Around the end of the year, it’s so common to see the memes, gifs, trolls and every other social media species creep out the woodwork and express their excitement to wait for midnight to watch the year die away. Admittedly, I have been one of those people; posting a cheesy photo staring out at the sunset with a typical caption expressing my spiteful delight at the final day of a rubbish year. This year feels different, and I sit writing this now at 9:21pm patiently passing the time, and feeling a sense of gratitude for all that this year has taught me.
I have learned more about in the last 2 years than I have collectively for the remaining 23yrs I’ve spent skipping around on this earth. This year showed me humility, humbleness, empathy, honesty, integrity, and gave me a growth within myself that has been long overdue for quite some time. So rather than defacing the hard-times and rough patches, I chose to celebrate the lessons and acknowledge my journey through each of them. Perspective is another aspect I took from this year, and being able to find the silver lining in a situation is something we so often show habitual ignorance towards. From shifting the “why is this happening to me” mindset to a “what is this trying to teach me”, I found myself smiling through far more darker days than what I was, and recognising the lessons suddenly became a second nature. Self-growth was my favourite flavour of 2019, and I savoured it… hard.
So rather than a sour-faced transition and yet another cliché attitude of starting a brand new year from scratch, that ‘new year, new me’ nonsense, I chose to rather send 2019 off with sweet sendoff and a much anticipated bucket list item, strawberry picking. My hunting ground for the day was Windermere Farms, a beautiful farm tucked away in Manawatu-Whanganui and home to the most succulent selection of berries known to North Island. From strawberries, to blackberries, to raspberries and let me not mention my undying love for blue berries, Windermere offers visitors the chance to experience the farmstyle satisfaction of finding and picking your own tub of strawberries, fresh off the bush! I’d never picked fresh strawberries before, and the ones that tried to grow in the garden back home got snatched by the birds before you knew it, so this was really something that stemmed back as far as my childhood that was just itching to get done. Windermere is flooded with ripe and red strawberries dangling from almost every bush passed, I actually had to be fairly strict with my picking or else I would have been easily finished in the first 5min of starting. Fair warning, bring sunblock or a hat… maybe both actually, the New Zealand sun can be a harsh one to sensitive skin unaccustomed to this level heat! Windermere is a great little spot to bring your friends, family or just wonder off by yourself for a bit and appreciate your own harvested treasures back home with a cheeky bowl of ice cream… or 3.
To sum it up, I don’t really think the mark of a new year should be an excuse to abandon the previous year passed, but rather to be used as an opportunity to reflect on the good and the bad – and with everything between – and how to carry the lessons forward for a year of stronger growth, happier growth, and welcoming a new year of lessons ahead.
The sweetest goodbye I have ever had.