After George Orwell made it the setting of his classic dystopian science fiction novel of the same name “1984” was always destined to be a great year. By the time 1984 rolled around most of Orwell’s prophecies and warnings about omnipresent government surveillance, and public manipulation in the form of ‘Big Brother’ and the totalitarian state hadn’t quite been fulfilled. These prophecies would come eerily true much later in post 9/11 America as exemplified by the NSA surveillance scandal. Regardless 1984 was still a pretty special year. Steve Jobs introduced the world to The Mac for the first time. The first Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle comic also went on sale in 1984, and somewhere in Sub-Saharan Africa at the Mbuya Nehanda Maternity Hospital in Harare, Zimbabwe yours truly made a boisterous entry into the world. The world as we know it hasn’t been the same since.
In January this year I turned the big 30. It was rather a timid affair. There was no ‘turn up’ as the kids would say. It was however one of the rare birthdays over the last decade that I have actually spent with my immediate family. So in that regard it was pretty special. Outside of that I wasn’t in the greatest space at the time to fully appreciate and reflect on reaching this notable milestone in my life. I didn’t take the time out that I usually take come January 26 every other year to ponder on the lessons from the 365 days prior. Fast forward to almost three months later and I am compelled to do that even though my birthday has since long passed. In the last three months I have managed to pull myself out of that awkward space I was in when I turned 30. I have made a few positive changes to my life and continue working on improving myself as man with each passing day. Over the Easter holiday I finally used the opportunity to reflect on the year leading up to my 30th birthday and I have decided to share 30 of those lessons below. This list is made up of things I have gleamed from my personal experiences, whether online on social media or my day to day interactions or just within the pages of the books I have read and the music that has been the soundtrack to the year.
1. Once you have accepted your flaws. No one can use them against you.
2. If you want your friends and family to support you, give them actions not words. What you’ve done/are doing matters more than what you might do someday.
3. Conflict is a natural phenomenon. How you manage it reveals your maturity and wisdom. Maturity starts when you stop making excuses and start making changes.
4. Take it from a Writer. Words. They fall short. So if you must love. Love more in action than in words. Show it more than you say it.
5. Twitter is breaking and covering news before television. New (social) media is the ultimate influencer. TV, Radio and Print cannot keep up.
6. A lot of missed calls are “Missed” calls.
7. Before you begrudge someone their successes, acquaint yourself with their struggles. You don’t know the price they had to pay. Nothing’s free. Every “overnight success” you will ever meet had a thousand nights of hustle and hard work no one else saw.
8. Some people are walking diaries. Incognito to the eye, obvious to the discerning ear and irresistible to the curious mind.
9. Your insecurities. There’s nothing wrong with them. They’re yours. It’s when you inflict them on someone else that they become a problem.
10. Writing things down helps. I don’t know why. But it just helps in the manifestation process.
11. Takes a second to look. And a long time to see.
12. Apologies are like 1% of the actual work of repair in the grand scheme of things. Being sorry cannot be captured by words, it’s all in deed. ‘Sorry’ has supplanted the need to do the actual inner work which diminishes the chances of one screwing up in the future. Personally I don’t need apologies. I would rather people do better moving forward. However the former tends to occur more than the latter.
13. “Vasocongestion” is the medical term for “blue balls. Long story…
14. I belong everywhere and nowhere at all. Understand many worlds, but the only place I fit in perfectly is within my own skin. I am Zimbabwean But I still call Australia home. I like that.
15. Zimbabweans who stayed home whilst the rest of us scurried of to the Diaspora are some of the most innovative entrepreneurs on Earth because they can ‘make a plan’ in any circumstances.
16. Saving your good writing for a book is like saving your good running for the marathon: if it’s not a habit now, it won’t be there later. Teju Cole taught me that.
17. Lewis Hamilton’s breathtaking ability to produce that ‘special’ one-off lap on Saturday afternoons will continue to be one of his greatest strengths
18. Life is a language we will never be fluent in. But that shouldn’t stop us from learning it even with all the mistakes it may come with.
19. Most people underestimate how erotic it is to be understood. To be understood is so much more fulfilling than to be ‘loved’.
20. We feel so strongly about hypocrisy because we are all inherently hypocritical. Even our reaction to hypocrisy is disingenuously hypocritical.
21. Miley Cyrus music sounds so much better on the radio when you are not distracted by her antics in videos.
22. Positive and motivated happy people have challenges too. They just choose to focus on the solutions and have a positive outlook on life.
23. Words are all I’m left to play with when all else around me fails.
24. Your passion is what sets you apart. Embrace that passion and you will see changes not only for yourself, but to those around you as well.
25. Authenticity is effortless. Everything else takes acting and vigilance.
26. Don’t apologise for who you are, even the parts that make other people uncomfortable. Live your truth. Never be ashamed or frightened of your truth. Whatever it takes, you must find the courage to tell it. I think it’s intoxicating when somebody is so unapologetically who they are.
27. ‘Knowing how to be solitary is central to the art of loving’ when we can be alone, we can be with others without using them as an escape’. Thank you for that reminder Bell Hooks. Sometimes you need to be alone to reflect on life. Take time out to take care of yourself. It’s the best time you will ever spend.
28. Cognitive dissonance is the act of coming up with bullshit rationalisations for one’s irrational choices. Just in case you were wondering …
29. To hope that someone will do it for you, is to deny yourself the true magnificence of being you
30. The comments sections of most websites are such a cynical place.