Aaaaaand we’re back!!!!! A happy, prosperous and fulfilling 2019 to you all! May peace and joy abound in your lives and may the Lord keep and provide for you in all areas.
How were the holidays? I trust that there was a lot of joy, laughter, peace and togetherness for all. Holidays are synonymous with family and I do hope that all our readers were able to spend GOOD TIMES with either blood or chosen family. Thankfully, I got to do both! But more on that later.
I must say that I thoroughly enjoyed my December 2018, shem! And I feel so, so sorry for the devil who TRIED IT!!! He tried it shame. But He failed. In the midst of trauma, grief and confusion, there were SO, SO many instances of joy, sunshine and just pure bliss. Moments that made life make sense; moments that made life worth the living. I wouldn’t say that I am an eternal optimist – far from it. I call myself a realist and I have no qualms with calling a spade a spade. And so when things are gloomy, I have never shied away from calling it what it is. And I don’t exactly know where my focus on the good things that overflowed in my life during a testing time came from. Is it growth? Was I being intentional or was it just the unmerited grace of God? That because He loves me, He was watching over me, determined to make sure that I come out on the other side with fullness of joy? I will definitely charge it to God’s grace and to intentionality. I recall during sad and low times, just going back to happy thoughts and memories and also being present and actively immersing myself in moments to make sure that I cultivated them for joy. In other words, I would intentionally pour my energy and focus on that which I knew had the potential to bear joy and grow even more joy. Our thoughts, intentions and energies are a force multiplier. What we focus on grows. And I am not saying that I will never have a down day or feel frustrated with life, but I am saying that I learnt and continue to learn the value in turning your attention and focus solely towards that which enriches your life. And as someone that’s quite clinical and black and white in my dealings, I guess that just means I am even less likely to invest time and energy in time-wasters or situations that drain me or do not build me. Then people say those such as myself are callous. But you’re wasting my time though? And you’re not bringing anything joy into my life? If anything, you’re draining it? Nah, son. Miss me. LOL.
Not only did I enjoy my time with family over December, I started the festive season off right by doing best and eating joy with my colleagues in various settings. Because, cultivate joy where it shows promise and potential right?
So we all will agree that the Christmas holidays in particular are also TOTALLY synonymous with good food and general “bordering on gluttonous” indulgence. In my family, the week leading to Christmas is generally just a mirthful, ‘devil may care’ time when it comes to food and wine! LOL. We throw caution to the wind and temporarily forsake all diets and what nots, all in the spirit of togetherness, because nothing kindles joy more than fermented grapes and some good soul food. Kikiki. And Christmas Day (CD)? Well, we all know that CD is just the zenith of all abandon and profligacy😂🙈. This year was no different – we had all the regular CD lunch features: gammon, turkey, chicken stew, and roast leg of lamb, amidst a variety of to-die for carb pairings such as lidombolo & sweet potato bake. I was so stuffed that for the first time, I wasn’t able to get to dessert on CD. I had to defer my dessert eating to the next day! As in no trifle, Christmas pudding or peppermint crisp! That’s cos I had me TWO plates, yes two, within the space of 4 hours, of Christmas lunch, because, why not? Is this not decadence though? Hahaha!!! Especially when one considers the fact that I had beeeeen imbibing champopo (see my post on things that made me happy in 2018) and alcohol generally (all those calories 😨) for like a minute during that week and the one prior to it. But, ah well. Like, you only live once! Basically it felt good to be alive and amongst loved ones at that time! And so, I went with the flow! Wow. My stomach still does somersaults whenever I think of how good our CD lunch spread was. I want!!!!
Besides the spread, it was really such a blessing to be amongst family. That time and opportunity basically solidified my “love those who love you, forget those who don’t” approach. Because, sometimes you can be so caught up on nonsensical things and people that you miss what’s good and beautiful and actually worth focusing on in your life. And you may not see how nonsensical it is because you’re holding on too tight. You need to detach and look elsewhere; be fed, watered and nurtured in other situations, and then you’ll see things for what they really are. Like I said last year, holding on too tight is a sign that something is wrong – and it’s never good anyway, to be so embroiled that you begin to miss the forest for the trees. Being with family was that for me in December.
The presence of family was also much appreciated and valued at a time when there was drama that we couldn’t necessarily avoid – when the devil literally tried to steal our joy. As a result, Lulu came down for a week and just that in itself, was so heartwarming. And even though she left juuuust before Christmas (still mad at you girl), it was so wonderful to see and spend whatever time one could with both her and her mother. And in the midst of whatever may have been going on, it was so humbling to realise that I am blessed. And we often don’t realise these things, because we are looking at situations the wrong way. “Oh, I don’t have this job, a certain kind of influence or that kind of money.” “I don’t have this kind of body or that kind of relationship with my S/O.” Those things are nice and often good to have, but what’s really fundamental in life? I believe that it is the people we are placed in relationship with. I believe that the highest form of self-actualisation is not just self-mastery; it is one’s relational capabilities. Because, self-mastery can’t be practised in isolation – you can only know yourself and how far you’ve come, in relation to how you interact with other people. Yes, you can also gauge your self-mastery in situations and how you react to them, but a majority of our lives revolve around having to deal with people. Some would say unfortunately, LOL.
I am blessed to have family. This can often sound trite and thin, but until you are in a situation and only family is there, your appreciation of this gift will always be somewhat light and flippant. And family is often dysfunctional. And that’s OK too – no one’s family is perfect. But to have a family that can pull through despite its dysfunction, when it really matters, that’s gold and that’s a blessing. And so this Christmas, I found myself truly appreciative of the family units God has placed me in. My family that drove all the way from Swaziland for just a 48 hour reunion. Generally, all the sacrifice that goes into maintaining family. I know I am guilty of not doing all that I can because for instance, it is well known that I am laaaaazy for Swaziland, lol. I just generally don’t wanna drive there. Inasmuch as I love my family and spending time with them, I must say that it’s a lot of effort to go to Swaziland. My maternal grandfather lives on his farm and my mother’s younger sister has her family home about 40 odd kilometres away while my paternal side of family all live in Mbabane, which is another 60 odd kilometres from Manzini, where the maternal side of family is based. So, yeah, issalot. Because one doesn’t have a family home in Swaziland, there’s a lot of moving up and down one does – as one would do anyway when visiting a place and trying to cover as many reles (relatives) as possible. But I guess the takeaway and the lesson, after this Christmas, is to treasure your family and do as much as you can to spend time with them and to nurture those relationships because one day, that family may be all that you have that sustains and lifts you up and shows up when it matters most. And yes, it involves sacrifice at times.
So after Christmas, I went away on holiday with two childhood friends of mine. It really is quite an achievement, I must say, for one to still be friends with (in an active manner – like I am knowledgeable about the professional, familial and personal details of your life) people one first met and became friends with at the age of 9. Dare I say that it’s a laudable achievement, because friendships, like all other relationships, take work. One must invest effort, time and genuine care and concern into them. They don’t ‘just work’. It’s especially worth noting when these friendships have endured the different phases of life: adolescence, young adulthood and well into the dirty thirties. It’s worth noting because people change and grow and life happens. Lulu and myself have written about the virtues of friendship on several posts before and there’s generally a lot to be said for and about friendship; if you’re lucky and you meet good people, and you in turn are a relatively good person, you have the golden and remarkable opportunity to build and experience friendship at its best.
So my two friends and I went on a beach holiday and I must say we had a splendid time. Besides the fun and frolicking (of which there was a lot, LOL), my observation of certain (sometimes old) friendships is that we seem to operate more like siblings or family, than friends. That’s because there is no pretence or rather, holding back. Cos you know we’re all our bad, raw and vulnerable selves mostly amongst family. We tend to be better behaved with friends. In this case, I believe that the ‘ease of relation’ is a function of time – we beeeeen knowing each other and I believe that we each have come to a full acceptance of who the other is. We love and respect each other for the uniqueness of the other. No one is trying to change anyone. And therein lies the golden nature of such friendship – being accepted and loved for the person you are – flaws and all. Of course, we all know how sibling or sibling-like relationships are. Nerves and emotions tend to get easily frayed, and we can act out, reverting to juvenile sorts of behaviours, and next thing we’re 9 again, LOL. I think two ways about this: 1) We are all emotional human beings and we need to have places where we can be our most naked and unbearable selves. 2) If overdone and with no sense of self-regulation and willingness to take an L here and there, then that kind of self-indulgence (which it is) can be destructive for those relationships. However, the blessing of such friendships is not only worth mentioning, but also worth expressing and holding sincere gratitude for. Because not only do they put up with you, they also tell you the truth (even/especially uncomfortable truths) and genuinely want the best for you.
And so not only did I have holiday fun, but I also celebrated another birthday. Will you look at God?! #WontHeDoIt? I mean…I made it to the next age up and I give sincere gratitude for this milestone. My birthday was again made special by both family and friends because of the love that I received on the day. My cousin Noxxie even took a sista out and our whole afternoon centred on sipping champopo! What a way to make a girl’s day meaningful! Taking me to indulge in a fav pastime🤣🤣🤣. I thoroughly enjoyed the afternoon. Nothing fancy – but the genuine love and effort behind that gesture made it golden! In all things, we give thanks.
So, as we step into 2019, I would encourage each of us to focus on what grows and nurtures us relationally speaking. We can always strive to achieve professionally and materially, but may we also remain mindful of the social units and interactions that literally sustain us. With relationships, you get out what you put in, so I encourage each of us to be mindful and intentional about building and strengthening our relationships with family and friends – the difficult and more easier ones. There are many who, for any number of reasons, have not had the blessing of family or solid “love and truth live here” friendships. Inasmuch as we all strive for more, for greatness this year, may we also strive to be better family members and friends – may we also strive to be relationally rich. And if you are going into 2019 feeling that 2018 was a bummer of a year and that many things fell apart or didn’t happen at all or the way you hoped they would, BUT you have some familial or platonic relationships that are not only intact, but that, for any number of reasons, give you LIFE, then you are rich. It is and shall be well with you – you are blessed.
What is it that you can think of to give thanks for from the last month? And then, what are you looking forward to in 2019?
You can also find me at twitter.com/honeybmissg.