5 Life Lessons I Learned in 2016

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Whenever most people look back at a year gone by, it is likely they will look at it in terms of the events that happened. And perhaps it is impossible to look at history any other way. However, I have learnt that life is more than just a series of events.

Without getting overly philosophical or deep, I would like to propose that when looking back at one’s life, one looks back with student eyes. You see, life is one big lesson that only ends when you are six feet under.

And so, I decide to look at 2016 as a learning ground and an opportunity to become a better person in 2017. Some of the lessons that I learnt in 2016 include the following.

1. No matter how wonderful your salaried job is, it is a trap

Unless you are a self employed person, the company you are working for has no problem screwing you over, and this is the truth. Of course employers are reading this with a dagger in one hand a lawsuit in the other but I will confidently mention that most companies are not as bothered about their employees’ welfare as much as employees think.

The mistake is not in working for a salary. The mistake is in banking all your hopes on this job. Once you are ‘let go’, you are going to feel like a chunk of your life has been taken away because suddenly there is no monthly salary and there is no place to go to so you can enjoy free wifi, company lunch and sleazy conversations with Joana the tea girl. But believe me, you are better off waking up and doing something that directly benefits you instead of toiling away for some wealthy fella who only knows you by your job title and is playing golf on Monday at 9am when you are sweating away behind crushing company servers.

2. Traveling makes life so much better
In 2016, I was able to travel around East Africa quite a bit. While my original plan was to travel further out into the world, I figured I had to go by the rules set by the bloody wallet. And the wallet very loudly mentioned places in East Africa. Travelling makes the mind open up to new experiences, new cultures and basically new thinking. While Uganda is a wonderful country, there is so much one can learn if they step out of their comfort zone in Kampala and head outside of the city. No matter how peaceful and wonderful your home may be, you will be able to appreciate it more when you travel out of your comfort zone.

Associating with people out there will give you a more open perspective on life and a more rounded understanding of how things in the world work. Seeing as the world is becoming a global village by the second, it makes sense to travel around the world and see what else there is because who knows, you might end up living at the ends of the earth.

3. Life is too short – Live it!
One of the most cliché and yet strangely accurate statements is; ‘Life is too short’. One moment you might be enjoying your life with friends and having a merry time and the next moment you might be staring down death’s face or attending a friend’s funeral.

This year has somewhat been rather a morbid year with so many deaths of friends, relatives and celebrities right from the onset. The thing about the Grim Reaper is that he (I assume he is male because females are rather more thoughtful and compassionate) does not play by any decent rules. He simply pops when and where he feels like and could easily surprise you by taking the one person you thought was furthest in the pecking order.

What does this mean? Live your life and live it to the full so that even if you die at a young age, people will say you lived your life to a fair fulfillment. True, people will say you should have lived a little longer but they will also smile because you will have left a legacy of having lived your life by rules that you set up yourself.

4. The World does not owe you anything
Many people tend to wonder why bad things happen to them and why they are the unlucky ones in life. The bitter truth is that the Universe has almost no order when it comes to distributing blessings and luck. As long as you work hard, the luck and blessings will most likely swing your way. However, just because you are working hard is not reason enough for you to expect success. If things do not go your way, sit tight and remember that lady luck smiles on you at her own pace.

There is no need to go up in arms against the universe and start threatening people with dramatic episodes and tantrums. Keep calm and remember that the world is not here to bow down to your needs and demands. Instead, you are here to make sure that you survive and make it to the next day. Work hard and let the Universe decide what blessings to throw your way.

5. An act of random kindness could change the world
No one can change the world in a day. Similarly no one can destroy the world in a day, unless of course Trump lands on those nuclear launch codes. However, it takes a series of little good or bad things to better or worsen the situation. If you can make someone next to you smile, that is your contribution to making the world a better place. You might do something seemingly small for someone but it could mean the world to them and that in essence is why we are on earth – to make each other smile. If you can make a stranger smile, you are making the world a better place. You do not need to have millions, drive an expensive car or run an African country for you to make the world a better place. The little things count.

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