Sibongile Mafu

The end-of-year slog

2013-11-21 13:44

Sibongile Mafu

It's been a long year. That's what you're supposed to say, right? It's been a long, gruelling year and everyone deserves a break. Yes, we should know by now how many days there are in 12 months and adequately prepare ourselves, but by the time November comes, you just cannot believe how much time has gone by.

As November draws to a close, or what a close friend of mine calls, the Thursday of the year, we start being overly critical of our achievements and lack of achievements over the course of the year. Even if you actively avoid doing the dissection of the year that was, it becomes an inevitable thing your brain does. The tallying up of points and deciding whether you've been a success or complete failure in 2013.

Lists of things you're meant to have done before the year ends starts trending everywhere, as people scramble to achieve things before the New Year starts. Maybe you've been strategic about how you've gone about the year, and aren't completely burnt out. You've taken specific breaks over the last 11 months and aren't ending the year exhausted and broken.

A messy end

I have yet to learn the art of ending my year off gracefully. It's always a messy combination of painful fatigue, and last minute, expensive bookings for a trip home to Port Elizabeth to see the family. But the hours seem to become slower and slower as December draws near. Tasks you've mastered during the year, and could easily do with your hands strapped behind your back, are laborious and lengthy.

Even if you've been good about your finances over the course of the year, the wheels fall off in December. What is it about the festive season air that makes for poor decision-making? Over-spending creeps in when all you've been is the picture of discipline and restraint throughout the year, all that hard work, undone.

There's nothing like ending your year off on a high, with the bank balance at a low. In my quest to try and end off the year strongly and without much incident, I think I will start to be as honest with my foolish December ways as possible.

I know for sure the first strategy will be to be as far away from the Western Cape as possible. I will go back home to PE, a secluded small town, where there are very few options to be reckless during the festive season. Staying away from the sweet air of Cape Town, and the Joburg residents with the gold bars in hand, invading Cape Town is my best bet for survival.

Look after yourself

These are the kind of tips I can give you. Look after yourself during the festive season by isolating yourself and being away from the fun and good times. You’ll emerge in January a wealthier, happier human being. Yes, your December would have been more boring than a sequel to A Beautiful Mind, but at least you will not be a statistic.

You will flourish right from the get go and 2014 will open up to you like you won't believe.

I bring this advice with absolutely no intention of following through with it myself, but I think putting it down on paper is a signal of intent. And intent is enough. And besides, there are more Decembers ahead for me to try again.

In January, I will probably write tips and tricks to make it through the first quarter of the New Year, after a festive season bender.

Woza December.

- Sibongile is a videographer, blogger and social media enthusiast who would be nothing without her thumbs. Follow her on Twitter: @SboshMafu.

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