Its almost 2024, I hope you all had a wonderful Christmas.
Welcome to December’s Moment with Mary-Ann.
So, let’s get into what’s on my mind and what I’d like to write about… “New year, new me!”
Well, let’s dig into that annual mantra a little bit!
It’s almost like clockwork, isn’t it? At the end of every single year, most of us make a list of the things we would like to achieve in the coming 12 months. Some of us might go as far as reflecting on the past year, to learn from the previous year’s mistakes and downfalls, others will just mentally wipe the slate clean in an attempt to be metaphorically reborn… Then there is me, feeling like I am about to start banging the same old drum again.
In years gone by, I certainly tried to feel reborn when the 1st of January arrived, and I did feel genuine excitement at the prospect of a new year as an improved and more determined me. But I know that come December, I will feel like I’ve not achieved half of what I had hoped to, and will convince myself that I just need to do it again.
Well, this year I am breaking the cycle!
I am just going to continue developing the ‘2023 me’, because let’s face it, things take time and goal posts move through the chaos of life. If you are a return-reader, you’ll remember that in my previous blog, I have decided to pick one thing to do, but do it well!
So, no new year’s resolutions for me… But I have to do something, don’t I?
I thought long and hard about this and it led me to thinking about my core values, and I realised that they were quite malnourished, confused, and in some cases nearly completely gone… Like an old door, painted with layer upon layer of paint, I needed to strip back the years upon years of failed goals and misplaced effort to find the original wood! So, I suppose I could say “New year, old me!”
But firstly, what is a value…?
To me, values are the personal qualities that guide your actions, they act as your compass, leading you towards who you want to be and how you treat others.
Having unearthed and rediscovered some of my values, I remembered how highly I regard knowledge and learning new things. Educating yourself is utterly empowering, being able to do something today that you could not do yesterday, is the only truly objective measure of success. I realised that I value this above nearly everything else, and I took it for granted and allowed it to whither beneath years of superficial ideologies. Think about it, can you imagine not having the opportunity to learn or improve yourself through education? I think it would be incredibly difficult, not only in day today life, but also mentally crushing, and the knock-on effect reaches much further than the immediate individual. This is one reason I found a home with Rafiki Thabo, after knocking on so many doors over the years. But, more on that later!
Nurturing this almost-forgotten core value back to health, actually started the moment I realised it was on life support. I started to read more books, ask more questions, and listened to podcasts about real people and real issues… I don’t know what you are thinking, but to me things like ‘reading more’ and ‘asking more questions’ sound an awful lot like the usual sort of new year’s resolution! But it is different… because it is just me reacquainting myself with… the things that really matter to me! All I really need to do it allow my curiosity and my gut guide me, which has got to be more sustainable, doesn’t it?
It’s been really refreshing and revitalising to get to know myself again, I think we all get wrapped up in the trends, dramas and anxieties that form the rat-race we call life, it’s inevitable. So, if we are not careful, every time December comes and grabs us with a cold, dark and wet embrace, we will just make it all worse by stressing about not achieving our arbitrary goals from the year before… Then the knee jerk reaction is to set some more resolutions, how about we try to ‘watch less television, or ‘eat greener veg’…? The cycle continues. I suppose, through all this rambling, all I am saying is that we should use the New Year as an opportunity to realign our values to something that truly means something to us. If like me, you find that education and bettering yourself is a core value, then also like me, you might resonate with Rafiki Thabo’s mission and help empower others who are having these same thoughts this December. Unfortunately, many people in Lesotho, Kenya and Uganda are not in a position to be evaluating their core values in readiness for a better year ahead, a grim thought. But, rather brilliantly, Rafiki Thabo’s value system enables the creation of a network of empowered individuals who, in partnership with the charity create perpetuating positive effect within their communities. The charity’s input will give many young people and children the chance to think about what 2024 could bring them personally and their communities as a result.
So, here’s to 2024!
I hope you all have a fantastic new year, see people, watch the fireworks, eat food and enter the new-year, happy! But, if you can find time to take a minute and think about your core values, the parts of you that may have become lost, confused, or forgotten. Get reacquainted with yourself, rekindle those things that make you who you are and nourish them unashamedly! Then, if Rafiki Thabo’s values resonate with yours then you could extend them far beyond yourself and help grow something great, and very special. Do that, and I am sure you will find that this year will be a really good one for you and others around you…
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