Older, Wiser, Lighter.

Remember the issues that kept you awake 10 years ago? What happened to them?

Time and nature have a way of combining to resolve the imbalances in our lives. Which is why the older I grow, the more I try to adjust to the patience required to see through tough times, with a smile on my face. Life, on its own and without your help, would complicate matters for you. Sadly, a number of times, we find ourselves helping life down its destructive path; either intentionally or otherwise. I want to share with you, the 3 factors in the way of your fulfillment and happiness in life. Older, wiser, lighter; beyond these, you take what is thrown at you and move on. And then, you know you have reached that ever-elusive “good place”.


GROWING OLDER

It’s not like we really have a choice with growing older. What matters is how we adjust to life beyond each birthday celebration. Age automatically comes with experience. No matter how inattentive you are, you cannot avoid naturally absorbing life’s lessons along your way. The learning may not always be active, but your inherent sense of self-preservation and desire for progress, will plant a passive lesson or two in your heart and mind. Embrace your new ages. It’s a stripe of honour. And never feel like you are leaving your best years behind. The concept of “best years” is subjective. I loved my 20s because; I discovered myself, spent time abroad, got my first job and became financially independent. Exciting, wasn’t it? But then I entered my 30s, became a family man, a busier professional, got less sleep and generally became more socially connected at a more serious level. Add that to my trimming down of close friends, and one might assume I must be missing my 20s. But there has never been a single day in my 30s that I have looked back on my 20s with longing. These are the best years of my life, until better ones come along, of course. It’s all subjective, entirely how you choose to see your life.


BECOMING WISER

Is not wisdom found among the aged? Does not long life bring understanding?” – Job 12:12 (NIV)

It does, and it is unavoidable. The choice of accepting wisdom and gaining understanding, rests entirely with you. Wisdom comes to you everyday. If only you will think deeper about your experiences, you will find the wisdom in them quite noteworthy for your future. One of the more prominent barriers to gaining wisdom, is our desire not to move on from the past, and the childish things therein. It’s painful, I know. It’s painful because the bosom of immaturity is very comfortable, very safe, a hide-out from the realities of advancing years. For some, they are left with little choice. At least, until fate and discomfort bring wisdom and forced maturity their way. But there are those who unfortunately, have never been under pressure to grow up, or even if they have been, have never felt pressure to make it happen. For those ones, we can only pray for. But the fundamental point is that, age and longer life bring wisdom and understanding one’s way. It is unavoidable. Deciding to use it, however, is optional.


MAKING YOURSELF LIGHTER

This should come easy, but it always doesn’t work out like that. Why do I say so? As you add on burdens in life, there comes the point of the natural weigh-down, where it becomes too much, and you can barely carry it all. The trick in a truly happy and fulfilled life, is learning how to let go. Every experience – whether negative or positive – is an extra burden on your life. We must shed the load from time to time. That is the only way we can maintain long term sanity in the face of adversity. But unfortunately, not all of us get this. We would rather carry all our burdens by ourselves, and brood into depression. Look at the lives we live:

The friends we no longer speak to; the ex-lovers we now hate; the family members we avoid; the playground grudges we still bear; the colleagues we rat-race with for promotions; the schoolmates we envy; all these are burdens, we need to shed. We are overweight. Overweight with negative energy. The effort required to shed your burdens have to be conscious. You have to purpose in your heart to find true happiness today, by confronting your past one last time, before finally dropping and burying it. Make yourself agile again. For the sake of your own progress; in your faith, your career, your family life. Only you can start the process of making yourself lighter. Learn to let go. Forgive yourself and forgive the people that made life the way it is. After all, stone is heavy and sand a burden, but a fool’s provocation is heavier than both (Proverbs 27:3).

Only then, can we say you have truly grown.

2016: The Ugly Process

Today is the last day of 2016. It is a general perception that 2016 screwed the world over. A string of shocking anti-establishment and abnormal happenings had the planet sitting on edge all year. But there is a school of thought which says that 2016 was a good jolt for a planet that was finding too much comfort in the success of its liberalisation efforts. Now that we are all awake – liberals and all – what happens with this new experience? Time will reveal everything, wouldn’t it?

2016 was a tumultuous year for many. I wasn’t spared the chaos. I can confidently say that I faced the most difficult time of my career in 2016. It also happens that I had the fewest hours of sleep in 2016, than any other year I have been alive. I am very sure of that fact. In the midst of this super stress, I needed to put in even more family time, which was the most critical of all. A few days ago, I was lying in bed counting the costs and effects of 2016, and how my life is looking like as we close the year. I came to one conclusion: I won! But why is it so hard to celebrate? The answer lies in the scars and memories of battle. In war, the victorious side may celebrate in the open, but weep in private when they count their costs. The costs taint the joy. The costs cloud your inner desire to skip about like a kid in the park.

Should I lose all memory of everything that happened from 2nd January 2016 to 30th December 2016, this would easily have been one of the most exciting and progressive years of my adult life. The tough memories that exist from 2nd January 2016 to 30th December 2016, are what I refer to as “the ugly process”. We stand, we fight, we win. But the scars and stripes stay in mind and body for so long, that we fail to fully appreciate the enormity of what we have just overcome. The ugly process, is the necessary process, for ensuring we face the future like the battle-hardened warriors we have become.

As we step into 2017, it is important for each of us to let go the ugly process of surviving and growing in 2016, and embrace the ugly process of winning in 2017. It doesn’t have to get easier. Ease is an enemy of the truly remarkable achievements ahead of us in life. Instead of ease, we can choose to become tougher, harder, fiercer, wiser, faster. Embrace the scars and stripes. God is on our side.

long-walk