This holiday was filled with lessons. Some profound, some minor, some so valuable that words will never convey their true worth. I share a few with you at the beginning of this New Year…
One. Your past is your past. You cannot erase it, and you cannot box it up, put a bow around it and forget it exists. It is there, and no matter how painful, you have to deal with it. That does not, however, mean that you have to make it a part of your present again. You do not have to go looking for it either. Some things are better left well alone. Old wounds need to heal and for that, you have to take care of them, you have to change the dressings and disinfect it so that the toxic dirt of your ghosts of Christmas’ past does not grow into the wound, infecting it anew. That also means that you have to stop scratching at the scab, unless you want an ugly scar that will remind you of that past daily.
Two. Family is the most valuable relationship you will ever have. Hold on to that which you have, and let them support you and listen to your worries. If you are lucky, the person in your family listening will have the answers you need, if not, they will still listen and that is an answer all on it‘s own. More than that, make time to stand still and learn how to cook a damn right amazing pancake with your grandmother while she dispenses the wisdom that only comes with the ages as you learn her what the phrase ‘taking the piss’ means. It is food for the soul and humbles you to your very core.
Three. A bit of geography does not change who your true friends are. No amount of time can steal those who are genuinely glad to see you. The opposite is also true. Sometimes, a bit of geographical perspective on friendships can teach you the worth of it. Sadly, that worth is not always a lot, but it is best to take the lesson as you find it, learn from it.
Four. December is apparently a great month to get engaged, or to get married for that matter. Personally, I’d prefer somewhere dismally and blissfully cold and snowing should I ever have such a fancy, but that’s just me. I am so very happy for all of my friends who found their forever partner this holiday season. May all the happiness you feel now endure throughout your lives.
Five. People are about as happy as they make their minds up to be. I was not particularly thrilled about going on holiday to the town where I grew up. Memories have a way of creeping back into my reality there, and the darkness I work so hard to keep at bay worked it’s dark magic, and the closer I drove to the Garden Route, the thicker the clouds rolled it. Yet I learnt that with persistence of your own strong will, you can manage those feelings of despair, and come out on the other side.
Six. Learn to give selflessly of yourself and learn to selfishly take time out for yourself. Most importantly, learn the subtle timing that calls for either. You have to breathe it all in.
Seven. Work will still be there when you get back. Leave it all behind in complete abandon. Do not check your emails or call to see how things are doing. It will all be there when you get back. It is not weakness to want a break from it all, it is normal. No one will chastise you for taking off a couple of days and you will not stop functioning. Actually, you will function just fine.
Eight. The road from Knysna to Johannesburg is very, very long. Wimpy makes great coffee and with a little bit of patience and kindness of heart your journey does not have to be a dreaded one. It does test your sanity, but in the same breath, it’s a lot of time. A hell of a lot of time, particularly if you’re doing it alone. The slight madness of mind is tempered by good music and a sense of purpose if you take the time to utilise this time fruitfully. It’s a lot of time to think. Make sure you choose your inner topics wisely. If you do, you will arrive and return with some distinct patterns of thought, instead of some haphazard unanswered questions better left unasked.
Nine. Do not expect anything. You will be surprised with the results. Some things never change. Do not be surprised by this. Sometimes things are so engrained in the fibre of what it is that there is nothing you can do to change that. It is not necessary going around fixing everything – sometimes, things which appear to be broken to you, really aren’t broken, they are just exactly what they are even if that’s not what you want them to be.
Ten. This too shall pass. It is the definition of time – it passes. Whatever you are going through, however bad a situation may seem to you when you are in it, take heart in the fact that time will come and go. I’m not saying all is well that will end well – I’m way to cynical for such nonsensical fancies. What I am saying is that time invariably marches on, and this moment is merely one moment in the innumerable amount of moments you will have. Time, in time, will step forward, and the next moment (one as important as the other) will come, and will go.
It’s 2011, another year has come and gone. I don’t know if I feel any different, but I am surely ready to face whatever it holds. Not because I have some superpower, but because that is what life demands of each of us. You have to face it, you have to deal with it. It is not a choice. The only thing we do have control over, the only miniscule amount of power we have over life is the attitude we hold, the character we choose to project. So, chin up. You invariably have to deal with it. Put your big girl panties on, paste a smile on your face and throw caution to the wind. You are by default strong enough to deal with anything, because you have no choice – the only way out is through. Do not fret about moulding your character to be strong enough, worry more about remaining soft, about keeping your mind open and your heart willing. If the time comes, and I pray that those times are few and far between, the strength to deal with hardships will simply be there. So here we go, another year, another collection of moments, another bit of time. There is nothing more to do but enjoy it.