Reflecting on 2015

Yet another 365 days. For the most part, last year had been so gloomy, there were many times I struggled to see the light at the end of the tunnel, so I thought 2015 well deserves a reflection.

As Zora Neale Hurston wrote, "There are years that ask questions and years that answer." My 2015 was littered with a great deal of self-doubt, general uncertainty and daily questioning, and it took a lot of soul-searching and rumination before getting to where I am now, walking into 2016 hopeful and determined to get some answers.

'tis better to have loved and lost, than never to have loved at all

Some of the more significant memories for me in 2015 include many heartbreaking moments, where I starred both as perpetrator and victim. Either way, it has forced me to be introspective especially pertaining to matters of the heart.

What I've painfully come to realise is how selfish it can be to love someone, when you haven't first learnt to love yourself. While it may not be true that you can't love without self-love, I think when you aren't at ease with yourself, you tend to subconsciously expect or want someone to fill the gaps or be the key missing piece, which then usually manifests as a source of many relationship problems.

And on cue, during the final Sunday mass of Christmas season, the priest talked about the coming Year of Mercy and highlighted the importance of mercy and love beginning with oneself, before even being able to dispense the same to others. Perhaps being "complete" puts us in a better position to love. 

Nevertheless, "love never fails," as 1 Corinthians tells us. Despite the inevitable fear of vulnerability, I've not given up on love. I think with every "failed" relationship and this year in particular, I've managed to walk away with a clearer idea of who I was, what I am, and what I can be. I learnt a lot from the what ifs and should haves. In retrospect, cliche as it may be, while it had been painful, each moment brought me closer to God and to myself, and for that I am thankful. 

We all take different paths in life, but no matter where we go, we take a little of each other everywhere.

I previously wrote about letting go, and that's one thing I'd struggled to come to terms with this year. Oftentimes, we so desperately want to believe people we love are ours somehow. Kids, parents, lovers, friends. Even moments and opportunities, we hold on to them, terribly afraid of losing them. I experienced this in 2015, especially with business, career and loved ones.

It took a while for me to understand that you can't control what or how people think and feel. You can't stop them from leaving or manipulate their decisions. You can't control an outcome by worrying about it. The only thing I've learnt we can do, is to shape our attitude towards the situation, will our thoughts and change our action. People and things come and go, and I guess that might not always be a bad thing. Perhaps life is about these entries and exits and learning their purpose in our lives, then moving on without the whole of them but the parts they'd left behind.

Walk by faith, not by sight

In spite of the troughs, which for a while felt like a never-ending downslope tumble, I willed myself out of the dark, found my footing and began my upward climb with heaps of love and support. Only looking back now, do I realise the importance of prayer, even or especially in times when I'd so little faith. Praying kept me humble, helped me be thankful for what I had, and opened my heart to opportunities that made the last quarter of 2015 brighter. 

I made very small steps to get out of my comfort zone to create new experiences, got down to doing things I'd procrastinated to do, and tried to discover myself a little better. I don't know if 2016 is gonna be the year that answers, but at least with one one foot out, I have a better idea on how to start looking for them now.

With that, I shall end here, borrowing words and wishes from Neil Gaiman:

I hope that in this year to come, you make mistakes.

Because if you are making mistakes, then you are making new things, trying new things, learning, living, pushing yourself, changing yourself, changing your world. You're doing things you've never done before, and more importantly, you're Doing Something.

So that's my wish for you, and all of us, and my wish for myself. Make New Mistakes. Make glorious, amazing mistakes. Make mistakes nobody's ever made before. Don't freeze, don't stop, don't worry that it isn't good enough, or it isn't perfect, whatever it is: art, or love, or work or family or life. 

Whatever it is you're scared of doing, Do it.

Make your mistakes, next year and forever.


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Serene Alexa Chow

You're reading bits and pieces of a part-time dreamer and full-time slave owner of online store, Momoteapots. Sometimes, you'll also find her quite the hobbyist, writing about and dabbling in a little bit of fashion, food, literature, lifestyle and even some freelance PR work.

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"If neurotic is wanting two mutually exclusive things at one and the same time, then I'm neurotic as hell. I'll be flying back and forth between one mutually exclusive thing and another for the rest of my days."
- The Bell Jar; Sylvia Plath


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