What has 2015 taught you?

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    Hey folks!

    As 2015 is coming to an end, I am more enthusiastic about welcoming 2016 and telling 2015 to do one. It hasn’t really been a good year for me, but at the same time I’ve had worse years. As the year comes to a close, I like to reflect on the year in passing and note down what I’ve learned, what I’ve gained, what I’ve lost and what I hope to take with me to next year and beyond. Believe me, I’ve learned a lot. Just can’t learn anything without learning it the hard way, I guess – typical me, always was (and will be) a glutton for punishment!

    I learned the hard way that things don’t always go according to plan. As some of you may remember from any number of my previous posts – things didn’t end well for me when I went abroad to teach English. I was also hoping to score a teaching job in China but the program organizers never got back to me. Whilst building up expectations only to face rejection is unbearably frustrating and disappointing, not getting what you want could be a blessing in disguise. Sadly my grandmother passed away in October – if I’d have landed the teaching gig in China I would have had to depart for September and I wouldn’t have been around to see my gran for the last time. We were quite close as well.

    I learned the hard way that some people just aren’t meant to see eye to eye. Nothing we can do about it. Harbouring grudges and imagining spiteful horrid things happening to another person whom you perceive to have wronged you – it might seem like you feel just for thinking bad things towards them, obsessing over them and wishing ’em dead but I have found this to be ultimately futile. You can wish all kinds of bad things upon another person but they are just getting on with their lives and you are still obsessing over the past. The other person probably isn’t thinking about you at all. They will probably forget you sooner or later. And no, I haven’t quite conquered this mind-obstacle yet but it’s gotten to the point where I can see how futile and exhausting it is to bear grudges.

    I learned that life is full of surprises. I learned that I surprise myself. I learned that despite the fact I would describe myself as an anxious timid shy person at best, I am capable of moving out of my comfort zone and doing things that would have terrified me six years ago (public speaking in front of sixty-odd loud teenagers). I learned that sometimes you just have to get on with it, and when you finish delivering that presentation in front of a load of people you don’t know (and it goes off without a hitch), you feel like an absolute badass.

    I learned the hard way that people change. People are allowed to change and grow. A few years down the line, maybe a person won’t be interested in the same things any more. A few years down the line, a persons experiences will have changed their outlook and attitudes.

    I learned the hard way that other people, the world, the universe et cetera – owes me bugger all, and that other people are under no obligation whatsoever to give me what I want or need. Life ain’t fair. Simple as. Can’t always have my own way. I can throw all the tantrums and strops I want to – as fun as that would be, it isn’t going to get me anywhere. If there is something you want or need, some degree of effort needs to be involved!

    I learned that if things aren’t working out for you, try something else. Just try and do something about it. Maybe you will succeed, maybe you will fail. The important thing is you just try.

    I learned the hard way that some people are just emotionally draining, emotionally abusive and toxic, they probably have no idea they are being toxic and they probably won’t listen to you when you call them out on their behaviour. I learned the hard way that people I once had respect for have clearly built themselves up from belittling others with their condescending remarks. It is just best not to deal with people like that at all.

    I wasn’t really fussed about Christmas this year, I just can’t wait until this year is over more than anything else.

    And no, I’m not getting my hopes up by thinking that 2016 is going to be a million times better and that I’m finally going to do/see/receive/attain all of the things I want – I have learned that it’s best not to have any expectations.

    2015 has been a rubbish year but I firmly believe life is for learning, buggering up occasionally and making mistakes to learn from. 2015, you have been one tough teacher. Not as tough as 2012/2013 but you have still been an absolute bugger. But you can’t have good without having the crap, I guess.

    I feel like I have this sudden surge of confidence in me all of a sudden – like I think to myself “After all the crud I’ve had to put up with, the next bad thing isn’t going to defeat me just yet so bring it on! I don’t care!” I’m in battle mode at the moment. Determined to be more active in carrying out my goals. In spite of the whole “it’s better not to have expectations and plans because they could just end up backfiring” I do have goals and plans for 2016 and I can’t wait.

    How about you folks? What did you learn from this year? Was it a good year for you or was it a not-so-good year? Did you receive any wisdom and insights?

    Peace and love



    Joe thanks for your post. I particularly paid attention to the part about bearing grudges. It reminded me of a Buddhist talk I went to and the lady talked about the very same thing. She said “and there was I angst-ridden, hating this person who lived miles away in a different country. I was filled with hateful thoughts and you know what? I was being slowly poisoned by my own mind! I laugh about it now.”
    In meditation, we can actually devote a session to one difficult person in our lives. A loving-kindness (metta) meditation is particularly relevant. It is recommended that we stagger our difficult people, so start with the less difficult people and graduate to the hardest ones. 🙂 I’ve tried this actually, and it definitely helps. I’m a long way from expert though. If you know you are going to be obsessed about someone, do a meditation in the morning with them as a focus. I actually add my own Christian prayers (but that is optional 🙂 I’ve found, when I have a good session in the morning, my day goes better.


    OK what has 2015 taught me?
    That under pressure, real pressure, I am still folding.
    That I make the pressure worse, by evaluating my performance negatively afterwards.
    That I lack staying power, endurance, determination.
    That the older I get, the less patient I am with people who are loud, rude and ignorant.
    That I am still prone to obsession and rumination in regard to difficult relationships.

    That my sense of humour is still a useful survival tool.
    That I have something to offer, but it may not be paid employment.
    That TB is a unique forum with a lot of positives.

    • This reply was modified 7 years ago by jock.

    Hey Jack! Thankyou for you input – I will have to try that at some point (I don’t meditate as such, I prefer walking so I will have to try this next time I go walking!)

    I agree about sense of humour being important for survival as well 🙂


    I used to jog 10km and it was a meditation without me even realising it. Exercise is a great way to stop the mind obsessing.


    Hello Joe,
    I do this ritual myself at the end of each year – I look back at the year that just passed, take stock of where I am, and look ahead to the coming year. I’m sorry to hear you felt like you had a rubbish year, and I’ve had a few of those myself, so I know what you mean; but I love how you turned it around to the lessons you learned from it. Here’s to a wonderful 2016!

    As for me, I’m similar to you – timid, shy, couldn’t even imagine speaking to a set of 60 loud kids! But I set Courage as the word of my year for 2015 and I do feel a lot more confident at the end of the year than back in January. Even posting in public forums such as TinyBuddha hasn’t come easy, especially when there are so many people with so many different points of view, but when I see and hear from the people who tell me I’ve helped them in some small way, it makes me want to continue on this positive path.

    And Jack, as always, I enjoy your perspectives – you certainly have a lot of positive to offer!!


    And Jack, as always, I enjoy your perspectives – you certainly have a lot of positive to offer!!

    I know… 🙂


    Dear J:

    2015 has been so far my greatest learning experience year. I see more than ever. And the more I see, the more there is to see.

    The “battle mode” you mentioned toward the end of your post, I like that. Can’t experience it continuously, would be too draining. But once in a while… maybe there is a particular song that puts you in that battle mode, you can listen to it sometimes and get going that way. I don’t know what you meant by “glutton for punishment” in the first paragraph. But I wish there is no more of that in 2016.



    2015 has been the worst of all the years that I have been on this earth. Feb 2015 I received a petition filed by my beloved husband against me with false allegations that I could never imagine. I tried to reason out with him ,ran pillar to post to save the marriage but nothing really helped. My Parents were rushed to the hospital in emergency thrice and I saw them fighting for life. I also met the love of my life but it was a dream too short lived. I saw bankruptcy. I saw my career at the lowest point in the last 8 years.
    Lessons from 2015:
    1. I started valuing my parents a lot more. Specially I could feel the connect with my Dad like I had never felt before. Also I learnt how my life affects theirs.

    2. Learnt who are my real friends and also learnt to value them. It is important to have good friends as sometimes we cannot express ourselves always to our relatives for the fear of hurting them ,causing pain to them,worrying them.

    3. learnt the importance of money which till date I never felt was so important in life( certainly it is not more imp than relations)

    4. learnt to handle politics and play safe in corporate culture.

    5. Learnt how hypocritic the society could be and how to deal with them all.

    6. Realized how much I had valued and loved even my dingy one bedroom apartment.I was surprised to realize my attachment to a lifeless thing only because it meant home to me.

    7. learnt that life is not always black and white but has shades of grey too.

    8. realized that it is important to express yourself and be vocal about feelings without fear of rules or fear of being ridiculed because life is short lived and it is important to tell how much you love as otherwise people who love you will always feel that you never loved/cared for them while the truth is exactly opposite.

    9. Realized that sometimes life puts you in situation when people cannot take a stand that they wish to due to circumstances but not that they do not love or care. Our lives are interlinked with our parents friends society etc;

    10. somethings happen for the best like meeting people like Amma ,Nana, Harish, Pavan who make you a part of their family. Feels good to know that somewhere far away there is a home away from my home ,my loved ones stay there.

    11.Prayers keep away the bitterness that may get into you when life throws challenges at you. Despite the loneliness , unhappiness , negativity that I have faced I have become more accommodating and giving rather than becoming bitter ,selfish. Thanks to God.

    12. Almost overcame the loss of my child as now I believe that my daughter is with God safe, happy, sound and protected and I am sure that I will meet my child when I die. Thanks to my spiritual guide Pavan .

    13. Learnt to invest in relations .

    14. Have a better clarity on what I want to do in life.

    15. Also learnt that it is important that sometimes one should listen to heart than mind as lost moments can never come back.

    16. sometimes there is no option but to be strong. keep motivating yourself to go on. Find reasons to fight for what is right. For me the reason is my parents (they are the only reason that I live)

    so I can certainly say that 2015 has been the most learning one in life so far


    Words cannot describe how horrible 2015 was and how happy I am it’s over. But I never thought of any lessons, so let me see…

    First I learned life is precious and you could die at any moment. Not to sound like Chicken Little afraid the sky is falling, but the first person who died was my friends little brother who was riding his snowmobile and ripped his jacket, but he didn’t notice, and died of an infection due to his frostbite. If he was 20. Another friend died along with his father in a crash, he was a year younger than me and his father was 50. And of course there was my 11 year old cousin who died from cancer. I’m not scared that I could be next, but it does make me want to live my life since 2015 was a year of me griping about my job and one day doing something.

    I also learned despite not being an Olympian, I miss working out. Also, good shoes. No matter how cheap you are, wear good shoes. It’s almost been a month since I was diagnosed with plantar fasciitis and I’m going insane having to sit and not jogging or walking anymore. Hopefully I can start easing myself back into it in the coming weeks.

    I also learned even if you have nothing important in your life, still text/call/email people to see how they’re doing. 2015 was mostly bad news, so I didn’t call people because it was the same old stuff. When I finally did call my grandmother we spoke for almost 3 hours. I have started getting back in the habit of calling every Sunday.

    I guess those are the lessons I’m carrying into 2016 and I plan to make this year better.


    Dear Nekoshema:

    Thank you for reminding me about the importance of wearing good shoes!

    Hope you have a better year, way better year!


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