It’s been a year of many firsts. First time on the third floor, first trip to Latin America, first paraglide, first short story being written for publishing, first hot air balloon in Ethiopia, first time to The Gambia, Tunisia and Nigeria, first time back in Harar since 2008…It’s been a first full year in Addis after having been away for 14 years. Although that year has been punctuated with many hours in the skies zig zagging across the globe. From Banjul to Abuja, Vegas to Rio, Foz do Iguazu to Cape Town, Tunis to Delhi, Dubai to Accra, Jinja to Nairobi. Arusha to LA.
It’s been a year that has witnessed the death of a family member, as well as a stroke in one side of the family and confirmation of breast cancer on another. Still I count my blessings and am reminded to care for our health and never take a day for granted – though I must confess I still do.
Many lessons learnt in 2016, but here are six:
1. No condition is permanent – let this be a reminder when we get arrogant and complacent in good times, and a way to lift our spirits when we despair in bad times.
2. Count your blessings – we can either choose to moan about the thorns on the roses or delight that thorns have roses. We will never run out of things to complain about or be miserable about. But we must always step back and count our blessings, they’re equally countless.
3. Never say never – life has a way of making you eat up your words. We plan but the Almighty plans better. We should be prepared to roll with the punches and punch back if need be, floating like a butterfly and stinging like a bee.
4. Stop procrastinating. Don’t wait for tomorrow’s which may never come. Do what you can now. As a friend keeps reminding me, time is more than money.
5. Explore. The world has so much to offer. The more you trot, the more you realize how much more there is to discover. Be hungry for more but find contentment along the way.
6. Breathe, and better yet breathe beauty. The news in 2016 has shown us how ugly this world can be. We realize however that it is equally beautiful. May we counter all the hate with love and all the ugly with beauty. Do this in small and big ways. Don’t wait for extraordinary, celebrate and appreciate the small things, all day every day.
May we live compassionately, love passionately and breathe beauty for the rest of our days. Happy 2017.