As 2013 began its descent a few weeks ago, I, like many, started to think about what new heights 2014 would take us to. In actual fact what first came to mind was whether I’d actually bagged what I had planned to in 2013! Realising that there were a few things I hadn’t quite delivered on, the final weeks of last year were spent sealing the deal on several personal and professional projects. I knew that if I didn’t get ‘closure’ on some key issues, 2014 was not going to start the way I would like it to – looking forward and moving onwards.
Goals – discrete and dynamic
I’ll be honest and say that I didn’t tick off every item on that ‘nearly-end-of-year-crisis-to-do-list’, but I was really happy with what I had done – at the least it meant I could focus clearly on achieving what remained. I now see goals as a combination of discrete ambitions that have a beginning and an end, and more commonly, dynamic designs fashioned on a sound foundation, but whose course takes a winding scenic route opening doors to new experiences along the way to that final destination.
The Little Jar of Happiness – LJoH- that I started a year ago perfectly reflects that mix. The LJoH is an idea created by Elizabeth Gilbert (www.elizabethgilbert.com) whereby everyday you write down something that made you happy, pop it into an empty jar and at the end of the year, empty said jar, now full, and look back at all the precious moments that made your previous year rock. Knowing how I operate, I set out to make a note of happy moments when I remembered so that if I didn’t do it everyday it wasn’t the end of the world. Today, as I emptied my LJoH I was reminded of the blessings of celebrating 40 years of life with some of my most valuable people – MVP -, understanding love a little bit more, reconnecting with old and connecting with new friends, my son coming into his own in so many ways, new discoveries about self and others, running a 10K and raising funds for a long admired charity (www.aclt.org), the books read (Maslow’s Hierarchy for The 21st Century, Stanley F Bronstein), the writings published (www.herzimbabwe.co.zw), getting my abs back (The Flat Belly Diaries) – I even recalled some of the happy moments that I didn’t get round to making a note of…
Joyous times testify
More importantly these collections of joyous occasions are a testament to overcoming challenges, because Lord knows there were plenty of them in my own life and the lives of many in my circle. We all experienced loss, in some cases, of seemingly insurmountable proportions. There were things and people we had to walk away from in order to keep growing, moving forward and reaching new heights, to break barriers, to overcome fear, and to experience the full glory of love. In our immediate and wider communities around the world, our eyes were opened to the depths of the unbelievable horrors that our fellow human beings and children endure as part of every day life.
Through our challenges, we were still able to add to our own metaphorical happiness jars, and stand here today to testify. Some MVP who are no longer with us in the physical sense also stand on this same threshold, just not in a realm that we can witness. There is no reason why they should not still feature in the portrait of our lives that we paint every day. Mine certainly do and are a continual source of inspiration. Our happiness jars remind us that regardless of how hard things may get around us, we just have to go harder. Otherwise we miss out on those little treasured moments that go on to create the pretty big picture. So this year I will add a happy note every day and not just when I remember
Go hard in 2014
A self-penned quote that I tried to live by in 2013 (not always consistently) was:
‘Pray daily and expectedly. Love deeply and honestly. Laugh wholeheartedly. Smile genuinely. Kiss passionately. Speak gently.’
I think that when these principles are applied both figuratively and literally, we can only but thrive, remaining courageous through our battles, with arms and hearts open to achieve and receive that which we need. We are all a work in progress, so in that same spirit of going harder in 2014, I will amp up the motto to:
‘Pray HARDER and Expect UNRESERVEDLY, Love DEEPER, Speak SWEETER and SOFTER, Hug TIGHTER, Kiss LONGER.’