Photo: View of the endless ocean from Limassol in Cyprus. 

We’re now in the middle of November, and soon enough, we’ll be hitting December. In other words, we are approaching the end of the year 2023.

Looking back, this year has left me feeling tired and a bit burnt out. However, woven into this fatigue is a profound sense of achievement.

The relentless pursuit of personal goals—hitting work targets, navigating a series of examinations for my ongoing Masters degree, and dedicating time to personal growth in terms of appearance, health, and relationships—has defined the challenges of this year. It feels like I’ve worked harder than ever before.

No doubt this year has been a real challenge, but in the midst of it all,  I’ve witnessed substantial personal growth. Especially the past few weeks, I’ve noticed a change in myself as feel more mature, calmer, and authentically connected to life.

Here are a few things I’ve figured out along the way:

  1. Friends are a big deal. They’re like the support you need when things get tough – like crutches when you feel you can’t walk.

  2. Family is everything. When I look at my parents, I realise how much they’ve done for me and my brother, the hurdles they’ve faced, and how strong they are. I’m so grateful to them, and honestly, I don’t know if there’s anything I can do to match up to what they’ve done for us.

  3. Not everything needs a response. Sometimes, it’s okay to stay quiet. It’s not about bottling things up but about keeping your peace of mind. I wish I got this earlier; it would have saved me from a lot of unnecessary drama.

  4. Social media can mess with your head. It takes up so much time time, and most of what you see there isn’t real. Taking breaks, posting less, and not caring too much about what’s happening online can be liberating. If you’re looking to kill time, podcasts are a way better choice. I’ve been watching videos from The Diary of a CEO, First Things THRST, Christ Williamson Modern Wisdom, and the Jay Shetty podcast. Try it sometime, seriously. 

  5. Health is a must. Yeah, it sounds like a cliché, but eating clean, working out, taking walks, enjoying good coffee in the sun, and hugging your dog – those small things can really really boost your well-being.

  6. Your perspective on romantic relationships will change. By the time you hit 30, you’re not chasing intensity; you’re after peace. It’s not about taking risks but having security. Real imperfections become way more appealing than fake perfection. In other words, the profile of what your potential life partner looks like could look completely different from the one you had in your 20s.

I genuinely hope that as this year draws to a close, you find yourself looking back with a sense of pride in your accomplishments. You faced this journey with courage, embracing substantial risks, navigating through a multitude of challenges, and undoubtedly, confronting moments when the idea of giving up might have crossed your mind. Nevertheless, you persevered. Here’s to the optimism that 2024 will be the year when the fruits of all our collective labour materialise, bringing forth the rewards and successes we’ve diligently worked towards.