2010 – Lessons learnt.

There is something about the end of the year that makes stock-taking a necessity. It is 43C here today, the day is balmy and impossibly hot. As with all impossibly hot days, the day is also quiet.  In this quietitude, the year that was stands silent as a hazy blur but yet some moments are so clear. It was a good year, this 2010 business. I am not going to say it was ‘great’ – but then again I use the word ‘great’ very, very, very sparingly.

So back to 2010. There were lessons learnt. Rewards gained. More lessons learnt. Some rewards went missing. Did you think I was going to repeat the pattern with the whole “lessons learnt, rewards gained” chain by the way? I am nothing if not predictably unpredictable.

Without further ado, here are reminders that the year handed to me. In no particular order.

1) You can go on long after you think you are ready to give up.  The decision to give up always comes from within. As does the decision to keep on walking.

If you do not trust me, you should see the number of rejection slips I gathered this year. I am still writing. Still editing. Like I said, the decision to write is mine alone. No rejection slip is going to decide this for me. Wish me luck. The more I write, the more I set myself up for possible failure. You think I would have given up by now, no? Not on the cards at the moment.

2) You are braver than you think. But at some stage, you need to stop thinking about bravery and start acting. Life has nimble toes, if you must know.

So sure, your car is a write off and you are inside a crumbling mass of metal that was actually your perfect car some thirty seconds ago.  You could have died. But you didn’t. You are alive and already victorious. Let us face it – for the rest of your life you will ask yourself what you could have done differently. You will kick yourself when you realise that you knew the answer all along. But after that, the real bravado comes in letting go. Of the mistakes and the horror. Leave the scene of the crash. Your lesson has been learnt. The debris has nothing more to teach you.

3) The world realigns itself every now and then. Go with the flow.

Life is always a multiple choice question. You cannot choose the answers, so just pick the best one.  People leave. People enter your life. You make mistakes. You let people down. There is only so much you can do. You cannot get everything right. Decide what you will beat yourself up for. Leave the rest. Because given half a chance, a willing world will do that for you.

4) Travel light. By which I mean, ditch the baggage. And stock up on the essentials. Life has these passages where you will be stranded. Believe you me. Be prepared to travel. And be prepared to wait. Like I said, stock up on the essentials.

5) Watch some good movies. Read the books everyone is talking about. Or read the books that you have always wanted to read. Always order dessert. Laugh more. Cry if you wish –  why spurn the heart of its colours! That is such a futile exercise.  Hug people more. Be the first to say “I Love You”.  Rekindle your belief in something, anything. You would be surprised by how wonderfully your heart thrives on passion.

6) There are no guarantees that Life runs a smooth course. So after you have done all, go back to the basics. Try again. Because the tides turn. The inky darkness gets tired of hanging around and takes off. Be around when the sun rises. You owe it to yourself.

Happy New 2011 to You and Yours. I hope the lessons you imbibed this year will see you through. I hope happiness awaits you around the corner, if it is not walking with you already. I will see you on the other side.

Thank you for reading me this year. I am deeply thankful for your friendship and your words.

Ciao 2010.

Scarlett

The 3 Hs

She runs ahead even as I call out, asking her to stop. The rain is coming down with a sullen intensity now and in the distance she sees some shelter.

“Hurry up, Mum”, the sing-song voice melds with the patter of dusty rain.

“Hang on A. Mum cannot walk that fast .”

“Is it your knee again?”

“Yeah”, I half run, half walk to her and hold her little hand tightly in mine.

“Did you know that you have had a bad knee for aaaaaaaages?”

“Um, yeah. Hard to forget stuff of that kind when I cannot take the stairs or run much, eh?”

“And it is still bad?”

“Yeah, it is still bad.”

“So when do you plan on getting it fixed?”

“I am not sure Missy. There are days when it hurts less than other days. And perhaps that is as good as it will ever get.”

The rain has reached a steady bellow. The parking lots stand deserted. And yet here we are, long lists in hand, ready to do our Christmas shopping. A few minutes pass in comfortable silence.

Then this. “Mum, everything that is broken heals some day.”

“Really? Everything?”

“Some things hurt for like 8 years. Or even 20. But they heal, you know. That is the way the world works”.  This being said as she waves a tiny hand around her and the rain drops slide off her finger-tips. Now here. Now gone.

The little voice continues. “Somethings hurt. Like a lot. But then they start getting better. ”

“I like the sound of that”

“So Mum, when the knee does not hurt on good days,it means you have already healed”.

“But A, I will still feel the pain other times, yeah?”

“Of course you will Mum. But you have to remember the 3 Hs”

Then without further ado, a warm hug on a cold day comes my way as she explains.

“The 3 Hs. Hurt, Healing and Healed. It is like a 1,2,3. That is how everrrrrything works.”

I am silent. And I am not even concentrating on my knee or the rain or the storm anymore.

“And Mum?”

“Yeah sweetums?”

“This applies to everything okay, I mean this. The 3 Hs. You better remember that, okay? Like your times tables or something!”

We reach the inside of the shopping centre and she lets go of my hand and promptly plasters her face against a window with a Christmas display, softly humming a carol to herself. I try to learn my new lesson.

Hurt. Healing. Healed. Life in an iteration. One known formula. Many variations. It can end well.  There is such a pattern here.

I better remember this tag line. Like my times tables or something.