Yesterday I was hit with the sad, but needed realization that change and self-growth is not determined by the clock ticking over to announce a new year. We do not transition from one period to another and magically all our problems are gone. The same fears live on. The same pain is still there. The same crappy everything still exists. Donald Trump is still a thing. Children in Africa are still starving and we could potentially be on the brink of a nuclear war, who knows? Nothing magically just goes away, and that is okay. Growth does not happen in a second. It takes time, resilience and patience to get to where you want to be.
I entered 2017 with the very thing that led to Barack Obama’s two-term Presidency, hope. Hope that things get better. Hope that a new year equals a fresh start. Hope for blessings, happiness, peace and prosperity. I forgot one thing however, that there is hope and there is work. You can hope all you want, but you better be ready to put in the work. You hope to lose weight? Put in the work. Do you hope for a new job? New opportunities? Put in that work! Faith without works is dead. If you do not put in the work, I am sad to say that all the hoping you are doing will be for nothing and you end up back at the end of a crappy year, hoping for better days. It is a cycle that no-one wants to be trapped in.
This is everyone’s official welcome to 2017. 2017. A year of hope, renewal and a much-needed fresh start. A new year can signify so many things. Depending on who you are, a new year could mean a fresh start, a new chapter or it could simple be just another day passing by on the calendar. Take your pick. Fresh starts are refreshing. They allow us to take an inventory of our mistakes, our dreams and the people in our lives in order to re-evaluate what is important to us for the new year. Everyone I am assuming, wants to do better and be better and fresh starts allow us to do just that.
I am not too proud to admit that I am one of the many many many many many many choruses of people who spent a great deal of time bellowing about how much 2016 sucked. In all honestly that year blew. It really did. It was personally for me, a year filled with sadness, anger and the occasional spurt of loneliness. It was a year where I was knocked down continuously and then had to find my way back up again. It was a year where I was forced to confront certain truths about myself; the ugly, the bad and the worse. 2016 was not all bad though, as much as I love to exaggerate about its terribleness. It was also a year where I was able to express the courage and strength that often lays dormant within me. It was a year where I was gladly forced to admit that no matter how bright and witty I may think I am, without God on my team I am utterly powerless. 2016 was also a year where I discovered the importance of fighting for my dreams and sticking with my truth no matter how bleak and dreary life may seem in that moment.
I also learnt this important lesson in 2016: Life is not guaranteed for anyone. You have to savour each moment, because something that is here today may not be there tomorrow, including us. Good days happen and those, when they happen are fantastic, but bad days are also possible. The bitterly sweet truth is that you cannot take the good of life without the bad, but why would you? The bad things in life only just make you appreciate the good even more and if you really sit there and count your blessings, then you will realise that you are blessed far more than whatever bad could happen to you. The fact that you are living and breathing and able to read this post right now, is a blessing. Never shirk on your blessings, sometimes they are all we have. Life has so many uncertainties, but not living life is the true tragedy. Not experiencing God’s power and love each and every day pretty much accounts for any bad day you could ever imagine to have. Not stopping to smell the roses, and simply live is the worst type of ‘bad day’ you could ever have. Life goes by so quick, would it not be a shame if you missed it all?
At first, the optimistic in me could not understand why 2016 was so bad. Because Donald Trump became president? Harambe? Terrible things happen every year. Heck terrible things happen everyday, but if we only looked at the bad and forget to weigh among it the good, then we are really doing ourselves a disservice. So, welcome to 2017. Your fresh start. Make it count ya’ll.