The end of the year – or technically, the decade – looms, with New Year’s Eve just a few days away.
As is custom with new beginnings, many people will be looking back at the past 12 months and reviewing how it’s gone.
Whether you have reached the goals you set yourself or not, it’s important not to dwell on the negative – but that doesn’t mean that you can’t learn from the past and do better in the future.
We asked people to tell us the biggest lessons 2019 has taught them, and if this has changed how they will approach 2020.
From stories of professional success to personal revelations, and everything in-between (including a harrowing dentist tale), here’s what they told us.
What lessons have you learned in 2019?
‘I had a pretty awful friendship breakdown, and I felt guilty and awful about it for months – and I felt like I had failed. But, having come through the other side, I have learnt that the end of friendship isn’t a failure, and it can actually be the best thing for both parties. It hasn’t been an easy lesson, but it has been an important one.
‘It has made me realise that all relationships are fluid and changeable and not always permanent – and that doesn’t have to be a bad thing.’
‘I was made redundant in the summer and it really got to me emotionally. But when I accepted it was totally out of my control, and there’s nothing I could do to change it, I felt such a weight had lifted. I’m now trying to apply that mindset to all kinds of different things and feel such much more relaxed and happier in general. Also, flossing is really f***ing important – I learnt the hard way when I had to go to the dentist and my mouth was ripped apart by the hygienist.’
‘This year I learned that I want to be just like Coleen Rooney when I grow up. It’s Wagatha Christie’s world now – we’re all just living in it.’
‘I left my job in October this year after realising the toxic environment was ruining my mental health, which affected my relationships at home, too. I was at director level, and have taken a step back.
‘I now work at a company that looks after their staff’s mental and physical health, while supporting professional development wholeheartedly.’
And if you are under any illusion that dating in 2019 was fun…’This year, I have learned the importance of not feeling pressured to add someone to my life unless they add something to it. Why should I stress myself over a man if he isn’t actively bringing something to the table that I haven’t already got?’
‘This time four years ago, my son Lucas, who was six, was in a wheelchair with a broken pelvis – he has hip dysplasia and it was just one of many operations. He was broken, so was I – my husband and other son weren’t doing too well either.
‘Six months later we moved to Devon and it was the best decision ever because life has changed so much. This year, I have taken up surfing, finally written my second book and grown my business, which I had to give up to care for Lucas. I stood on the beach yesterday, it was nearly dark, my dog was with me and I cried big, happy tears – this has been my year because I didn’t give up and never will.’
‘Therapist taught me to lean on myself when it comes to self-worth and confidence. She also taught me to place the same value on my mental health as I do physical.’
‘I went through a period where I didn’t feel like I could be myself – at work, at home, with friends. My lesson for 2020 is to learn that people can either accept who I am or f*** right off. My life is not about pleasing others with my personality.’
‘I’ve learned to always listen, and always give to those that deserve your advice – but know when to take it from other people, too. You can’t have the whole world on your shoulders without sharing it with those who can listen to your problems, too.’
‘Lessons from 2019: That humans can be weird and can let you down so it’s best not to predicate your happiness on the actions of others. Make happiness an inside job and have others contribute and add to it. You’ll be far happier all round.’
‘That rejection isn’t personal. And when your body tells you it’s tired, listen to it.’
‘This year I have learned three lessons:
‘1. To always trust my intuition.
‘2. Romantic relationship is an opportunity to grow. That seeking constant security from my partner and perpetually feeling that I am not receiving enough intimacy, has nothing to do with my partner, but with the stability of my relationships forged in childhood with my primary caregivers.
‘3. That I am enough.’
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‘Just go with it! Don’t be afraid of what people think, prove to them that it’ll work!
‘In 2019 I’ve learnt to strengthen my boundaries and look after myself better – can’t set myself on fire to make others warm! It’s a work in progress that I’m going to do better at in 2020.’
‘If Twitter says one thing, it’s usually the other.’
‘Breathe before you speak, because if no one can seem to speak calmly, we end up interrupting each other… and… stop doing loads of coke.’
You have to admit, that last one is a pretty healthy lesson to learn.