Reflecting on 2016

Hello. It’s been a while since I have been on AllThingsPositive. I must admit, I’ve been procrastinating. I have often spoke of the seasonality of life. Let’s just say I’ve had a lot of winter and some spring mixed into my life since September which I haven’t felt like writing about.

The sudden loss of my father in September over the space of three weeks after a stroke, rocked the core of my foundation. Needless to say, I experienced grief in all its stages since then. There is no time limit on grief – some days seem great, until a memory triggers uncontrollable sadness. Looking at my Dad’s photo everyday has different effects on me – sometimes, I greet him in my mind hoping to keep my deep connection to him. Some days I realise that I will never hear his voice again, and his famous: “Hello, my sweetie” greeting that he used just for me. Just typing the words reminds me of seeing him in hospital – even in his worst condition – he greeted me with those words.

The father-daughter bond is indeed a special one – being my father’s only daughter, I will forever cherish our memories. And that is the greatest realization that comes out of the death of a loved one – we can never ever get back time with the special people in our lives. We DO need to take every opportunity to be with those special people because that cliche – Life is too short – is so damn true. I like to think of myself as a generally positive person and so I have always approached life and each special occasion with a celebratory attitude. Going through this enormous personal loss has just re-confirmed that attitude.

The positivity actually comes from my father. I still remember my surprise from my university years, when I was on the phone with him one day, and he told me to just have fun no matter what I did. I hear you Daddy! Even though there are people that have decided that I am not worth their time, I will give my undivided attention to the people that do love me and want to spend special moments with me.

I was in the thick of things when I lost my Dad – planning a second launch of Namaste Life and building the crucial Minimum Viable Product for my business – MeQ Strengths Profiling. All of that had to be put on hold for a few weeks, and then I had to swim right back into it, including my attendance at the first Essence Festival in South Africa and the final pitch for Telkom Futuremakers Innotech in November. To be honest I didn’t think I could get back into anything. A huge part of me didn’t want to face the world. I wanted to crawl into bed and stay there for a few more weeks.

But then my spring season started to bloom.I thought about my Dad and his personality. He was one of those rare people that never complained about anything no matter how tough life became. It was his “can do” attitude that pushed me to get onto stage again – to speak about Namaste Life or to continue sharing my work on MeQ Strengths Profiling and its value for job-seekers. I’ll admit that I wasn’t performing at peak levels. But showing up is half the battle. I gave myself some much-needed compassion and now I do feel that I can make into the next challenge that life may send my way.

I may not have believed it a few months ago, but time does heal. The grief may decrease but our beautiful memories will always live on. I know my whole family will be hurting this Christmas (my Dad’s birthday was the day after Christmas) as the head of our family home won’t be there for us to celebrate and adore. I guess we’ll have to celebrate his life from afar. I’m sure that wherever he is right now, he is sending his positive light to all of us, especially to my mum who is without her life partner.

One day, I am sure to go through the same experience as my Mum – feeling all alone in the world without my love. All we can do is remind her of the good times that she has had with Dad and the love that we all have for her. I wish for her to come to my house and spend time with us – but her devotion to tradition and culture keeps her in their home for a year. It may not be my place to challenge her beliefs and I don’t intend to, but grief has been a sort-of out-of-body experience for me. It has made me think that being human is weird.

We come together as families, love and hate each other, grow as individuals, take each other for granted, and rely so heavily on a few people. The truth is, we are born alone and we die alone. So I’ll say it again – life is really too short. Small things don’t matter. Material things certainly are of the least importance in the grander scheme of life. Society has it all wrong. Sure, we need material wealth to survive and thrive. That does not mean it needs to take centre-stage. It is spiritual and emotional wealth which comes from placing more value on fostering healthy relationships and showing compassion to others, that makes life meaningful.

Loving yourself and loving others with all their flaws and imperfections is what makes life worth living. 2016 has brought home some hard truths for me – there have been individuals who I have called out on their double standards. Instead of admitting their misgivings, let alone apologizing, they have replied with insults and general disrespect. They have made it known that I don’t deserve their attention or time (unless they need to use me) and it has been quite a hurtful realization. But it is for the best. Toxic people don’t deserve a place in my space. Jealousy and a lack of tolerance for diverse opinions (it seems that some people prefer you to just agree with everything they say, no matter how inaccurate!) – sorry, those ugly tendencies are not allowed here! I will continue to own my opinions and make up my own mind about … well, everything.

To all the fantastic readers of this blog,

I wish you a peaceful, stress-free festive season.

I wish that the negativity that may live in your surrounds washes away as you enter 2017.

Lastly, here’s wishing that the challenges that you have set for yourself in the new year, are met with bucket-loads of enthusiasm and general success.

Three Cheers for Happy Days Ahead.

 

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