And so this is Christmas and what have we done
another year over
a new one just begun…
John Lennon singing the first lines of my favourite Christmas song always warms my heart. Finally, I manage again to listen to Christmas songs without crying…
It has been four years since my closest family was together for Christmas, before that even five. Living far away, practical issues, having young children and of course the damn C-word made it all too complicated. The last two Christmases I was pregnant so the hormones jingled all the way. The crying could happen anywhere: in the car, walking into a shop or sitting in the waiting room of a doctor, just like that: Wham!
My heart used to sink when I would hear Chris Rea’s “driving home for Christmas”. It reminded me of years ago when my siblings and I were “flying home for Christmas” and we had so much fun.
I never cared about the presents underneath the Christmas tree but dearest Mariah I do want a lot: my tribe in one place. With lame jokes like “Sand is the new snow” or “ho ho ho, the cameltoe” and “have a sweaty new year” I used to cover up how dearly I missed my siblings, my mom, my nieces, my in laws, my friends… The most wonderful time of the year is just not the same when you’re not together with the ones you love.
Yes, I do realise how lucky I am writing this from a sunny beautiful country while preparing to leave on safari. Luckily my mom and mother-in law made it, yes, I am super grateful. All my love and respect for the ones in grey cold countries. I really hope this can be the last year of restrictions and horrible discussions dividing an already heavily fragmented world. Santa, can you hear me? I wish George Michael was still alive so he could change his lyrics into “Last Christmas of being apart”.
Once again, there won’t be snow in Africa this Christmas time but we will make the very best of it. The prospect of a new year always brings new hope. So have yourself a merry little Christmas now. My new years resolutions are also my wishes for all of you. Cheers to 2022!
Learn to be content – Buddha
True contentment, according to Buddhism, is not based on the fulfillment of desire but comes from the grateful acceptance of what is. In all honesty, I am not so good at that. I still tend to believe that progress comes from desire and I have been taught that standing still means going backwards.
The birth of my son was without a doubt the most important event of the past year. Unconsciously my children make me live more in the present but at the same time they ensure that I continue to look forward. To be content and to grow do not have to be opposites.
Living abroad was a choice and there are times I’m not that happy about it. Like soon another Christmas far away. Fortunately there is a difference between “to be content” and “learn to be content”. It’s ok to have a bad day, there may be doubt or uncertainty. It’s fine. I try to be happy about the fact that there are people in this world I can miss and who miss me, that there are some amazing places I cherish but can not immediately go to. As shitty as it may be, it is very comforting to know that they exist.
Le talent c’est l’envie de faire quelque chose – Jacques Brel
(having talent means having the desire to do something)
Perfectionism often leads to nothing. Just because you don’t have legs like Usain Bolt doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy a run in the park.
And who knows…
Imagine if Freddie Mercury would have questioned himself in a world and a time that was only too happy to keep him out of the spotlights, we probably would never have heard of him. I just want to say: there is absolutely nothing to lose. Only the regret for what you never did or dared to.
Let’s be (a bit) more like Freddie. He once said: “I always knew I was a star, and now the rest of the world seems to agree with me.” So write that book, go for the job, visit that country, paint the painting, train for that marathon,…
Walt Disney said it: If you can dream it, you can do it. It’s vital to keep your inner child alive, keep floating like Peter Pan.
This brings me to Einstein’s famous quote that there are only two ways to live your life: “pretend nothing is a miracle and pretend everything is a miracle”. I try to do the latter and pass it on. There is so much beauty in this world. To stay amazed is essential.
If you want something done, give it to a busy man – Benjamin Franklin
Now that I don’t have a real job nor an office to go to, it strikes me how trivial things can define my entire day. Grocery shopping for example. When I worked fulltime I never even thought about this, it just happened. Now it annoys me that sometimes it’s my only real daily activity. This obviously next to the most important job in the world of being a mom of two little ones under the age of two.
Just do it (or don’t!) – Nike
I just wrote that you have to chase your dreams. You can also look at it in the opposite direction. You don’t always have to do everything. Sometimes certain things actually get in the way of the bigger goal. There are only 24 hours in a day. If baking a cake doesn’t give you any satisfaction, just go and buy one. In 2022 I say goodbye to these feelings of guilt. No I don’t make my own granola, I will buy my daughters birthday cake and no I am not into glazing pottery. In that regard I believe that worrying what others might think is a huge waste of time. Or like Wayne Dyer once put it: “What others think of me is none of my business”.
Giving is living
Living in Kenya means living amongst people who are much less fortunate. Poverty, disease, hunger… The urge to do something is always present but there is so much that needs to be done that it almost has a paralyzing effect. Nevertheless looking away is not an option. The months-long drought recently caused a huge scarcity of food. And I found myself complaining about doing groceries… it’s ridiculous. Believing that every little bit helps, I went to an orphanage in the slums of Soweto in Nairobi where they take care of 35 abandoned (and often abused) children. I brought them food, clothes and toys. Let that be my main resolution: to do more, to give more in 2022.
Have a happy and healthy 2022 everyone!