5 things I learnt in 2019

With 2019 quickly coming to an end, I wanted to share 5 life lessons I learnt in 2019. This is the fourth year I wrote a “lessons learnt” post, check out 2016’s lessons, 2017’s lessons and 2018’s lessons – it’s always cool to see how I view things have changed over time!

Posing with "the crazy ones" at the Apple Museum in Prague
Posing with “the crazy ones” at the Apple Museum in Prague

1. Not everyone is going to like you, and that is OK. *But* bad behaviour should be called out.

This was a lesson I learned the hard way, I suppose.

I was never walking through life thinking that everyone would/should like me. But I guess I had a high expectation that we should all be decent human beings towards each other…I learnt that isn’t the case and that the nightmares I faced from being bullied at school sometimes continues into my adult years. IT SUCKS. 👎🏻

At the end of the day, you can’t please everyone. You’re just not everyone’s cuppa tea. No matter how hard you try!

I know that I actually spent a lot of my time TRYING a lot – trying to fit in, trying to please, trying my absolute best… it was so exhausting. There were days where my face hurt from fake smiling and where I felt so drained, I didn’t want to do anything else but cry myself to sleep 😅

To past Pauline, present Pauline and future Pauline: 👏🏻 being 👏🏻 different 👏🏻 is 👏🏻 ok, you dont have to try and be someone you are not just to get people to like you. Please never disrespect yourself like that.

I learned not to get too bogged down trying to get people to like me by asking myself, “Who are they? Why do I care so much? Should I care so much? In a year or two or even five years time, will I care this much?” The answer? Most likely not.

I also stopped reacting to every gossip or rumour I heard about me from others. Naturally, these got me down initially but I realised that it really isn’t MY problem, it is theirs. I stopped fake smiling and laughing, now focusing on getting straight to the point if I need to interact with these people in some way. Living my truth.

A related lesson I learnt is that although you should choose your battles, it is important to make sure that the future is better for everyone. So, be empowered to call out bad, toxic behaviour because no one ever deserves to feel anxious, worried or any negative emotions about someone else’s actions. I applaud AWAY employees for stepping forward this year.

I love and respect myself too much to let it take over my whole existence, it just isn’t worth it!

2. You can learn anything with effort and dedication

I set a goal to learn React and Cloud Computing this year.

I don’t do very well with just relying on online courses and the associated assignments, although very useful, alone, I just didn’t learn it well. So I set out to learn React by doing, I did it over a weekend at HackMed Hackathon this year, I also built InspiringFigures.co on React and worked with Matt to re-create this blog from scratch. I’m pleased to say that I am comfortable with the basics of React, and can confidently set up another project alone.

Outside the software development aspect, I also wanted to learn Cloud Computing. So when it came to choosing the next rotation as part of my graduate scheme, I chose to join our Platform Services team who dealt with Amazon Web Services and everything cloud related every single day. I’m currently in my third month in the team and I am absolutely loving it; I’ve picked up so much in such a short space of time. I also solidified my Cloud Computing and AWS basics by successfully passing the AWS CCP exam in November!!

You can literally learn anything, as long as you are willing to put in the time and effort to do it. Learning is for life!

3. Truth hurts, but being honest is the way forward

This lesson is a bit more personal and I don’t want to be too public about it.

But I learnt some pretty shit stuff this year, it was difficult to get my head around as my outlook on reality – the people, the events – suddenly changed. What I found out has kept me in a confused, frustrated place today, but has taught me that honesty above everything else is important (even if it sucks hearing the truth.)

Trust me, you’d rather know than not know what you don’t know.

4. Health isn’t what I thought it was

My relationship with my health and well-being journey changed in 2019.

I stopped focusing on having the lowest body fat my body could have (which by the way, led to some crazy diets and constant cardio – NOT FUN) and shifted towards performance. I began to appreciate how good it felt being a bit stronger each week and to be able to progress towards a new pose in yoga (ones I never thought I could easily do!)

It stopped being all about aesthetics, but rather about how much fun I was having feeling strong and overpowered 😂 I can truly say this now that I have gained a few pounds of fat, along with some muscle mass that this lifestyle isn’t about being lean all year round but is about being healthy, living my best life and feeling so alive!

Strength training, HIIT and yoga do that all for me. ✨

I’m not so lean anymore, but still Pawlean! If you know, you know. 😏

5. Spending more time on things that energise you makes a happy life

2019 has been my first year of working full time after university! It has been such a wild ride.

How I spend my time has drastically changed since university, which seems obvious but me being me, I tried to live up to my uni self and do everything I used to do along with working a full time job. IT ISN’T FEASIBLE!! I think it has taken me this whole year to truly understand that.

It’s OK to spend my spare time doing nothing but chilling out and energising myself. I’ve embraced my CHILL TF OUT blocks on my calendar!

Additionally I learnt that by stepping back from all the activities I used to do, I began to realise that some of these things stuck out to me as ones that I want to continue to do (in a more balanced way) in 2020. An example is giving back and paying forward to the local community – by stepping back, I realised how important it is to me and how they perfectly fit with my personal values.

I’ve had to say no a lot more than ever before in my life. By adding up all the time I have to focus on things that I love and actually want to do, has contributed to my overall happiness and fulfilment in life.

This includes people! I’ve stopped interacting with people who are just negative and soul-draining or limited where I can, if I HAVE to interact with them (related: AWAY article.) Marie Kondo EVERYTHING!

What are the 5 things you’ve learnt this year? Comment below or link me to your blog posts!

I wish you all a wonderful Christmas!

8 responses to “5 things I learnt in 2019”

  1. Hmm, a lot of things to keep in mind. You e learned a lot of good lessons.

    1. Thanks for reading Megan!

  2. I always learn a lot about life (and about you!) by reading these types of entries 🙂

    I can totally relate to number 5. I’ve always been pretty uncomfortable with “doing nothing” with my life. I always feel like I should be working, or spending my free time doing things that would enhance my career or, you know, making myself more visible. But this year, I also realized that life isn’t just about work or overloading yourself with too many things! Taking a break and spending time on my hobbies, even those that people see as mindless activities, are also important and give more color to my life. <3

    I can also relate a bit about your realizations on health. Recently, I've been trying to engage in exercise not for the aesthetic benefits that I would get, but simply for the love of my body. I spent the majority of the year hating my body and the way I look, and now my body is retaliating and letting me know how it feels about that sentiment. I've been getting sick more often and it's making me feel so many things to the point where I realized that I've been overworking it, and for what? Sure, I can always aspire to look good, but at the end of the day it's more important to have a healthy, functional body that's able to work for you as you go through life's daily grind!

    1. “Give more colour to my life” is the best way to describe chilling out – thanks for sharing that Claudine, I’m definitley going to use that phrase in the future. Captures how I feel perfectly 😊

      Totally right – I feel the same way! Sometimes stopping to think about what our amazing bodies do for us really inspires me to focus on performance and strength. Looking good can join later 💪🏼

  3. Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

    I also subscribed to A Cloud Guru. I love how their videos can be downloaded to iPad which makes it so much easier to study outside when there is not WiFi available.

    I have been trying to get a certification but finding it hard to find time to really study and focus on it. How did you manage to prepare for CCP with a full time job?

    1. I just set some time aside (blocked out) to cover as much content as I could over an x amount of weeks! I am pretty disciplined (especially when I want something really bad 😂)

  4. I loved reading this! ❤️ These are all valuable life lessons that I think you’ll definitely remember for years to come. I’ve also learned some of these things over the past few years. Especially about fitness and exercise being fun. I also went down the route of being obsessed with having low body fat and getting abs and being totally shredded, until I realised that, uh, you can literally only see abs when standing up and usually only when flexing. Why would I want to achieve something that can’t be seen 99% of the time (I work at a desk, and a lot of the time I’m sitting…), and also when you’ve gotta be half naked to see it? 😂

    You always seem like you get a lot done PAULINE! 💜 But I’ve seen you take a step back and chill this year with a lot of relaxation and reading. Most of my hard work and trying to do “everything” happened when I was a bit younger, but wow, we can be really naive when we think that doing a lot is possible with a full-time job. It’s really tough.

    Avoiding toxic relationships is something I learned in the past, but this year I learned about something that is related to that: boundaries. People may not necessarily be toxic, but some people may not understand our boundaries. I’ve learned about this at work, for example, when people message outside of work hours. And I’ve learned from some friends, that talking to them can require emotional labour, that I may not be ready for, but I have the right and the choice to speak to them when I’m ready.


    1. Thanks for reading Georgie 💜 Haha, I totally agree to your comment about abs! I think it just took me a while to finally realise what is actually important. It’s all part of the learning the journey though I suppose. 🤗 Resting was my top priority in 2019, and I think I was pretty good at it. I’m trying to make sure that I rest more often this year too, but I’ve been quite excited from the energy I saved last year if that makes sense 😂 This is an accountability comment now! Rest more often. Have an awesome 2020 GEORGIE 💜💜💜

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