Jen: More quotes than you can shake a stick at

If there is one thing I have learned for sure this year – apart from the crucial life lessons of who I want to be when I grow up and what’s genuinely important in life – it’s that for any given situation there are approximately 752 million related quotes. For shizz. And sometimes they help, and sometimes they don’t.

I posted this one to the Beau Dacious Facebook page a few days ago and it got a fair number of likes. I like it too. A lot.

excited

2014 is going to be good, I just know it!

So, this being a contemplative time of year, as we breathe out the old and suck in the new, I have decided not to bombard you with more of my words but rather to share with you the quotes – so generously illustrated and made available via the tinterweb – that have had the most impact on me this year. Use ’em, don’t use ’em, but whatever you do, make the most of 2014 – in love and in life.

Hard but true.

If you read only one quote on this page, make this it. This and the one waaaaaaay down the bottom.

Hold onto this. And remember what your actions say about you.

Hold onto this. And be very careful in your actions – they speak far louder than words.

There are so many wise words to choose from when it comes to Madiba. I'm picking this one because it reminds me of the kind of person I want to be.

There are so many wise words to choose from when it comes to Madiba. I’m picking this one because it reminds me of the kind of person I want to be.

Hear hear.

Hear hear.

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Sometimes we get confused.

Even when things get bad, the world is still a wonderful place full of wonderful people.

Even when things get bad, the world is still a wonderful place full of wonderful people.

Men will come and go but true friends will always be there for you. Treasure them - and be there for them.

Men will come and go but true friends will always be there for you. Treasure them – and be there for them.

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Step away from the cactus…

I know I am guilty of this.

I know I am guilty of this.

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Amen!

Go on, be brave.

Go on, be brave.

So, so many things!

So, so many things!

And finally, the most important one…

Nuff said.

Nuff said.

Happy New Year everyone! Go get ’em!

Jen: Who I want to be when I grow up.

It’s nearing that time of year when it is customary to look back and reflect on the experiences we have had, both good and bad. I’m not superstitious and had no advance trepidation when it came to 2013, but I have to say I can’t think of many people I know who will be sad to say goodbye to it. If every day’s a school day 2013 certainly has been exceptionally academic!

My personal academic year hit exam time over the past month when a painful personal experience followed by the death of Nelson Mandela catapulted me into the school-room. Here – between the ache of betrayal and the reflection on the life of an icon – I was compelled to consider not what I want to be when I grow up, but who.  What values I want to stand for, what kind of friend I want to be to others, and how I want to be remembered. And yes, this is entirely relevant to a dating blog because who we are defines who we love and, perhaps more importantly, who loves us.

The answer to this question is simple:  who I want to be is someone who makes other people feel better for knowing me.

I may not be able to solve world hunger, but I can absolutely strive to be a caring and trusted friend. Saving the rainforest might also be a little out of my reach, but committing to always acting with integrity is not. Making time for the people who make time for me,  being true to myself and respectful of others and their hearts –  these are all things that I can do. They’re not new lessons, not at all, but I’ve never felt them as keenly as I have these past weeks.

Lucky for me, I am blessed to be surrounded by truly incredible teachers – not least my family and, of course, people like Madiba. But here’s where I try and bring things tenuously back to dating because looking back on this year, my absolute best dates have not been with men at all, they’ve been with women.

That’s right  XX GIRLS GIRLS GIRLS XX. Where X = true love and GIRLS = your greatest gift.

My mother has always told me to look after my girlfriends. Men will come and go, she says, but true girlfriends will be there for you throughout all of life’s inevitable ups and downs. How right she is.

These girls, these few good women, have celebrated with me when things are good but, most valuably, have been willing to drop everything to wipe my tears when life has seen fit to hand out lemons. It’s true they don’t always tell me what I want to hear, but it’s always what I need to hear. They’re courageous, generous, witty and wise – not to mention staggeringly attractive and exceptionally patient – and they teach me every day about the art of true love.

Yes, I am bruised, sure there will be more hurdles, but because of these incredible women* who inspire me with their goodness and integrity, I will transition into 2014 not only stronger, but more determined than ever to be a better me.

Thank you to my teachers; this imperfect student is so blessed to have you.

Class dismissed.

* I do feel compelled to acknowledge that in amongst these astounding women are a few good men as well. To the boys who’ve stood by me, advised me and inspired me this year, thank you. You do your gender proud!

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