The Greek philosopher, Heraclitus, said, “Change is the only constant.” Indeed, we have to keep moving and evolving because the only thing constant is change. Look at the way our lives changed within just two years! But, did the Pandemic change our lives for the worse or for the better? Some took to new hobbies while some lost all hope. Some discovered hidden talent while some took a tailspin into the whirlpool of anxiety and depression. Indeed, there’s a lot that 2020 and 2021 have taught us about ourselves, our relationships, our passions, our work and our values. More importantly, it has been a reminder about the fragility of human life. However, they say that from tough times, emerge tough lessons, personal growth and learning opportunities.
Our Attitude And Approach Will Shape The Future: Are we going to look forward to 2022 with Fear or with Fortitude? Are we going to rue and resign ourselves to accepting whatever happens to us or are we going standup and find solutions? Are we going to let circumstances shape us or are we going to change our circumstances?
It’s amusing how difficult times often reflect the truth about life and about the people around us. Did the lockdown lead to some relationships reigniting or fizzling out? Whatever the outcome, it would have depended mostly on your own attitude and approach! Did the lockdown render you useless or did you discover / re-discover talent lying dormant within you? Did you lament what life has become or did you reinvent your life? Rightly is it said that the first step towards getting somewhere is to decide that we are not going to stay where we are!
How The World Ushers In The New Year: It’s interesting how the New Year is ushered in across the globe. It is customary in Denmark to shatter unused dishes and plates, as well as climb on top of chairs and literally jump into New Year’s Day at midnight. It symbolizes breaking bad habits or breaking old spells of misfortune and jumping into a brand-new year with joy and enthusiasm. In Estonia people eat seven, nine, or twelve (all three considered lucky numbers) meals a day with the goal of having abundance in the next three hundred and sixty-five days. In Ireland it is an old tradition to throw bread at the walls in order to chase away evil spirits, followed by a special dinner in memory of a dear departed one and leaving the door unlatched and even set an empty place at the table for the deceased. Though not practiced so enthusiastically now, in South Africa, it is all about ‘out with the old and in with the new’ and accordingly it’s customary to throw old furniture out the window and into the street.
Clearly, the symbolic message behind some of these traditions is to ‘throw out old baggage’ and usher in new and good luck! Emotional baggage or emotional backpacks are unresolved emotional issues, traumas and stresses from the past or present that occupy our mind and even our body. It is a natural component of human development to carry personal perceptions of past experiences. However, the key to healthier functionality lies in learning to manage our perceptions and strengthen ourselves as we mature or evolve in order to respond to our daily experiences in healthier and happier ways.
Focus On Happiness: While the Oxford English Dictionary defines happiness as a feeling contentment or pleasure, we need to find out what really makes us happy. Fortunately, happiness can be found in simple joys of life. Scientific evidence suggests that being happy promotes good health; it helps combat stress, boosts our immune system, protects our heart and reduces aches and pain. What’s more, it may even increase our life expectancy!
Indeed, happiness is the most important experience we want for all those we love, including ourselves. While there are many components to a meaningful life, most discover that happiness is about being content or feeling fulfilled. We tend to think that “success makes us happy” but it’s quite the reverse – being happy makes us more successful in all of life’s endeavors.
In the Zoroastrian religion too, the emphasis is on Ushta or Happiness and happiness stems from leading a positive, productive and purposeful life. Furthermore, making others happy can make us even happier!
The Time Is Now! They say, the time to be happy is now or never! We all need to take that leap of faith and not waste our life waiting for the right time. One of the great joys of life is to learn new skills, new languages, new recipes, new crafts, new sports and new cultures. If you are unhappy with your job or profession or relationship, the time to change is now! The years 2020 and 2021 have taught us that life is short and unpredictable. If your dream is to learn ball-room dancing or to climb a mountain, the time to learn these, is now! If you love someone, say it now. If you disapprove someone’s bad behavior, say it now. Carry no regrets or resentments to your final destination.
Instill Hope: Adversity doesn’t just disappear, but these do eventually end. The storms you face today will end too. We may lose a loved one. We may lose a job. But, one thing we cannot afford to lose is hope – hope for a better tomorrow! Changing our wall or desk calendar from 2021 to 2022 will not magically make the COVID-19 pandemic disappear but end it will. Past pandemics have taught us this. We can find strength in knowing that things will change eventually. Nothing lasts forever!
In the meanwhile, do the things that light fires of joy or enthusiasm in your hearts, despite the gloom that surround you. 2020 and 2021 have taught us that life doesn’t wait for anyone, so why waste our precious time doing things we don’t feel passionate about?
Care About Yourself First: It’s good to be caring. But care for your own self before anything or anyone else. During times of crisis, family or friends may look to you for answers, guidance and support. But you will be able to help only if you are physically, mentally and emotionally able. We are not super-human and we all need our rest, recreation and repast. Unless refueled, your flight each day will not take off.
As we board our flight into 2022, remember the instruction you hear and read on every flight, “Should an emergency situation occur, you need to put your own oxygen mask on first, before attempting to help those around you.”
Have a Happy And Fulfilling New Year 2022!