Extended New Year greetings,
It’s that time of the year again, when nearly all smiles measure the same.
The confusion-mixture of happiness and worries. No one knows what the year has in store. But should the year have something for us or is it us to have something in store, meant to be done this year?
Just as every year comes with new resolutions (with many of us renewing our old resolutions for decades), I decided that this year I will do things a bit differently, maybe because new year to me means a whole new thing, maybe because I exaggerate it or just maybe because I usually wait for a new year so much that when it finally comes I feel like I can overthrow the earth.
People have made the New Year’s feeling be that of “next year I will actually build a mansion” when you don’t even have a job in the first place.
And before I even go far, it is worth mentioning that New Year day is also the birthday to some of us! You see, maybe that’s where I get all this energy from, whenever January approaches.
After running up and down, all in the name of celebrating the New Year, I have realized that nothing actually is going to change in this year, unless I sit down and start doing the things I said I will do in the New Year.
Oh wait, when are the New Year celebrations supposed to stop? Or just when are we supposed to stop greeting people with a “happy new year”?
Maybe this is what keeps us in our comfort zone too much that the year ends without doing anything substantial with our time and we have to renew our resolutions again. May-be.
For those of us whose birthdays are on or around the New Year date, the wishes, cards and gifts may throw you into thinking that maybe you need special time to celebrate, maybe a month, maybe two. And to let the world know that people should in fact add you to the list of whatever things they are celebrating this January.
I usually think birthdays are celebrated for no good reason, but let me keep my opinion to myself lest I lose all my female readers.
What if we took it this way- what if people celebrated achievements and people who made their previous year, rather than celebrating the change of calendar and age?
What made my 2015?
My 2015 was such a marvelous year because of the wonderful people in my life, with lots of things to celebrate-graduating for my undergraduate degree, being awarded the environmentalist of the year, attaining full training on environmental Impact Assessment and Digital story making, making new friends, of course becoming a registered bird watcher with the Natural History Society of East Africa, enjoying free access to all museums and museum sites in Kenya, not forgetting countless community environmental awareness, clean-ups and tree planting.
I can’t forget that street boy who saw us (Kenya Wildlife Conservation forum) doing a clean-up in Rongai town and joined us, telling us he was also disgusted with the way people throw “things” all over without minding the environment. He left us thinking.
It was the year I managed to organize a community environmental awareness forum in Kuinet primary school in Eldoret, the third school I had actually undertaken such an event in and visited Njoro Township School whose compound has been beautifully transformed through a tree- planting program I started while in campus.
As a travel fanatic, I visited some places In Kenya for the first time- Limuru, Thika, Murang’a ,Sokoke, and Mnarani ruins. I actually haven’t been everywhere, but it is on my list.
I also in the company of friends, enjoyed birding at Silole sancturary, Kakuzi farm in Makuyu, Paradise Lost, Nairobi National Park, Nairobi arboretum, Nairobi City Park, Lake Naivasha, Karen Blixen Museum, National Museums of Kenya, Kilifi, and visited the Nairobi Gallery and snake park.
And despite the numerous challenges that a year brings, there are these people who were always there for me- encouraging me, supporting me, comforting me, caring about me as if I was the only thing in their lives-like my mother.
None of the above would have been achieved without the aid of other people.
I mean, aren’t those enough reasons to celebrate?! Must I wait for the New Year?
But when the time came for celebration of the New Year, I suddenly “forgot” about all these!
Just don’t. Don’t even attempt. I mean, don’t try to tell me the “We celebrate our friends daily” dead line.
No we don’t. In fact we never do it. All we celebrate about is our birthdays, and New Year.
Show me five friends who have ever called you up for a cup of coffee, just to say “I wanted us to have this coffee simply because I celebrate you today and nothing more , just to thank you for being my friend”
It’s always rather a case of “hey, I’m feeling hungry buddy” and your “me too, big head”, someone pulling a “Hey sweetheart, you owe me a cup of coffee”, or a “Just got promoted, let’s celebrate tonight” or you are just bored and want a friend to have some time out with.
My New Year
On New Year day, as it’s the norm with many people, going to church is kind of mandatory- so I happened to be in a congregation with fellow Anglicans on 1st January 2016, most of whom were definitely new faces that show up only during New Year for “New Year blessings”.
Which reminds me-I urgently need to take back that envelope I was given during the New Year mass for my New Year thanksgiving. Let me call them returns. Maybe after I have traveled to Kisumu and then to my town-Busia.
I was thinking of dropping my thanksgiving to any church I will happen to worship in, along the way, but something told me my pastor will be mad at me, maybe for thanking the “same God” through a different church. So I will take back when I’m back in Nairobi.
A church testimony
In the church, there was this young man who concluded his narration of the wonders God had done into his life in 2015 by saying, “the world is full of stress, but if you have family, friends, food on the table and somewhere to lay your head, then you are the richest person in the world”
I found that statement so touching that I actually crammed it (or what are people supposed do to show that they have been touched so much by other people’s sentiments?)
Later in the day I posted the same on my Facebook wall but decided to make “a cover” of it before posting it. You see, world over people have song covers. Adele’s hello has more than 20 covers. So I just thought this boy’s statement was so sweet that it deserved a cover as well. And there I did it.
So in my cover of the same, I removed “the world is full of stress” bit ,edited his words and ended up with, “If you have family, GREAT friends, food on your table and somewhere to lay your head, then you are the richest person in the world. The rest are just bonuses.”
The reason as to why I did that cover (or should I call it a statement remix?), is that as much as I agree with the boy, the world is not so full of stress. It actually has a good percentage of it, but not full of it.
Yes the world can be that stressing, but what are you doing to have the best out of it? It all starts and ends with your perception. Most of people prefer looking at it as eye-openers and evaluation phases of life. It is all about what we are doing about it.
I have seen people who take challenges in life as normal and prone to occur. I have also seen people kill themselves because of the same. As I said, it all depends on you.
Only count on real friends
I also included “great friends” in my cover of the boy’s statement. This was intentional. It is actually only your great friends (you may include your boyfriends and girlfriends here, depending on what you think of them. I would advise you put the loyal ones under family), who stand to be counted as your riches.
Think of people you know have got your back even if you haven’t been in contact for ages.
People who always believe in you and in what you do.
People who inspire you in their own ways. It could be just from the way they smile, their hard work, their availability when you need them, their passion in the things they do, their creativity, their maturity. People you learn something from despite your color, age, political, religious, social or cultural differences.
People who in their own small ways are always supporting you and/or your work/passion.
These are the great friends I’m talking about.
Forget friends who call you only when they need you. People who have no time for you. People who will always smile to pretend they are happy for you. People who are first to shout out love without knowing what it really is. People who like you for nothing more than the fact that someone else does. People who always count on how much they mean to you without thinking of how much you mean to them.
A friend whose main job is only to supply or advise you on the best weed joint in your hood is rather a liability.
Bonuses in life
In my cover I also added, “The rest are just bonuses”. Yes they are. What else do you need if you have family, great friends, food and shelter? A car is a bonus, a decent home is a bonus, and all the other things you may desire are actually bonuses.
Ironically, we spend most of our years on earth chasing the bonuses and often overlooking the fundamentals. And when we fail to get them, the world becomes so “stressful” that we can’t handle it. Be thankful and happy from the small things that happen in your world and not stressed over big things that don’t.
What to do in 2016
Wake up, get up, count all your blessings, stay positive and remember to have fun!
I have come to realize that when nothing in your life is working, it’s time to think of what you are doing anything about it. In short for things to work, you must work on them.
My hope is that we all achieve those crazy things we think must be achieved this year, without forcing anything to happen.
Find alternatives if you can’t get what you want.
Count on your friends. Hold dearly those you believe in and who are always there for you. Trust me; finding such people in life is hard enough.
Be loyal- to your dreams, friends and loved ones.
And don’t sit there thinking about people who have exited your life, as great ones are on their way to bring better things.
New Year is overrated, just as the usefulness of the standard gauge railway to the animals in the Nairobi national park.
I need to go, got an invitation from a friend who hasn’t seen me “since last year.” This New Year thing is not yet done with wasting my time, I tell you.
May this year be the best you have ever had-Keep the focus; maintain the passion and eye higher than last year.
Have a peaceful birding year, full of healthy elephants and rhinos in our savannas.