What A Year

I’m sitting by a window at my grandparents’ place listening to the rain and I can only think of three words when I decide to write this post. Those three words are “what a year”. I have cooked, made the last of the Christmas decorations with my siblings and this is a moment for me to introspect. Oh no! It’s my birthday and after all the laughing, cake eating and teary speeches I now have a moment to myself. This is a terrible thing because this solitary moment happens every year and the same old water works come rushing in as a result. Perhaps it’ll help if I give you some background.

Birthdays are always a big emotion festival for me – the Tomorrowland of chest pain storms to be more specific. I normally hate how every waking moment of the year plays back to me like a flickering slideshow in a sad old movie. But this year has been different. I don’t curse the slideshow as I have in previous years. I sat down, grabbed some popcorn and watched with great empathy for the leading lass, me. And at the end of the flick, I rose to my feet and applauded, you did it Deloris (not sure why I’m playing the part of someone named Deloris in my own biopic but it may be all that Westworld I watch or Shonda Rhimes’ Year Of Yes which I am currently reading.) You did it, Deloris, you played the sad parts with grace, you delivered the tough lines with poise, you said the climatic monolog with vigor and you made the happy moments a little longer when life’s great director gave them to you.
This is not a self-praising blog post. It’s merely a survivors celebration song and if this year has been as tough for you as it has for me then you are Deloris too. Cheers, bow at the curtain call, or as Drake would put it; “go get you some lobster and shrimp!” I really wanted to share or even just put down on “paper” the sentiments that got me through 2016 either because I chanted them to myself as a life line or was struck by them when I come across them in books, articles or conversations.
1. All your actions create your world. – this phrase has kept me out of trouble this year simply because it was a really elegant way to explain the following:
Take responsibility for your actions.
Make painful/difficult decisions now so that you don’t have to do suffer even more painful/difficult decisions that will be made for you later.
We are the some of all our actions.
2. Vague goals yield vague results – I know what you are thinking, “oh no not another vision board hipster” and you’re right. Creating specific goals has really changed the game for me. I wrote everything I planned to do on an A3 piece of paper and put it up in my room. The magic of seeing your goals every single day really moves the needle for me. I am never looking back. Last year I started with a vision board and this coming year I will introduce a journal to my planning arsenal.
3. Gratitude comes before happiness – I don’t remember where I read this but it really stuck with me this year. I’ve always thought it was the other way around. Here’s how I understood gratitude:
Someone (most likely Mukondi) brings me a slice of cake.
The cake is delicious and I am happy.
I am really grateful to God and Mukondi for bringing Gateaux my way.
This is not how it works! This is more like it:
I am alive, healthy and well (by well I mean fed :). For that I am grateful
This makes me happy and as I go through the day I keep reminding myself what a blessed life I live.
Someone (most likely Mukondi) brings me a slice of cake.
The cake is delicious and I am happy.
I am really grateful to God and Mukondi for bringing Gateaux my way. Life was great to begin with, this cake is the cherry on top.
Apologies for the lame example but I hope this makes sense. I’m sorry I always use cake in examples (even in business)
4 .Perspective will keep you sane – That’s my thing. It’s related to the above point. I often listen to a podcast by Robin Sharma and one of his favourite things to say when making a point about perspective is “I cursed the fact I had no shoes until I saw the man who had no feet.” it’s an old proverb from Haiti. I love that sentiment. Our Sandton bound issues are not the end of the world. Our one bad meeting is not an apocalypse. Our 2kg of extra weight is not armageddon. This thought has kept my chin up this year. With gratitude and perspective, I’ve been a far less whiney person than I used to be.
5.  Keep your promises to yourself. – That’s also my thing. I’m sure someone far more eloquent than I has a better way of saying that but I like it that plain. Most of us work really hard to keep promises to other people and forget to extend that same courtesy to number one. You, unlike other people, aren’t as forgiving when you break your own promises. How many times have we seen the following scenario:
“I will work out five days a week”
if that does not happen…
“I will work out at least three days a week.”
if that does not happen…
“I’ll make sure I get to the gym every week…even if just once.”
Once you keep breaking your own promises, you also break your will power. The more you keep your own promises to yourself the better opinion of yourself you form.
I’m no philosopher or life guru but it’s my birthday and the credits to my 2016 biopic are rolling. Indulge me a little. I have learned a lot. While I’m here let me do my Thank-yous:
To all those who have shared the ups and downs with us, encouraged us when we took what will surely be the most important leap of our lives, who shared memes with us, who tagged us in great feminist content, who updated us with the lingo (“it’s a lot mate” and such), who gave us chocolate, who took away our chocolate, who gave us flowers, who took great photos of us, who danced with us, who high-fived us, who gave us business, who were there in the trenches and on top of the world wit us…thank you.
Merry Christmas and a prosperous new year.
Images by Mothusi
Dress from www.superbalist.com

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  1. Awesome post… I love Westworld! In 2017 I want to be Deloris and Maeve all rolled into one powerful, driven, shake things up, fear-conquering dynamo! Happy birthday gorgeous!

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