2020 was a colossally turbulent year for all of us. A pandemic does not discriminate. And the repercussions that are a result of global discord, economic depravity, collapse of industry, and societal disruption are at incomprehensible scales. I made a personal choice to end 2020 productively, focusing on work, new music, and creative pursuits to kickstart 2021 (in the teeth) relentlessly and resourcefully. I chose to stop victimising myself and instead adapt and be cognisant of the gifts and talents I possess and march into a new year by furthering my vision, setting distinctive objectives for myself and benchmarking a strategy to fulfill my goals.
The thing about progress is that sacrifice and compromise are vital parts of it, especially if one decides not to be maladroit and jaundiced at the beginning of a new year.
It’s an unpopular choice, but then again, I stopped trying to please others needlessly at the risk of inundating myself with needless suffering.
Listen, I am no expert. I am as flawed, impulsive, and at times cantankerous as anyone else. However, I do feel that in order to live a more salubrious life – as difficult as it is – it helps if we learn to:
- a) Stop caring about who and how many people like or dislike us – which means not needing to spend every moment of your existence trying to please or seek validation of someone else.
- b) Stop taking everything so personally – that means people will upset and disappoint you. They may exclude or include you in stuff. They will not value you as much as you’d like them to. They may have their reasons. As you have yours. Accepting that everything isn’t about you is a big step.
- c) Quit putting out ashtrays while the house is on fire – which means deal with your bigger issues in your life before you try and sort everyone else’s problems.
- d) Let it go, let it go – stop clinging onto lost baggage; it will only weigh and slow you down.
- e) If you want respect, give respect – if you want others to support what you do, make an effort to support them in their endeavours, regardless of how infinitesimal it may be in your eyes.
- f) Remember you have two ears and one mouth – learn to listen twice as much as you run your mouth.
- g) Speak the truth, but choose the right moment – you can’t prove a point to anyone by demoralising and penalising them in front of others. Advice is free. Wisdom has a price. The thin line between those two is choice.
Some food for thought that may be useful. Again, in no way am I preaching or playing the part of the belligerent and know-it-all contemporary sophist. These are some things I picked up along the way. I am not one to proliferate mystic mumbo jumbo and pseudo-cryptic jargon of prattling about universal harmony and vibes and karma. Regardless of virtue, beliefs, and personal resolve, 2020 affected us all.
Because finally, we need to look after ourselves, our mental and physical health, hone our talents, groom our skills, and use our experiences to enact pragmatic, positive change first before we try to change anyone else and change the world.