Happy New Year
If you are reading this then it means you definitely made it to the New Year. From me to you, I wish you a Happy 2013.
The festivities are over but for some reason the festive feeling still lingers on. Well, maybe because we still have colorful shops and malls, Christmas trees all around and generally, a celebratory mood all around. Besides, it is still hard to write “2013” on documents; somehow the fact that 2012 is history is still hard to believe.
Some people could be suffering from bloated stomachs after eating too much while others are still trying to figure out why their legs cannot carry their weight anymore. For others, the thought of January being a 31-day month is not a very pleasing thought, especially considering they were paid ten days before the end of the year. What this means is that for them, January now has 41 days. And if they have school going children, and had not planned properly for them, well, that’s another story all together. All in all, whatever the case, I hope you enjoyed the Festive Season, not forgetting the reason for the season.
For me, it was a great opportunity to spend some great quality time with my family, especially the kids. I hadn't realized how grown up they have become and for the first time I felt like a "dinosaur". Once more I got to realize that these kids know much more about "issues" than we think they do. Just as a by the way, if you have a ten year old and have not thought of talking to them about sex, well, there is a 70% chance they already have an idea of what that is. After all it is all about sex nowadays; from the programs on TV/Radio, to music, to adverts, to social media, etc. Sex sells.....Sorry, I digress. This is a topic for another day.
So, spending time with my kids also meant spending time with our furry member of the family; a spoilt Jack Russel whom we fondly call Pancho. I do admit that I'm very fond of this dog though sometimes he can be very annoying, though once in a while I do learn great lessons from him… For instance, what I am about to share with you.
It so happened that on one Saturday in December, it was just me and him at home since everyone else had gone for swimming. He was lying on the floor next to the Christmas tree and right above him was Santa's red and white hat and sock. I got this crazy idea to dress Pancho up just for laughs. I woke him up and started dressing him up, but in the end, he looked so ridiculous I couldn't help laughing hysterically. And yes, I was all alone and no I'm not crazy. Actually what was killing me was the look in his eyes; it's like he was saying "Oh no! Has my owner turned into an idiot?" Thinking about it now I still find it funny....but then again, that's me.
Later as I sat quietly by myself a thought came to my mind; what if dressing a dog like a person would make him (the dog) a person? Obviously, that is only likely to happen in the twilight zone… just like ending one year and starting another does not change the person. It takes more than changing the calendar, to change a person; it takes a personal decision to change. There’s always this hype about a New Year. When I was young I used to think that when there is a New Year something happens to our bodies, but as I grew up I realized we just become older and probably wiser, though the latter is relative.
I don’t know about you, but for me, 2012 was one trying year. To put it mildly, anything that could go wrong did go wrong. I feel like there were so many areas of me and my life that I would have done differently given the opportunity to relive 2012 again. However, since we both know this is not possible, I can only look back and treat those “mistakes” I made in 2012 as lessons to govern me in 2013, now that we are here. I would like to think this goes for you too. No one is perfect, not even angels… remember, Satan (Lucifer) was an angel in heaven and he too messed up, what about you and I, just mere mortal human beings?
The whole world over ushered the New Year in many different ways, but for what, so that they can have another New Year to continue with old habits? The truth is, December 31st does not give you a New Year, and neither does January 1st! It is not the changing of a calendar that gets you a New Year. It is the changing of your mindset; it is the changing of your attitude; it is the changing of your spirit; It is the changing of your heart. You could have a new year in the middle of the year, as long as you decide to.
It is just a few days into 2013, a good enough time to think about the areas in our lives that need “a New Year”. Could be your relationship with others at work and at home. Or it could be your relationship with your maker. Could be some habits and traits you need to drop. Whatever the areas, this is a wonderful time to make things right and different.
On the other hand, maybe you are one of the few who has relationships that are just perfect and need not worry about that. However, for one reason or another your productivity at work is zero. Well, you need to look into that too and change the areas that need to be changed in order to ensure you become productive in 2013. Maybe your strategies for the year were wrong, or maybe you have outgrown that job you are in. This is the chance to take stock of all that and make the right plans for the New Year. Remember, doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results is insanity.
The most important thing is not just identifying where the problem is, but in taking the next step of actually tackling the problem. You need to make the right plans, come up with the right strategies and finally follow through with their implementation. Otherwise, if you just identify the problem and not do anything about it, it is the same as you sitting in the garage all day; that doesn’t turn you into a car.
Let’s take this time to really take stock of what was 2012 as we make SMART plans for the 2013. SMART in this case being an acronym to mean making plans that are Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic and Time-based. However, this will not be possible until we make that conscious decision to change right from within us. Like someone said, "a dream without a solid plan is just a wish."
We need to renew our minds and prepare to do things differently. Whether you make that decision now or in two months time, my message to you is this: Whenever you will decide to renew your mind, you will definitely have a New Year. I hope you choose to renew your mind in before the year turns old.
Wishing you all a RENEWED 2013... Renewed being the key word.
Article published in Tanzania's Guardian on Sunday on the 6th of January, 2013, under my weekly column "Thoughts in Words"