The new year of 2021 is upon us and even though we may have learnt many lessons from the wonderful year of 2020, I have found out that we tend to forget easily as humans, despite our best intentions. I remember when we were just a few weeks into the lockdown here in Nigeria and I was teaching my kids to sing the Happy Birthday song while washing their hands as encouraged by the W.H.O and other health agencies, my 5 year old asked me, “Mom why are we singing the Happy Birthday song while washing our hands?”. I replied “Because of Coronavirus”, to which she replied “Is it Coronavirus birthday?” I then had to explain the connection between the hand washing and the germs. I had a good laugh then, but it is amazing that in some parts of the world, they are already marking a year with the virus.
So as a family, perhaps we can play a fun game and ask members of the family what they are looking forward to in the New Year. Don’t worry your younger kids may come up with eating rainbow pancakes and pizza and ice cream every day, but that is all part of the fun. You can gently guide them to also include some concrete goals and expectations too, and more importantly members of the family should help to hold each other accountable to whatever is on the list.
Nevertheless, one key lesson I am taking away from this year is to be flexible. Learn to adapt and even readapt. Learn that you are not cement cast in stone, you are more like a river that can flow through different channels and paths, but unstoppable you remain. Learn that some things are within your control and some things are not within your control. Learn that there is the undisputable power of the Divine who is sovereign and there is the role and path assigned to men and these two are not interchangeable.
Never forget that you are made for more, don’t sell yourself short or make excuses for yourself. You deserve to be happy, you deserve to love and be loved in return. Your kids deserve a happy and healthy nurturing environment to grow and thrive in. You deserve a break every once in a while, so that you can return firing on all cylinders. Never forget that you only know the details of your marriage and no one else’s. If you have not mastered yours, what makes you an expert in another person’s home. Judge less. Criticize less. Like the Good book says, “If you have not taken out the log in your eye, how can you see the speck in your brother’s eye”.
Never forget that even though some people may not say it, they are going through a lot, some through a whirlwind of a storm. Do not envy anyone. Reach out more. Lend a helping hand to that mother you know is going through a rough patch. Take her kids off her for a day or two and no matter how troublesome they may be, return them alive to their mother LOL.
Never forget to ask more questions. Assume less. I learnt this hard lesson 7 years ago. Embarrassment could not kill me fast enough. I wanted the ground to literally open up and swallow me. Related to that, we all make mistakes, so learn to forgive yourself. Learn it, e get why! As you learn to forgive yourself, extend that same kindness and forgive others too and thereby free yourself. No hurt, disappointment or pain is worth the self-imprisonment.
Love yourself. Love your spouse. Love your kids and let them know you love them. Say it, show it and repeat. Our loved ones are sometimes overlooked and under appreciated by us as we always assume they know. They don’t know anything o, tell them and show them. Call your parents more. Visit them more. Call your in laws more, show them love. Let us live a regret-free life. When you look at the bigger picture you will find out that some things are ultimately inconsequential.
Your relationship with the Divine should be your anchor for 2021. I am a person of faith and I have discovered painfully and thankfully that maintaining a relationship with the Divine, makes me a better person, a better wife, a better mother, a better in-law, a better co-worker, a better-mentor etc. 2021 may be a whole new package wrapped in ribbons we have to open and discover, but remember no manufacturer sends an equipment out, without the accessories used to install and operate the equipment enclosed in the box. So relax, no matter what 2021 brings, you will handle and overcome it. Cheers to your victory!
picture credits: the internet