“What lies behind us and what lies before us are tiny matters compared to what lies within us.” — Ralph Waldo Emerson
’Tis the time to assess the leaps (mental, emotional) that have been made this year. Twelve months ago, I was wandering around somewhat aimlessly, living out of a bag, and trying to finish writing my book.
Now I’m employed, settled for the time being, and still trying to finish writing my book…
Here are my takeaways:
- Go all in or go all out – don’t hover, don’t dither.
- After having a stellar memory my whole life, mine suddenly went to pot (I see people I’ve apparently had numerous meetings/meals/discussions with and I can’t remember any of it). It was traumatising to lose one of my most defining abilities. Having spent so long readily pulling up the past and preparing for the future, I am now – inadvertently – unable to do anything but simply be in the present.
- Life is too short with work with assholes. I don’t care how much of a “genius” s/he thinks s/he is.
- The phrase “take me home” used to make me weep – wrapped as it is with the assumption that I had a home and someone to take me to one. I’d hear this echo in my head frequently until I realised that it was actually a plea to myself.
- Own up when you don’t know something. It’s liberating.
- It’s really hard letting go of the idea that we’re someone special to a special someone. We may find ourselves appeasing them in the hopes of securing a bond. And as my bestie said: when you’re compromising yourself to be liked then it’s hard to like yourself.
- How I feel every day is more important than what I got done.
- Don’t make decisions from the ego.
- When feeling helpless, help someone else. When feeling angry, upset, anxious, poor, hurt, humiliated, shamed, bitter, resentful… help someone else. (I learnt this from my mother.)
- Control is a façade. We don’t really control anything.
- I’ve now learnt to not judge or presume from the outside how someone is spending his/her time. I used to get a little miffed when people would be too busy to call or see me. Now I am that person who is too busy (and yes, I feel guilty about it).
- Sometimes striving is overrated. Coasting means you’re appreciating where you are.
- This I learnt from Tosha Silver and it’s served me well: see how you feel right after you’ve spent time with someone – are you energised or depleted? Sometimes it’s hard to tell when we’re actually with people, but right after is when you can isolate the feeling. Trust it. And don’t spend too much time with people who tire you out.
- Be who you thought you could never become because it seemed sorta kinda impossible before.
- Ah, men. Have to say it again (because it links to a different post): ah, men. Okay, so it wasn’t a leap as such but I’m continually amazed at how I’m continually amazed by perhaps how little I actually understand them.
- Forgive yourself. For not having your shit together, for still making the same mistakes, for not being whom you think you should be.
- The world’s possibilities open up when you learn to say with all sincerity “thank you” and “I’m sorry”.
Favourite finds of 2016:
Setting up home again meant I had to buy basics like plates, bowls and mugs. I was overjoyed to discover Nicobar, sister company to the extravagantly stylish (and heartstoppingly expensive) interiors store, Good Earth. Nicobar has the same top end quality as Good Earth, though its designs are less opulent and more to my simple, handmade-y, monochromatic taste. Their Sitara pasta bowls (right) are so pretty I want to kiss them. Just about anything from their home section make chic gifts. They deliver worldwide.
I have spent much of my life moving between the same four countries, and all my holidays seeing friends and families within these places. So it was a rare treat to take myself off to Budapest earlier this summer. It was a beautiful new city (and part of Europe) I had not visited before. I had the pleasure of travelling alone. And a healthy reminder that there is still so much of the world to see.
Listening to current events and world affairs this year often meant spiralling into impotent rage. I turned off the news and went instead to stories of old Hollywood in the non-fiction narrative podcast You Must Remember This, written, hosted and narrated by Karina Longworth. I’m bummed they stopped new episodes in September, but I’m still ploughing through all their old ones, discovering how Howard Hughes made his start in Hollywood, how Frank Sinatra tried to challenge the anti-communist Black List, and how MGM was formed.
Favourite films I watched in 2016:
Whereas I often averaged two books a week, I’m devastated to note that I barely read any novels this whole year, having had to spend all my reading time on scripts for work. I didn’t get to watch as many films as I’d have liked either, but out of the ones I did see, these are the ones that stayed with me:
- What an astonishingly lovely, heartfelt and impressive piece of storytelling La La Land is. Directed by Damien Chazelle, this romantic musical hits all the right notes and leaves you with a powerful message about “having it all”. Easily my favourite film of the year.
- Family drama Kapoor and Sons, directed with a lot of heart by Shakun Batra, unfolds layer by delicious layer, revealing secrets from every member. Fawad Khan’s performance is especially moving.
- A Bigger Splash, directed by Luca Guadagnino, a sexy drama with the divine Tilda Swinton and always-fab Ralph Fiennes in an Italian summer villa with sexual tension at every corner.
- Directed by John Crowley, Brooklyn goes from Ireland to New York in the early 1950s. For anyone who has moved and been forced to ask ‘where is home?’ this will resonate wildly. I’m especially thrilled that they showed a woman moving away from her roots and not getting punished for it (you know how films prefer to teach women that you can travel far, missy, but don’t you forget where you’ve come from!).
- Neerja tells the true story of the flight attendant who helped passengers on a 1986 hijacked Pan Am plane. Director Ram Madhvani moves between the tense drama inside the plane to emotional flashbacks, balancing everything impeccably.
“I am stronger than fear.” — Malala Yousafzai
Wishing each of you, my lovelies, a joyous, peaceful yet exciting 2017!