2016 Reflections | What I Learned

sunrise 2016 reflection what I learned

With just two weeks left of 2016, my mind has naturally wandered back on all the happenings of the past year. It’s been an interesting one, to say the least. If I can sum up 2016 in one word, it would be change. Given that I graduated from university this year, I don’t think this comes as a surprise.

When there’s change, there are also lessons learned. The lessons I learn always seem to be cliches we have all heard one too many times, but cliches are cliches for a reason. There’s truth to them, and I feel like you never really fully understand them until you experience it for yourself. So… here we go— the top three lessons I learned in 2016.

Be Your Own Source of Happiness

With all the things that happened this year, I feel like this is the biggest lesson I learned (and am still learning everyday). People come and go, and at the end of the day, the only person who 1000% has your best interest at heart is yourself. I have definitely learned this the hard way, allowing myself to let others take control of how I feel, only to end up hurt or disappointed. I think that the past few months of living alone in a new city has definitely brought me a fresh perspective on how important it is to be your own source of happiness. Don’t ever let your happiness depend on someone else.

Stop Dreaming, Start Doing

I’m a big dreamer- I love cultivating ideas in my head of picture perfect scenarios and big city dreams, but a big chunk of it has always just been mindless dreaming. I used to often mention of wanting to move to Toronto after graduation and constantly thought of starting my own lifestyle blog, but never made concrete plans and commitments until this year. I’m proud of myself with going through with these commitments, and hope to continue to do so in the future. We always think that the timing isn’t right to pursue a certain goal, but in reality, timing is rarely ever right. If you want something, start working for it right now— even if it’s just in the smallest of ways.


Grit is living life like it’s a marathon, not a sprint  –Angela Lee Duckworth
If you are not familiar with the term grit, then I highly recommend you watching this Ted Talk. This year, I have learned the power and importance of grit. I went through a really tough fourth year at university, and was lucky to be surrounded by a few very supportive people who always offered me a shoulder to cry on and an ear to listen. They were the ones who built up the determination and grit in me, which has helped in so many ways this year. To me, grit is being able to pick yourself back up and keep on pushing through even if it feels like the world is working against you. You can fall down and fail a thousand times, but as long as you keep trying, you are just that much closer to success.


Although 2016 felt like a never ending obstacle course for me, I am grateful for the experiences and lessons it brought. And…if my reflective rambling and cliche deciphering hasn’t bored you out by now, then I hope that you were able to relate to or take away a bit of inspiration/motivation from here. 🙂

xo sandra when she wanders

16 Comment

  1. Claire Talks Beauty says: Reply

    the most important thing i have learned too is to stop dreaming and start working ! love your tips and i wish you a happy 2017 !!

  2. I love this post! I can really relate to ‘stop dreaming, start doing’. I spent 2015 dreaming and 2016 putting my dreams into practise 🙂

    1. Thanks! 🙂 Awesome that you can relate to this post!

  3. I love a good reflection post!!

    1. Aww thanks! 🙂

  4. Ash says: Reply

    So beautiful. I could relate to almost everything. 2016 has been a weird year, but I’m thankful for all the lessons!

  5. Great post 🙂 🙂 I really love that ‘Stop Dreaming, Start Doing’ message. Its so important to just do what you want to do and not be afraid <3 <3 Thank you for sharing, very inspiring x x

  6. -thank you for sharing! All great lessons!


  7. I really enjoyed reading this. It’s so difficult to not rely on others for happiness. For me, working on it having expectations of others is an ongoing battle. And you’re right, there is never a perfect time for anything. You just have to commit and make it work. Xo

    1. Aww thank you so much, glad you enjoyed it! And yeah, I agree it’s hard to get rid of expectations of others, especially close friends/family. But I just try my hardest to live with the mindset of setting expectations for myself rather than others. 🙂

  8. Abby says: Reply

    These three lessons are so great, and it’s advice I definitely could’ve used this past semester! I hope 2017 is a great year for you!

    1. Thank you love, I’m glad you liked them! Have a wonderful 2017 yourself <3 🙂

  9. edira says: Reply

    love this! I’m guilty of too much dreaming myself – this time let’s start doing!
    wishing you a lovely 2017 🙂

    1. Thank you! Yess, we can do this together! Have a lovely 2017 yourself! 🙂

  10. Great post – these three are all so important. I feel inspired! Hope your 2017 will be awesome!

    1. Glad it inspired you!! And thank you- hope your 2017 is amazing as well! 🙂

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