What a mess! All around me it’s utter chaos. I am bemused as to how I allowed things to get to this stage. It’s incredible that in just nine months, I have been able to amass what surely must be the equivalent of a small forest worth of paper and a truckload of goods; exaggerated as this may sound. As I try to chart my way through this confusing maze of boxes and suitcases, I pause and linger a moment on the memories from old letters, analyse each of those endless marketing brochures and flip through dated magazines which I never found time to read. I realise they represent some of those things which have interested me in the past few months of my life in this new country United Kingdom.
I can’t spare a moment to fantasize. I have to get back to work cleaning out the flat. You see, having come to the end of my lease agreement, I have less than twenty four hours to vacate the flat I’ve lived in for most of this year. This upheaval is underscored by the fact that tomorrow is New Year’s Eve. Two things have therefore come to an end for me at the same time. As I study each piece of clothing and every piece of furniture that has been a part of my life in recent months, I find myself seriously weighing the need for me to box it up and move it to my new address. I’m relocating to a new city in the New Year, the tempo of which promises to be dramatically different from the blissful isolation and idyllic lifestyle of the British countryside to which I have become accustomed. I truly have enjoyed living here.
At the same time, I stand on the threshold of another year. As I am moving, in a sense, from the past into the future, it seems as if I am forced to look into my life and weigh my actions and inactions including the consequences, good and bad, which have followed as result of my decisions and indecisions. I conclude that I should definitely have gotten more out this year than I seem to have done. If I had the opportunity to live the past 12 months again, what would I do differently? As I try to figure out the answer to that question, I am brought back to reality by the loud chime of the microwave. I pause from my musings for a while and satisfy the hunger pangs with my usual mix and match of stuff whose nutritional value I’m currently not worried about. I’m slightly annoyed that I do not have the luxury of quietly sitting down and reflecting. I guess I’ll have to take whatever time I can get in between worrying if my post will get missing following my relocation and whether or not I need a removal van!
I’ve got lots of things to do … I look round in near despair at the piles of clothes which lie scattered around the room. I must give away some of them to charity. A redeeming thought it seems, but which ones? I delude myself into thinking that I’ve got sentimental reasons to hang onto everything. I have gone through a few clothing mistakes over the months. I probably wore some of these only a few times and then relegated them to the back of my wardrobe. I find that like most people, any length of time spent in one place is an unconscious invitation to acquire all kinds of bits and pieces. Human beings have a tendency to just keep grabbing and holding. Small wonder many of our lives are cluttered with relationships which lead no where, destructive habits which keep us in bondage and recurring patterns of broken promises and aborted dreams. I wish I could reach into myself and wipe away mistakes, heartaches and failures of my past. Sadly, no mortal has been able to master time in such a manner.
When faced with the finality of a situation, such as when confronted with death, man is unconsciously forced to attach the highest priority to those things which matter most to him. Faced with having to leave my flat in a few hours, I am forced to decide what I am taking with me and what inevitably must be thrown away or sent for recycling. Faced with the finality of this year, I ask myself what things I want to leave behind and what I hope to take forward into the future. At the end of the day, the choice is mine. Should I choose to continue to live with the clutter in and around me, then I have no one else to blame but myself. I think that one of the keys to living a dynamic life is to be vigilant enough to know when that prized item, hard earned qualification or long relationship has become irrelevant in the current scheme of things. I think the economists call it the point of diminishing returns. The idea is to either replace completely or immediately take steps to recycle, reinvent, refresh, reengineer, revive, rebuild, redesign, realign and somehow add a new spark of life to the dying embers of that flame that once burned brightly. The aged couples walking hand in hand in the cool evening breeze, looking with deep affection into each others eyes even after fifty years of marriage, will usually admit that they have found dynamic ways to keep their love alive despite the challenges. One can either accept the status quo or seek change both internally and externally.
In this new journey before me, I will need to make choices…
I will knock my finances into shape, spurning the advances of bright neon lights proclaiming the latest gadgets, cheap holidays and fashion accessories. Money must work for me and I will not allow it to become my taskmaster.
I will consult more with divinity and with humanity. I will listen more attentively. I will learn wisdom from the simple things and apply wisdom to the complex things.
I will attempt to discover what love really means for I cannot claim to have understood its intricacies. I have hurt and been hurt too many times.
In all the drama, as John C. Maxwell states, I will try to ‘fail forward’… I want to be happy … I choose to be happy.
In the mean time, I’ve got final bills to pay, accounts to close, post and deliveries to redirect and goodbyes to say. Time changes things. The old gives way to the new, the new runs its course, becomes old and the cycle begins again. I look out of the window and realise that the steel construction I can see was not here earlier in the year when I moved in. The old becomes the new. Very soon, it will dwarf my apartment block and its shiny new fittings will make my building look like something from a century long gone. Sadly, it will also block the warm sunshine which filtered through in the summer. Therein lies another lesson for me.
I know that there are things in my life which have posed (and still pose) a challenge to me. I however know with certainty that the God who says, “Behold, I will do a new thing; now it shall spring forth; shall ye not know it? I will even make a way in the wilderness, and rivers in the desert”, will do new and permanent things in my life on this new journey.