Toilet paper and our lives - any similarities?
2014 is finally here with us and if you can read this, it means you and I have been given another chance, another opportunity and definitely another privilege to see the new year. So, without further ado, may I take this opportunity to deliver my New Year greetings to you all, and to wish you the very best of what this year has to offer. Like the gifts unwrapped or unboxed on Boxing Day, consider the opportunity of being alive today a gift given to you and I by the giver of life and all other gifts we often take for granted.
So, this being the first Sunday of the year, how many resolutions have you broken so far? Better still, did you even make any resolutions at all, or like some people confessed, you are still working on the last two years' resolutions? Whatever the case, just keep in mind that we have a new calendar we are following and you need to get with the program.
I remember the excitement I used to have as a young innocent child about the prospect of having a New Year.... Not that I'm guilty of anything, but let's just say I'm wiser now than I was several decades ago. Those are the days I used to think having a New Year meant everything new; new clad (Sunday best) bought over Christmas by mom, new uniforms, school bag and books, not forgetting going to a new class and/or school depending on what level of schooling I was in.
Clearly, for me, New Year meant new stuff. It also meant another opportunity to celebrate my birthday, which happens every 3rd February of every year. Of course those days celebrating my birthday was an event to look forward to because I was so eager to grow up and become an adult and get away from my mum's "hawk eye". I wanted my "freedom and independence" so much and so every birthday I celebrated brought me closer to my "dream". How naive i was!
Fast forward to the present; celebrating my birthday is not such a big event for me anymore. If anything, it is somewhat scary and makes me wish I was a young-ling again, with no responsibilities or anyone to be accountable to such as the young-lings I now have of my own....who are growing so fast it's scary! Ironically, they too can't wait to get off mummy's hands. Anyway, moving on...
Ever been to the toilet and found a toilet paper that is halfway used? Then you know what I mean when I say celebrating my birthday now somehow reminds me of how fast that toilet paper unwraps once it is halfway used. In other words, the older you get (age-wise) the faster your life seems to move. And why is this the case? Because in most cases, we waste the early years of our lives doing all the wrong things thinking we have all the time in the world, and it is not until much later in life that we get a light bulb moment in the form of a reality check, when we realize that those things we used to do so easily at twenty are not so easy at forty. I'm not saying you can't do them, all I'm saying is that there'll be a little more effort required than before.
The same case applies to a New Year; the fact that today is 5th January 2014 means that we still have 360 days left on the calendar, which psychologically lies to us that we have a whole year ahead of us to do the things that need to be done. Technically, that is correct if you think about it in terms of time remaining. But what happens when you look at the things you need to achieve vis-a-vis the time you have remaining? If you are like me, you'll suddenly realize that in terms of your goals, it is already 2015. In other words, there is no time to waste but to hit the ground running this year. Otherwise, by June 2014, you'll be having the same feeling someone who has a running stomach has when he visits the toilet only to find that the toilet paper isn't enough, and worse still, the taps are dry.
Sorry, excuse my graphic mind, but I just needed to drive my point home.
The other perspective of looking at the New Year is from an innocent point of view, (kinda like I used to when I was young) that a New Year represents everything new. If you have a positive mental attitude then this is very true. Of course this does not mean that you will get a new body, or a new brain, or a new spouse, etc, in the real sense of the word new, it means that you can recreate all these and get a "new" feel, even though in the physical nothing looks like it has changed. Only the results will give away your secret.
For instance, you can decide to have a "new" body in 2014 not by going to the shop and buying one (if this is even possible), but by going to the gym and shedding off those extra kilos you acquired over the festive season. I don't need to be told but I'm sure most of you feel like you have 17 inch Michelin tyres around your waist; well like Liverpool says, you are not alone - me and you together. January would be a good time to trim back into shape considering most of us will be broke for the next three months anyway. So why not take advantage of the situation and get a new you?
When it comes to a new brain, you can choose to go for a transplant which is definitely costly and probably risky and absolutely unnecessary unless it is for medical reasons. My idea of a "new brain" is the renewing of your mind. Are you intending to continue doing the same things you were doing in 2013 and expecting different and better results in 2014? Like Albert Einstein said, that would be the perfect definition of insanity; "doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results". My prayer for you this year is that you may be sane.
Apply that sanity to every part of your life; in your personal life, your spiritual life, your professional life - practically every part of your life. This will grant you the "new" feel you keep referring to every time you wish someone a happy new year. It will grant you the changes you are looking for in this new year, and it will guarantee you a renewed self that will enable you achieve more than ever before.
In conclusion, changing of the year only affects the dates and should only be considered as a tool to measure the time it takes you to achieve your goals. Actual change has to be done and effected by you. And so, as you go around spreading the "Happy New Year" cheer, remember that for the year to be new (read different), you have to become different yourself by transforming into a "new" person. Only then will you truly have a New Year.
Now that we are on the same page, may I once more wish You a very Happy New Year full of positive transformation. Oh, and remember, you can have a new year any time you choose to. It's all within your control.
PS: Article published in Tanzania's Guardian on Sunday on the 5th January, 2014, under my weekly column "Thoughts in Words"