This is my last post for 2014 and I’m not usually a fan of the whole “New Year, New Me” rigmarole unless there’s a degree of seriousness attached to it. What I do take seriously are the gifts of hindsight, expressing gratitude and methods that individuals (and groups) have taken steps to try and better themselves and their communities.

This year was particularly trying; I started 2014 in not a great way and for the first half of the year it felt like being in between a rock and a hard place. I was very on edge almost all of the time, burnt out, uninspired and fed up of life when I’ve not even started living! It wasn’t until I went out to East Africa for three weeks and left my phone, laptop, social media etc in London.  I remember the night before I left, feeling like a complete failure because I wasn’t on a high salary, wearing designer clobber, out travelling the world or living in a Chelsea flat and “living it up” like many people I knew. I remember my dad telling me not to worry, but how could I not worry? Life is so fast and I felt like I wasn’t in control of it in comparison to my fellow peers.

Those three weeks were the best of my life so far; it was a much needed break and out there I saw a different way of life and members of my family who gave me some great life advice. I met people who were successful in their own right simply by being persistent, working hard and staying focused. I also severely embarrassed myself on several occasions – which I won’t reveal here but on Twitter (@c_syal). I came back to London feeling rested, energised, full of ideas and fabulous.

I still felt like rubbish but started to see things in a very different light. I stopped following what others did and feeling inadequate which is hard because we’re bombarded by it 24/7.  I stopped blaming myself for not being rich or owning a flat in Zone 2; we’re all at different paces in life and should be focusing on the next step instead of the next 200 steps. Since then, I’ve been a lot more relaxed and at peace with myself which has made a big difference with regards to my general outlook. There’s nothing wrong with any of us or our lives.

There have been many highlights, experiences and opportunities that overshadowed negative experiences and I honestly wouldn’t have been able to appreciate the good unless I’d experienced the bad stuff. Even with unscrupulous individuals – we all learn something from each other and it is so important to not take things personally nor depend on anyone too much. I’ve been very blessed to have collaborated with and work with some incredible people who have each taught me something new about myself, themselves, the world and the work we are involved in. And I thank all of you from the bottom of my heart for supporting Avid Scribbler and what it stands for.

I am also truly touched and so thankful for everyone’s support; especially after last week’s post which you can read here.