It’s that time of year again, where I do my annual round-up. This time it’s saying goodbye to a decade. I started this in 2009 so this makes it my eleventh edition. There’s way too many to link by year, so they’ve earned a category of their own. If you want to check out my previous ones, you can find it here: https://www.nafisa.co.za/category/personal/

1. What did you do in 2019 that you’d never done before?

– Went on a road trip across the SA border with my friends
– Drove a limited edition Mustang Bullitt (only 50 in SA)
– Met William Shatner
– Visited Star Wars:Galaxy’s Edge at Disneyland (15 year anniversary getaway)
– Participated in Africa’s first electric vehicle road-trip with Jaguar

– Took a DNA test
– Went to the Swiss Alps and experienced my coldest at -6°C
– Rented an electric scooter
– Took selfies with two Ministers (I’m totally that person, aren’t I?)

2. Did you keep your new years’ resolutions, and will you make more for next year?

Last year I put down eating better as a resolution and I stuck to it at least 5 days a week. I eat a 75% veg diet now and managed to keep off over 7kgs in total when I was at my heaviest to where I am today. I’m so proud of myself. I’m just smarter about what I choose to waste my calories on (eg: never on sugary drinks).  This isn’t a fad, it’s my new lifestyle and it’s paying off.

I’ve managed to shift my mindset about food in general, which wasn’t easy but I needed to go through all the ups and downs to get to where I am today. I know how to easily shed off 2kgs when I’m back from holiday eating. The hard part about losing weight – if this is your goal – is having the willpower to do it. I’m at a point in life where I realised consuming food is mind over matter, and I know 99% of the world won’t agree, but I’m glad I’m here and I’m in control.

I used myself as a test subject this year, from weighing myself (I bought a Huawei smart scale last year and love the stats), to what I eat, when I should stop eating for the day, intermittent fasting, responding to how my body reacts to certain foods (giving up refined carbs was the best decision for my body). What I have working for me, along with a DNA test for direction, is the happiest I’ve ever been with my food relationship and I still enjoy dessert.

My end goal is to now eat better and exercise; and I’ve lost 3kgs by not worrying about my weight. I didn’t adjust my goal weight on the Huawei app since reaching my target earlier this year, and I’m way below it now. It’s crazy how when you don’t fixate on something and it happens on its own.

Nov 2018 vs Sep 2019

3. How will you be spending New Year’s Eve?

I don’t know the specifics but probably in snow.

4. Did anyone close to you die?

No, but a lot of people close to me lost many a loved one. What a year </3

5. What countries did you visit?

Hungary, Spain, Swaziland, Botswana, USA, Kenya, Switzerland.

6. What would you like to have in 2020 that you lacked in 2019?

More free time. This is no joke. I don’t have capacity sometimes to take on all writing gigs I’m offered (and yet there are people who expect me to do things for free).

7. What date from 2019 will remain etched upon your memory, and why?

24 September. The start of spending my 15 year wedding anniversary celebrations in Disneyland.

8. What was your biggest achievement of the year?

To have an award winning editor I’ve previously worked with approach me to contribute tech to two new titles he is heading up. What an honour.

9. What was your biggest failure?

Not registering myself as a small business. Admin is the worst.

10. Did you suffer illness or injury?

No. I also think that because I’ve been eating better and working out, I’ve been feeling better and not getting weird aches I’m typically prone to in winter.

11. What was the best thing you bought?

I bought myself a designer handbag for my birthday, something I was eyeing for a while and tried unsuccessfully to find in two other countries. Third time lucky. It might be materialistic but it’s something I worked for, saved and treated myself to. This year I learnt that I’m worth it. I’m worth that expensive L’Occitane face product that took away my dry skin.

12. Where did most of your money go?

Buying things for myself; from my iPhone 11 Pro to travel related expenses and shopping. I’m so against getting into debt, I’d rather save for what I want than live off credit.

One of the best life lessons I got was when I graduated and had to pay back student loans. I decided this is not the life I want and avoided buying on credit, and very early in my twenties closed my clothing accounts. Sometimes I can’t believe I made such a mature decision so early in life.

13. What song will always remind you of 2019?

Old Town Road

14. What do you wish you’d done more of?

Made time to learn a new skill. Wait, does posting on TikTok count as a new skill? 

15. What do you wish you’d done less of?

Waste time on social media. Same story every year.

16. What was your favourite TV program?

Chernobyl; it was the most horrific thing I’ve seen, and reading about this disaster was different to seeing what happened. (But I still love Patriot Act and Hasan Minhaj, which was my answer for 2018! For all the other stans, check out his YouTube segment called Deep Cuts that takes place after the show, where he answers questions from the audience.)

17. Do you hate anyone now that you didn’t hate this time last year?

No. People who don’t mean anything to me are not worthy of my emotions, but also, who got time to be a hater when you’re so busy?

18. What was the best book you read?

It’s Not About the Burqa – Muslim women are so much more than a stereotype or what you see portrayed by the media. Shout out to Pan Macmillan for sending me a copy!

19. What was your greatest musical discovery?

I appreciated Billie Eilish a lot. Such a fan.

20. What was your favourite film of this year?

I really enjoyed Captain Marvel.

21. What did you do on your birthday?

I took a steam train from Joburg to Pretoria with my friends; and my evening was what has become an annual tradition with my husband – birthday dinner at Signature. Open to starting new traditions next year and I think I know just the place! 😉

22. What kept you sane?

My husband; my biggest supporter.

23. Who did you miss?

All my friends over the years who left the country.

24. Who was the best new person you met?

I was fortunate to a) meet a bunch of ladies I follow and interact with on social media, and b) gained two new family members across cultures and countries. I am very excited about the new traditions I get to be a part of, and what’s to come in 2020 iA.

25. Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2019:

Time is money. If people want to use you/your knowledge to build their products, don’t be afraid to send them a quote for your time.