This has been a bitter sweet year for me and my family. There are great lessons I take away from this year that I want to reflect on in this post.
- In 2015 my family and I had great experiences of walking the streets of Copenhagen and secretly whispering prayers that we will one day call that beautiful city home. It remains one of the most beautiful cities in the world, in my world anyway and I’m grateful I got a chance to walk its streets and experience the magic of its open spaces and beautiful gardens. One lesson I draw from our time in Denmark is not necessarily from our time there but from how we got there. I have already blogged about our short stint at living in Denmark here but I want to talk about how we got to be in Denmark in the first place. I received an email about a visiting fellowship but looking at the requirements I did not qualify. Our family finances where not in a state where we could afford to go as a family, which I needed us to I was still breastfeeding, despite the generous funding that the fellowship offered. I applied anyway and spent three weeks in one of the most beautiful countries in the world. Sometimes the odds seem to be against you but you gotta jump in anyway and see where the tide takes you. Don’t be too quick to disqualify yourself. Do not be hasty at accepting that rejection letter. Sometimes we just need to knock a little harder, wait just a few more minutes longer and the door will open.
2. My sister best described my father’s passing with these words from the Bible “Do you not know that a prince and a great man has fallen this day in Israel? 2 Samuel 3:38. There is so much I learned from saying goodbye to my father that I could talk about, but the biggest lesson I got was that its true; You never know what you have until its gone. I didn’t experience this truth in a negative sense but saying goodbye to my father in this life as we know it made me realise what a good father I had. I always knew he was good man and appreciated him and was always grateful I had him for a father. At his passing however this truth became even more obvious. As I listened to people speak at his funeral. As I stood next to my sister as she spoke and I spoke at his funeral I realised how much of who he was made me who I am. He raised strong, courageous and independent women. The lesson I have from all this, is the realisation of how much who I am matters to who my children are. Giving myself and my life and pursuing my dreams is so much more than a selfish pursuit but its defining a path and a life for who my children can and will be. Like I said here, I built my life out of his.
As I looked back at my father’s life I realised the choices he made, the life he lived made it possible for me to be where I am today. I am all the more resolved to live a life as full as possible because my children will reap the benefits and I will enjoy the adventure.
3. Lastly as 2015 came to a close I signed up for #acwrimo again after two failed attempts in previous years. Previously I have done all the cool #acwrimo things such as declaring my goals publicly, signing up on the google goal sheet etc, and tweeting and blogging about my progress as all the cool #acwrimo kids do. My 2015 #acwrimo goal was to finish off three thesis chapters that stood at 50% done. What has tripped me in previous years is the guilt of failing to reach my goals, failing to update my progress has previously sent me into a dark hole and away from my work and writing. I didn’t have a game plan of how to get over these hurdles this time round but I decided to give it another go anyway. I had many good moments like this one below,
— Dudu Ndlovu (@mandlods) November 13, 2015
After signing up for #acwrimo I got the opportunity to work on a research project which meant that the time I thought I would make lots of progress on my #acwrimo goals was now taken up by a full day of fieldwork. The guilt of yet again failing at #acwrimo pushed me to come up with ways of reaching my goals despite the hurdles. while previous years guilt has derailed all progress and sent me into a deep dark hole this year guilt pushed me to work harder than ever before. What is the lesson from all this, your response is everything and it doesn’t really matter what the world thinks, define your path and make changes as required but remember to keep the main thing, the main thing. I never got to blog about my progress during #acwrimo because I had little time to breathe between the fieldwork and writing. So I chose to drop the non-essentials and focus on the main goal. I didn’t reach all my #acwrimo goals but I made really great progress towards them. I was able to finish two chapters and received great feedback on the one from my supervisor. The third chapter now stands at 75% done. Writing is the main goal of #acwrimo and while I missed out on the social media interactions that make the process fun I am glad I have reason to #PhDance.
What 2015 has taught me is; determination, choices and focus make for a life worth living. Cheers to a bitter sweet year and may 2016 be the year that we sing!