I hope this finds you well.
It seems like only yesterday that we were chanting “Happy New Year,” unfortunately without fireworks (like we always do) due to the unrest of the pandemic.
It was with smiles on our faces and optimism that we carried into the year that is 2022 and coming to an end in a few days from now. We made new year’s resolutions, set goals for the year, and promised not to be or do this or that, or to stop this and start that. And, oh, how we tried our level best to hit them.
This was the year many people recorded truly praiseworthy successes; I mean as a country, individuals, as well as the globe at large. From the arts to the sciences, businesses and careers, and innovations, Africans pushed further and made significant strides (which is quite evident; more so in the entertainment scene with the right places Afrobeats has gone for example). People honed their crafts and sold themselves better. Every year, we say “it is time for Africans,” and the successes we continue to record year after year show that we are right.
There are extraordinary stories and wins of people making waves in every sector locally and globally. And there are everyday wins like people finding love, buying homes or cars, going on vacation to different countries, crowing their academic journeys, getting their first apartments, reconnecting with their families and sharing their newlywed photos almost every other weekend.
It is the season when people share all this and more on social media. What better way is there to celebrate the year, take stock (reflect on the accomplishments you have made; however little they seem) of how far you have come, and rekindle your hope for a better new year?
On the flip side, this year has been turbulent for many people. They worked hard, toiled day and night, made investments and did everything they could with little or no returns. Some have gained and lost jobs. Their businesses have kicked off well and then tanked due to inflation, natural disasters, poor staffing, and many other factors. They have invested in schemes that failed and saved money that was later used to treat a sick family member. Some have lost relationships. Some have succumbed to anxiety and depression. Some have gained and lost, and all their efforts have been fruitless. There are those who made progress but compared to their projections for the year, it looks too minute to be celebrated.
If you fall into any of these categories, it is for you that I write this letter.
As the year comes to an end, the pressure as always definitely gets “wesser”. On social media, people would ask you to share your biggest wins and successes and you’d see others recording a level of success you cannot boast of. And you will be forced to compare yourself to them, after all, they don’t have two heads.
You’ve most probably heard this a million times before, but I do consciously remind you that people are on different journeys. You are not a failure because your wins don’t look like others’ or because you did not achieve your goals or meet your own expectations. Sometimes, it is alright if living and forging all ways forward to stay alive and sane was and is your biggest win for the year.
This year has been rough on many levels. From economic regression to inflation, insecurity, accidents, company layoffs, and so on, many people have struggled to keep afloat. Many have earned more but their purchasing power keeps reducing. Match that with the expectations you have of yourself to be at a certain point at a certain time, and anxiety and depression creep in.
But let’s look at the bright side: you’re alive and breathing; come what may, there’ll be a tomorrow, another proof that no matter how dark and gloomy the night may be, the sun will shine in the morning; you’ve got hope and faith in a better tomorrow – you can only go up from here; you have family and friends who love you. There’s so much to be grateful for and you only have to look inward to find a reason.
So it is okay if you did not buy that car, get that scholarship or “Chop Life” like your peers. It is okay if your bank account isn’t fat or if you did not meet your fitness goals. There is a tomorrow; one that will be better than today.
Many times, what really determines success is our ability to keep breathing, dreaming and hoping no matter what life throws our way. If living is all you’ve done this year, take this as your year of observing, exploring, learning and seeking clarity. The coming year belongs to you. Keep your head high! May your spirit remain unbroken, have hope, see new possibilities and may 2023 be your best year yet. I lastly wish long stretches of happiness and fulfillment and all the good things to find you
Wish you love and your loved ones love and light this season. Do have yourselves Happy holidays.
Written from context from Bella Naija.