Life Lessons Learnt in 2016 and my Top Goals for the New Year

It’s Midnight and I’m sitting on the stoop in the cool night air, waiting in the New Year.  I sit listening to crickets chirping and the sound of neighbours and residents as they erupt in frivolity in various directions around my house. Whooping and cheering and serenading 2016 to an end to the nostalgic tune of Auld Lang Syne.

Standing on the threshold of a New Year, there is a contagious sense of hope, aspiration and zeal floating in the breeze tonight.  I too find myself excited about what 2017 has in store for me. 

2016 was a hell of a year, Allot of people I know have gone through some tough personal changes this year. My biggest challenges this year was dealing with cancer and making the choice to put my health and family first and resign from my job at the newspaper, to allow me to pursue my dream of becoming a full-time Wedding Photographer. 

But through the year’s ups and downs, these are some of the lessons I’ve learnt. 

We need to do a better job of putting ourselves higher on our own ‘to do’ list.
Michelle Obama

Be selective about the people you keep around you. Keep positive people who inspire, encourage you, and actually WANT to see you succeed in your life.  Surround yourself with Love

Brian Dyson, former vice chairman and CEO of Coca-Cola said, “Imagine life as a game in which you are juggling some five balls in the air. You name them work, family, health, friends and spirit and you’re keeping all of these in the air. You will soon understand that work is a rubber ball. If you drop it, it will bounce back. But the other four balls — family, health, friends, and spirit — are made of glass. If you drop one of these, they will be irrevocably scuffed, marked, nicked, damaged, or even shattered. They will never be the same. You must understand that and strive for balance in your life.”

I have decided that in 2017 I’m going to take better care of the glass balls in my life. My Family, Health, Friends and my Spirit. 


What are My Goals for 2017

Take on a personal Project – Helping people and animals nourishes my soul. I have recently found a new Children’s Home in Newcastle called St Martin’s Village. They are still in the process of renovating the place and getting it ready for the children, who will be arriving in March, and they are in desperate need for donations.

This place has struck a chord with me, and I’d like to try help out where I can. Anyone interested in helping them out can contact Brenda Oelofse – 071 516 6382 or email:


Book and photograph 15 – 20 Weddings this year – In the last 3 years, I was over worked and stressed out, the thought of trying to squeeze in the time to do weddings over weekends was unthinkable. News never sleeps, if something big happens, you can’t exactly leave the wedding to go process a developing story or go take photos. The only choice would be to take annual leave to ensure you don’t get called out for work.

I mean even at my own wedding rehearsal on a Monday evening (at 6pm) after work, standing in Church at the altar I got half a dozen phone calls and messages to drop what I was doing to go to the office.  There was no way I could do wedding photography in my “free time”, if I wasn’t even allowed the time to enjoy my own wedding.

Quitting my job has been one of the best decisions of my life.  Sure it’s not all moonshine and rainbows; it is a lot of hard work.

But over the last seven months, weddings have become a passion of mine. They are days filled with love and families, and I get to capture the most awesome spontaneous emotionally charged glances, hugs, kisses and happy tears (and sometimes sad).  

Those are my favourite photos of the wedding day.  They make my heart sing.  Those are the photos and moments that you want to treasure forever.


Health relaxation and self-care – We have an awesome Park run in Newcastle at the Grey Goose Game lodge. I really need to go walking there more often on weekends, when I’m not booked for photo shoots.  But I’d like to do more Yoga and Kettle-bell work during the week and focus on clean eating and drink more water.


I want to challenge myself to blog more in 2017 – Writing is not a particularly strong point for me, but I really would like to write more and share my photo shoots, and wedding tips, and even a few personal moments from my life, with you. 


I want to paint my lounge  white – My lounge walls are Buttercup Yellow and it drives me nuts. 


Save up for a Holiday – I think it’s time we saved up for a holiday further than 200km away from home. Preferably at a Game reserve.  We have stayed in the Midlands Meander a few times, and we enjoyed an Awesome stay at Thatcher’s Rest Cottage in Colling’s Pass for my Birthday last year, but I think it’s time for a nice holiday in the Lowveld somewhere. 


Make more time to watch Sunsets /  Sun Rises with my Husband– We need time to pause and take in the beauty of nature. We run around with blinkers on all day. We need to make time to stop and smell the roses. 


Visit and Catch up with old friends – Over the years I either didn’t have the time or I simply lived too far away to meet up with old friends. 

Seriously, if you need to use a calculator to work out when last you saw your friends…. It’s been far too long. We have to make a Plan for a visit (Here’s looking at you Antoinette, I ‘m missing you terribly girl)   

 I met up with another old friend of mine from school a few months ago. I haven’t seen Lizette in about 17 years.  We got to chatting for hours. It was so good to see her again.

It never ceases to amaze me how you can be separated from your best friends for years, either by circumstance or distance, and yet you can still meet up talk for hours as if you never missed a day. When Love and friendship transcends distance, Those are the true friendships that last a lifetime.

Well, I would like to wish you all a Happy New Year. Here’s to cherishing old friendships, good deeds, toast health and good will for the year ahead.

Xoxo  Elize



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6 thoughts on “Life Lessons Learnt in 2016 and my Top Goals for the New Year

  1. You have found balance and realised the need for it. I wish you well in all your endeavours for 2017. Keep on writing. You re doing better than you are giving yourself credit for.

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