Happy New Year, South Africa

2009-01-15 00:00

There is nothing as exciting as a fresh start, a new year, a new page and, above all, a new chance to give life another try. May it be social success, getting a promotion, doing well at school or even something as simple as learning to embrace the art of budgeting, New Year’s resolutions are a very important beginning point of each year. But do we have what it takes to see them through and give ourselves a pat on the back come December?

You may have lost a loved one in the past year or maybe you didn’t do so well academically. Maybe you got yourself into a mess that will force you to change the course of your life or maybe you’re still trying to swallow that last regret for not getting a job at that company you were looking forward to working for. Whatever your dilemma, it’s not as bad as it seems.

I have been trying to fulfil my New Year’s resolutions since I learnt to make them but it gets harder every year. I almost thought that I would never cut it until my eyes opened up to the fact that it’s not the pain and disappointment that are associated with not accomplishing your dreams that matters, it is that inner strength to push forward and keep trying and not give up that’s important.

Bad things happen to us all the time. We experience the loss of loved ones and we give up on relationships that don’t work out. Then there’s the never-ending story of the fluctuating rand, the petrol price and the expensive necessities such as food and accommodation. It is life. Some have it better than others, but we all go through some sort of difficulty at some point in our lives and even though we handle our predicaments differently, it is important to remember that we always have the strength to go on. We are capable of moving forward with our heads held up high.

Last year I heard of a number of deaths and most of them were suicides. I can’t even begin to imagine the kind of pain a person must go through to come to the decision of taking his or her own life. How big must this problem be that a person cannot seek help but instead chooses to quit so selfishly? What could be so troubling that someone in need cannot seek advice or comfort from family, friends or even colleagues?

At 23, I have seen and overcome quite a lot, but one thing that I have learnt from an early age is that tomorrow is a better day and if it is not, then maybe the day after will be. Quitting is never the answer, no matter how big the problem. There is always a way around a problem and we always have options. My last year’s resolutions were to change jobs, move away from home and buy my first car. Even though I only accomplished one, I am not disappointed that I didn’t accomplish all three. I have noted the mistakes I made and I am now one step closer to attaining the other two.

So maybe you have been sitting at home for the past 10 years without a job. Do not give up. Your day will come and you will find a job. If you have failed your matric, it’s not the end of the world. Make a note of your mistakes and then give it another try. Maybe you are pregnant but you are still in school. Do not despair, hold your head up high and make it work. Maybe you’ve been told that you are HIV-positive and you feel as though your whole world is falling apart. You are so wrong.

If you feel as though there is no tomorrow, check your calendar. Should someone tell you there is no hope, they are lying. Hope is free and we all have a little bit of it inside us. “Impossible” is just another word in the dictionary and once you learn to believe in yourself, everyone will start doing so too.

There is no such thing as running out of time. Get yourself a new clock and you will never have an excuse not to pursue your dreams. Never give up and remember that when you lose, you must never forget the lesson. Happy New Year, South Africa.

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