What did you learn this year?

Posted Monday 5th January 2015   By Ericka Waller

So I am coming to the end of the toughest year of my life, and if I could sum up how I feel in one word, that word would be grateful. I am so very grateful for my life. Now I know about suffering, and faith, about strength and kindness. I had my comfortable life snatched away from me, and it is the best thing that ever happened.

My happiness is no longer pinned on the expectations of other people, or on something in the future. My happiness is in my pocket. It’s in a sunny day or a conversation between my daughters, overheard as I walk past. My happiness is a song on the radio, my car starting on a frosty morning.

I know now that I can manage anything. I am enough on my own, but I also know the people who will answer the phone and remind me of this at 3am when I forget.

One of the most amazing things that happened to me this year was the incredible kindness of strangers. I wrote a tweet about needing some toys to review for Christmas as I was too poor to afford any. I did not expect my 140 little characters to be noticed in the thousands of other tweets. I thought it would be swallowed up with celebrity gossip and faddy diets. I was wrong. It was noticed, and not by the big brands wanting reviews, but by strangers who wanted to help me.

Strangers who had their own children and family to buy for, yet took the time, and budget to pick presents for my daughters (and me!), wrapped and sent in time for Christmas. I don’t think a more generous thing will ever happen to me in my life and I am humbled by the milk of their kindness.

This year I have done things I never thought I was capable of. It has left me ashamed of the person I used to be, who thought she had it tough. I have three healthy daughters. I have everything.

A friend gave me a wonderful booklet called ‘100 Tasks of Life’ which can be read at the link.  It sums up gratitude far better than I have been able to.

Here is my year in photos