Reflections and resolutions now seem so cliché, I struggle to write this post. Rummaging in the attic, I find a box of old clothes. Each item of clothing held a promise for the future that’s been realised. I hold up a pair jeans, faded and torn at the knees, and press my face into a light pink summer dress. I marvel at how much the kids have grown for it depicts how far along I have come. The past may hold treasures, still remembered but the future is bound in hope, in belief and in the knowledge that with life, all things are possible1.
2012 seemed like such a dismal year for me that come 2013, I had only one mantra: be happy and move forward. 2012 had been a tough year for me that I left formulating 2013 New Year resolutions to the brave and mighty. I knew about goal setting and other jargon like accelerate performance and maximise results, having taught others these principles, yet I dared not articulate hope on paper.
Careful not to rumple the blanket of snow around me, I placed my feet in the footprints ahead as I walked home. Although it was early 2013, several doors had already closed in my face, some loud, others quiet; all resounded with foreboding. I told myself, “No matter what happens, move forward.” All men fail, not all men rise. If I didn’t like the tempo of the skipping rope to nowhere (self-doubt held one end and if-onlys the other), I could jump out. Speed wasn’t priority, movement was. Crawl, limp, walk, run, anything, as long as I kept moving forward.
I tried to be happy, but happiness is a moving target. My challenge was to find something upon which to anchor my happiness. Many suitors paraded before me. Things and more things. People and their foibles. Relationships and their contradictions. In living for something bigger than myself, I moored my ship. A legacy is something that will outlive me, so I gave my best always. I started writing again. Once a week. I made my commitment public, you held me accountable.
Since I had subconsciously translated my mantra into goals, I had to track progress. Success has several indices. I failed on many of them until I realised I must define my own. No one in his right mind expected me to be the next Bill Gates, but everyone expected me to finally get the hang of Windows 8 and stop whining.
Although I have surpassed my bar, success has no finish line. After we cross the tape, and the applause dies, euphoria will leave a day too soon. The world throws today’s headline in the garbage bin tomorrow. I have stopped waiting for that thing to happen before I live. I move forward, I forward march.
Here are three things that helped me on my way.
Define your boundaries and internalise them by rehearsing often, for we are not as strong as we think we are. Two words: be principled.
Cut off unhealthy relationships. A clean snip with a sharp blade worked for me. A saw leaves jagged edges and many wounds. Two words: follow champions
Don’t give unsolicited advice and your relationships will have less drama. If asked, discern the real need: affirmation or feedback. Two words: shut up.
2014? I dare to articulate hope. I will give more, need less, laugh again, forget quick, dream big, in other words, take lemons, make life, and then jump for joy!
Do you make New Year resolutions or write your goals, or do you let the wind carry you where it will?
©Timi Yeseibo 2013
1. Quote from KitchenButterfly, “The ‘Forgotten’ Groundnut Pyramids of Nigeria. http://www.kitchenbutterfly.com/2013/08/08/the-forgotten-groundnut-pyramids-of-nigeria/
Image credits: http://www.pixabay.com
Design: ©Timi Yeseibo 2013
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