Each year we learn something new about ourselves and the people around us. There are happy moments, sad moments, and it’s necessary to sit at the end of the year and focus on lessons learned, but yet, focus on what you want the new year to bring.

In 2016, some of the most happiest times were the birth of my nephew/Godson and the birth of my cousin, the next generation of my family. Other happy moments I had were publishing another book, having my business grow, and taking an awesome vacation this past summer.  Other highlights for the year were that I went on the NYC subway for the first time and met my good friend at a Mets game. I also got to knock off 16 things off my 2016 bucket list. Finally my family was blessed with good health, and that is all I could have asked for this year alone!

Oh, did I mention that I turned 40 this year? Milestone!

The mixed emotions I had this year was deciding to retire from teaching preschool. I miss seeing the kids everyday, that is the hard part, but I don’t miss the school, the prep, and having the same routine day in and day out.  I have though, thanks to teaching for 20 years, have developed some great friendships with parents, not only the children. That I am blessed with- relationships that mean something to me!

I also have started to develop great relationships within networking for my business. Those relationships will be a focus in 2017.

This year, once again, social media made me realize that a lot of people will fake change just to fit in. Social media is filled with people “pretending” to be someone they aren’t, just for likes, comments, and attention.  Also due to the Election of 2016, so many people want to chirp but can’t handle it when others chirp. If you can’t take it, don’t dish it either. People took something that shouldn’t be personal, and made it personal. There were attacks, unfriending, and relationships were torn over a stupid election. Hopefully everyone learned a lesson.

There are always going to be people out there who will tell you that you can’t make your dreams happen. And the only reason they tell you that is because they are scared that you will indeed make your dreams a reality, while they are mad at themselves for not working hard on their goals. That is why this year I learned a value lesson from the weather; I learn to be talked about without responding. (Every writer/blogger is always going to have those special haters, but then again, haters are fans in denial)

Finally my Personal Motto for 2016 was: Out work ’em. Out read ’em. Out last ’em. Show up. I think needless to say, I lived up to that motto, at least I know I tried and I will continue that motto in 2017.

I not only learned about myself this past year, but I also learned the following through relationships, friendships, and observing others:

Accept your flaws. Admit your mistakes. Don’t hide and don’t lie. Deal with the truth, learn the lessons, endure the consequences of reality, and move on. Your truth won’t penalize you, the mistakes won’t hurt you, but the denial and cover-up will. Flawed and vulnerable people are beautiful and likable. Liars and phonies are not. Every beautiful human being is made entirely of flaws, stitched together with good intentions and finished with unique edges. Don’t listen to what people say; watch what they do. Your true friends will slowly reveal themselves over time. In the blink of an eye, everything can change. So forgive often and love with all your heart. You never know when you may not have that chance again.

When you learn how much you are worth, you will stop giving people discounts. Remember, the new year will be like the old one if you keep on doing the same old things. So here’s to 2017, where new challenges are met with hope, love and strength.

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