The Star (Nairobi)

Kenya: Happy New Year 2013

Finally, the year 2012 came to a close this Monday. It was a year fraught with many challenges as well as opportunities. For that special person who is fortunate enough to be celebrating her birthday this weekend, happy birthday and happy new year as well. The song 'Malaika'- Miriam Makeba's version- would be a great dedication.

I travelled upcountry for the Christmas celebrations, and I must confess, I'm feeling energised and more rejuvenated. Heck, I even listened to some of my favorite songs. Who would have thought that I could have sat down and listened to a whole 15 minutes of the rhumba song 'Fabris', or listen to Dolly Parton sounds so conspicuously echoing in the background?

In the 10 days I was away from the concrete jungle that is Nairobi, I became one with nature. Traversing large swathes of Rift Valley, the hills as well as the valleys, the beauty that is the Rift Valley landscape was simply enchanting. It is then that one begins to appreciate the beauty of the land Kenya. I won't promise that I will be this happy, sunny and outward looking person throughout the year. It is only when the tough times- as they do in every person's life- come that I will know whether mine has been wishful thinking or a plain resolve to remain happy regardless of the circumstances.

When it comes to setting new year resolutions, I long abandoned that practice. I realise it's setting myself up for failure. So, instead, I will just choose a few areas that I wish to concentrate on this year. Peter Bregman, in an article he penned recently, seems to agree with me. He says, "Instead of identifying goals, consider identifying 'areas of focus'. A goal defines an outcome you want to achieve; an area of focus establishes activities you want to spend your time doing. A goal is a result; an area of focus is a path. A goal points to a future you intend to reach; an area of focus settles you into the present." In other words, if we focus on the tasks instead of the outcome, we will achieve our goals on time, and enjoy the journey too. Happy new year 2013 to you all.

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