The years go by… A retrospective look at 2012.

“I’m not the same person I was at the start of this year.”

The above conclusion came up in a conversation I was having with a friend on Whatsapp a couple of weeks ago, while we were looking back at the events of the year. For one brief moment, I panicked.

We often say “people change”, and they do. Yet sometimes we, ourselves, change and we hardly notice.

Change. Some detest it. Some are nonchalant about it. Some embrace it.

I’m one person that doesn’t like change (as highlighted in a previous post). It makes me feel really uncomfortable. I secretly think change is some sort of test that I might fail gloriously, and life would mock me endlessly thereafter.

But after a year of ups and downs, I have decided that failure is okay.

Where I grew up, failure is not tolerated. I remember getting 82/100 for a Chinese exam, and my teacher personally called my mum to tell her I wasn’t doing well in school and to make sure I would not do even worse. I laugh about it now, but really, it is quite ridiculous – 82% is a decent score, and I was eight! C’mon, surely an eight-year-old shouldn’t be defined by a number. But I digress.

Several incidents this year have made it memorable. Some of them have changed my perspective, while others have grounded my faith. Life is a funny thing – sometimes it catches you off-course. You think you have it all figured out and then something happens, and you can’t help but wonder about what-ifs and should-have-beens.

My great-grandmother passed away in January. I’ve never really had someone really close to me pass away, and I took her death particularly hard.

Loss entails a kind of grief I hadn’t known previously and would never wish on anyone. At one point it felt like my heart was getting pulled out of my chest, stomped on, and chucked into a pressure cooker for good measure. Sometimes there is an ache that doesn’t seem to ever go away. Other times I find myself thinking I’ll see her again some time soon, forgetting that she is no longer here with us.

This year, some members of my extended family, as well as family members of close friends have passed on. Some due to illness, others due to old age. Each time I catch myself by surprise and sink into some kind of melancholy, even though I wasn’t close to some of them.

I have come to a point in life when beginnings and endings have become some kind of constant. It is a sign of growing up when weddings and funerals become a time when you meet people you haven’t seen in awhile.

take time.

While it is cliche, time is such a precious commodity. While I’d always had that notion at the back of my mind, it became unbelievably real to me this year. There’s a fine line between being on time and being late forever, and I hope I never get so lost in the busyness of life that I lose track of what’s important.

This year, I learned that giving my heart away can mean a lot of things.

It can mean putting more than 100% into a project. It can mean being so invested in a television show, you are devastated when not one, but two of your favourite characters are killed (I’m referring to Grey’s Anatomy here). It can mean blindly trusting a person not to hurt you, only to have your heart ground into hamburger meat.

But I have always been a firm believer of love. It’s strange, I know. The Bible says in 1 Corinthians 13:13 that “Love never fails”, and I choose to believe – cliche as it sounds – that Love will find a way. So when I fail, I get back up. When my heart gets bruised, I find a way to heal.

Healing takes time. It takes effort. But in the process I get to know myself better; I begin to see the world with a different perspective. And that may not necessarily be a bad thing.

They say that every cloud comes with a silver lining. It’s true – I’m a girl with a hopelessly hopeful heart, and I choose to believe there is good in (almost) everything. (:

2012 has also been a year of fear. Fear of failure, for one. Fear of making the wrong decisions. Fear of losing my loved ones to illness or old age.

Looking back though, fear is sometimes a good thing. It is a reminder that I have something to lose. That I need to cherish whatever time I have with the people I love, near or far. Yet I cannot let my fear dictate everything else, overshadowing the importance of life itself – of living and loving.

It is a balancing act I have yet to master, but recognising it as something to work on (for 2013, perhaps) is half the battle won.

I’m not the same person I was this year, and it’s a good thing. Through the triumphs and trials, laughter and tears, I have grown. I have changed. Hopefully it has made me a better writer, and more importantly a better person.

I like to think that we were always meant to change. Nuance by nuance, sometimes not even realising it until we reach a pivotal point in our lives.

The biggest lesson I have taken away from this year… is to not resist change.

May 2013 be a great year. May it be a year of boldness and courage to face my fears as they come.

And though you started with little, you will end with much. (Job 8:7, New Living Translation)

There has never been the slightest doubt in my mind that the God who started this great work in you would keep at it and bring it to a flourishing finish on the very day Christ Jesus appears. (Philippians 1:6, The Message)

Happy New Year everyone! I hope it will be a joyous and blessed year ahead for each and every one of you.

What was 2012 like for you? What are you looking forward to in the new year? (:

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