I brushed my hair and refreshed my face because I knew that my baby would be entering the world at any moment, ooooh I couldn’t wait. My husband and I squeezed each others hands and were just so excited at this point, despite the exhaustion of the hours that passed. I was most looking forward to seeing her face, looking into her eyes, holding her in my arms and having skin on skin contact with her when she was born.
Another 2 hours slipped by and I wasn’t able to deliver naturally – the doctor said that I tried my best even with assistance with a vacuum the baby was stuck. I was given 5 minutes from that point to push one last time and then rush off for an emergency C- section.
My contractions were 30 seconds apart and my epidural was turned off before we tried for the delivery. I was in agony and had a c-section 40 minutes later. In that grueling time between the pain, the chaos of getting the medical staff around me on a Saturday morning, I started to slip further and further away and told my husband that I feel myself slipping away.
He was strong for us – held my hand and kept encouraging me. Moments before I was entered theatre, between my screams of pain we said the Lord’s prayer. At that time the anesthetist arrived and we were ready for my spinal block – So at this point I had had an epidural, attempted a natural delivery for almost 2 hours, received assistance with the vacuum and finally had to go through the spinal block because my epidural at that stage had worn off. (the nurses were saying that I had it all – every type of birth process)
Every second from this point was crucial and the baby needed to be pushed back into my uterus and out of the birth canal, the gynae had trouble finding her.
They finally got her out and I remember asking the doctor of the baby is okay – she said “We hope so”. The baby was limp, lifeless and silent when she got out. The pediatrician tried to resuscitate her. What seemed like an eternity we thought we had entered our worst nightmare where our little girl didn’t make it. After many attempts of oxygen been pumped into her lungs we heard a small cry! She made it!! It didn’t quite hit me at that stage this little perfect being, a fighter, survivor was mine This was the most amazing sound that I have ever heard in my life. I thought I would be able to hold her but she was rushed to the Neonatal ICU.
I was delirious, numb with pain, not knowing what just happened. I passed out and woke up in my ward an hour later. I opened my eyes and saw my mom beside me. She said that my baby is being attended to in ICU and we still need to hear from the doctors about how she is doing, my husband was in the ICU with her. The doctors explained to us that the baby had lost oxygen when she was born and she needed to be monitored and tested for any sign of neurological dysfunction. Receiving this news was so scary and seeing my baby go this was the next step in my birth journey – all we could do was be strong and believe in the best outcome for her development and health.
I saw her for the first time at 6pm that evening. She was strapped to machines and had drips and cords running through her tiny body – I was not allowed to carry her – everything felt so disjointed and the sequence of events to that point was a rigmarole of emotions.
We named her Eden Leia. It’s symbolic of God’s promise to us. A paradise of things to come – She is our delight, our heavenly child. God has blessed us so abundantly in this time. Eden’s tests have come back all clear – she has passed all cranium scans and apgar scores. She has fought through the 5 days of ICU and is still fighting now as she is receiving phototherapy for jaundice which is common in traumatic birth cases.
Eden’s courage, tenacity and feisty spirit in her very first hours of life has taught me that things will come our way that we don’t expect, that we don’t have time to plan for or make sense of. It’s in times like these that all we can do is fight and persevere and know that life has beauty in it through every day we have, no matter how hard it is.
We cannot wait to just love on our little miracle and start living as a family. Eden’s birth story has given me a new lease on life and everytime I look at my baby girl I am reminded of God’s unfailing promise to us that he will never forsake us. He has got our backs in ways we don’t even realise – just dig down deep and have ‘faith like potatoes’
"That’s what faith is–believing without seeing, knowing something is happening on a level that you can’t see–not needing to see it to know God is handling it for you. You believe in your heart and just trust somewhere “potatoes” are growing just for you" - Nina Amir
I have 4 days left of being twenty something. Yep.. the big 3 – 0 is around the corner and to be honest I am excited about it.
When I think about the past decade and what life has handed me it has been a tough hard ride with a lot of good times too.
We expect our twenties to be carefree, the most fun time of our lives the time for partying, exploring, dating and just living life with no regrets right. It’s where you start your first job, meet different people and even the person you may want to marry. You set out to see the world define your style and ultimately start living as a fully-fledged, funky, cool adult.
Well that’s what I thought it should be!
My journey has obviously been slightly different to this expectation and to be honest it freaked me out most of the time. It’s been a mix of good and bad, hurts and celebrations – I have learnt tremendous lessons, been depressed at times and survived a series of traumatic experiences, travelled to some beautiful places, grown in my career and have had to make some really hard decisions in my personal and professional life along the way. It hasn’t been an easy ride, yet, I am can see the lemons that have turned into lemonade over the years and all the valuable lessons and goodness it has given me.
These are the biggest lessons that have shaped me that I would love you share with you! *Click on the arrows to expand*
For the first 4 years of my twenties I was trying to define who I was – I graduated from law school at 21, my parents divorced in the same year. I moved away from home at 22 and started my internship at one of the most prestigious law firms in the country.
Lesson 1 – You can achieve anything with sheer determination
I was driven to make a success of my life and blocked out the sadness of leaving home.
My legal career wasn’t what I expected it to be (yes it was challenging and I worked long hours and attended lectures and night and studied for board exams in between – this was the side that I was used to – just put my head down and worked – that’s how I got through my degree – always focused on the end goal and blocked everything else out).
The side that I wasn’t prepared for was the emotional strain and mental exhaustion. The strain it placed on my body and the extreme exertion I felt literally stretched in every area. The side that I left unattended and blocked out – the vulnerable side that I didn’t pay attention to much reared its head the most in outbursts of frustration and fits of rage. The side when no one tells you that a cute pencil skirt and heals that was promoted so well in Legally Blonde and by Rachael Zain in Suits doesn’t get you the respect you deserve in the workplace. All the aspirations of this high-profile corporate career life was not what I enjoyed in the least.
You get stepped on and stretched in ways that you would not expect. The corporate world is one vicious cycle of working to prove your worth everyday, building a thick skin and also becoming fearless in the pursuit of success requires you to shut down to the elements of goodness to life. They say the best things in life are free right?! Then surely those things should’ve be attainable but I felt that they were the hardest to ( self-worth, time, laughter, vitality and joy). These things slipped further and further away from me. Having IBS and stomach and bladder issues all of a sudden and being in a constant state of stress was the reality check for me and of what my life was turning into – I decided to leave the legal practice profession.
Lesson 2: Often what you set your sights on and often work hard to achieve is not what’s meant for you.
I was unemployed for 4 months and lived off my savings until I found a job in another large corporate organisation (thank goodness I was savvy enough to save) – I was 24. The amazing thing that my personal life was looking up – I got married to my stud of a husband in November that year. And I honestly thought we were going to runoff into the sunset and life was going to be just beautiful. Well it wasn’t all that easy! The first few years of marriage were very challenging. We were both very young and tried our best at making things work despite the challenges we faced. We fell hard in certain respects but most of all we learnt to love harder to get us to where we are today -going through life together and building a future we want for our lives and relationship.
Lesson 3 – Marriage is hard work and requires both people to be committed to build it. You need to share the same goal, it takes lots effort, but is so so worth it!
At 25 , still with the corporate job I furthered my studies to become more specialised in the area I ended up in, Tax Law (the Lord has a sense of humour). So I sacrificed weekends for two years and obtained another degree.
Lesson 4 – Be open to expanding and furthering your potential even though sometimes you may not understand it
In this same year I was hijacked and robbed at gunpoint and left severely traumatized. This left me a bit numb and I questioned a lot about humanity and life itself. I started shutting down and cocooning.
Lesson 5 – most hardships happen to you without your consent and is a painful process and mostly unfair. (this one is still hard for me)
At 26 I lost a precious soul that I loved so much – This was the catalyst for a downward spiral for me. I was depressed! I didn’t laugh, I didn’t eat much, I lost all enjoyment for life.
Lesson 6: Depression is a silent destroyer of your dreams.
After months and months of deep sadness and lack of passion for life, I realised that I couldn’t live in such darkness and decided to start searching for some light. God has always been so gracious in his blessings and I started to count my blessings instead of my hardships and really prayed for wisdom in this time. This was the beginning of my journey of self-discovery and turning my life around.
Lesson 7: The only way to step into the light is to want it and grab it!
At 28 – I was recruited into a management position at another large organisation. I knew from the beginning that this wasn’t the field/role for me but I stuck with it because I saw the opportunity that it would bring.
Lesson 8 – Keep going and be open to opportunities that come your way.
Even though it is not my dream job – I am learning as much as I can to build myself up for better things to come.
At 29 I celebrated 10 years of being together with my husband and 5 years of marriage. We went to London to see John Mayer in concert! We have been on a few awesome adventures and I think the most amazing one is that we are having a baby!
Lesson 9: Life gets better – There is sunshine after the heavy storms.
A few days left of being twenty something
Whatever the next decade holds for me this I know – it will bring with it challenges but also joy. Down days but also happy ones. New friends and new experiences. Most of all I am going to embrace each day and live more intentionally. To spread love and light and be kind to myself to those around me. I will make mistakes, but I will learn from them. I will fail at times but I will persevere to be more. Both ups and downs are essential for my growth and defines who I ultimately become.
Lesson 10 – Be proud of where you and how far you have come at each season of your life – if you are not happy with where you are or who you have become, YOU have the power to change it by believing that there is more. There always is, trust me, I know!
Everyday is a step closer to fulfilling your dreams.
That sounds a bit airy fairy, right?!
When we talk about pursuing happiness. Making our dreams come true or following a path to find our passion, others may scoff at us thinking we are living in a false sense of reality or yes a “dreamland”. Dreaming is often considered childlike and too whimsical for us adults to do because life is hard as it what is …we just have to get on with what we need to make this life work.
The sad reality is that living with no hope or passion leads to a sad and depressed life. Yes we do have to just get on each day but it does not always have to be a drag.
We do have to make a living and make ends meet. We do have to wake up each day and get into the routine of chores, work, home, deadlines, difficult relationships, hardships, health challenges, loss, grief, anxiety – Life can be one hard, disappointing, monotonous and dull event after the other.
The powerful truth is that we have the ability to change our approach to life’s hardships and monotony. The way to do this is by realising that we have the power to change our mindset and most of all our heartset to life and what it gives us.
I have figured out that one of the most effective ways to do this is to start the day by claiming and noticing all the good things in your life (even though you may not be able to see it immediately) start with small things – Make a list of these things.
By being mindful of all the good things in your life and the wonderful things around you – you start appreciating life instead of just existing in it. You will see that by having a sense of gratitude and living with eyes open to blessings that have come your way will bring with it elements of joy and calm in your day that relaxes you and will spike your happiness.
Being a dreamer should come naturally to us, we were designed this way… to have a child-like sense of curiosity and wonder. To look at each day as an opportunity, but life has a sneaky way of dwindling this ability.
All I can say is that if you don’t have a dream in your heart life is always harder. Start small and finally you will dream big! Your dreams are your little seeds of magic that you can sow into your life that will start to transform the amount of fun and satisfaction you have. We all have the power to change the course of our life – one dreams and belief at a time! Make it, shape it and believe in it.
Oprah said that “The biggest adventure you can have is to live the life of your dreams”. I sure do want to have some great adventures, how about you?