Measuring Time

time

Over the years, I have heard people say, I don’t do New Year resolutions, as if resolutions are an unfashionable item of clothing. Me? I have no grouse with New Year resolutions; they are not like mosquitoes singing in my ear that I need to slap away.

You know that Angus and Phil cartoon where the two dogs are having a conversation? The one where Angus asks, “What exactly is a New Year’s resolution?” and Phil replies, “It’s a ‘To Do’ list for the first week of January,”? It has me in stitches every New Year when I see it on my newsfeed on Facebook. What is it about New Year resolutions and un-stickability? Are we so spineless? Perhaps we resolve to do better without looking at why we failed the year before.

I have come to believe the saying that men fail because of broken focus. I do not think of my goals at the start of the year as resolutions. These goals, which span spirituality, character, vocation, and health, are work-in-progress, whose expiry date can spill over from a previous year because sometimes distractions pose as good intentions and obliterate my focus. Focus requires clear targets. Sustaining focus becomes easy when I strip down what I want to achieve to bullet points and then marry them to small chunks of time. Then, I can be a vigilante one day at a time

Mostly, I wake up without an alarm and not long after, I reach for time—a watch, phone, or clock. Even on days that I can do as I please and do not need to look at the clock; I still catch myself glancing out the window gauging time by the slant of the sun, degree of cloud cover, or pace of life on the streets, to make meaning of our world. In a sense, all of us are measuring time. But if we take casual cognizance of time, the days and weeks would blend into one another. It would be like defying gravity and just floating in space, fascinating at first and pointless in the end. 

A friend reminded me that in 2015, he counted the days. When he said it, I imagined him standing in front of a huge calendar, striking out the days written in black ink, with red crayon. I saw how fast he flipped the calendar from month to month, achieving little. He said that in contrast, in 2016, he would make the days count. I like his rhetoric. For me, this means before I lay my head on my pillow at night, I would have taken at least one step in the direction of my goals. Then 365 days later, I will measure time and come up full.

Whether we call our aspirations resolutions or goals, how we spend our days becomes how we spend our lives.

 

©Timi Yeseibo 2016

Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Timi Yeseibo and livelytwist.wordpress.com with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

 

Of Resolutions, Past and Present

of resolutions, past & present

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

 

Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Timi Yeseibo and livelytwist.wordpress.com with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.