Temi is also on her own computer, and a guest will join us for a brief New Year holiday visit over the next few hours. It’s already 2010 in any country that is 8 or more hours ahead of UK time and there’s so much buzz online and offline – especially on TV – about the end of a year and the beginning of another. It’s actually the end of a decade and the most popular words – as I write this – online include new year, 2009, 2010, eve, resolution, fireworks, etc, and with a few sprinkles of terrorism, Woods and Limbaugh. 2009 is being reviewed and lists of almost anything concievable is being drawn up. And there are tons of wise words making their way across various social media platforms.
In the midst of all these, my mind goes back to the time Temi and I spent praying and discussing this morning. Not that that is an unusual act, but it was special as it marked the first time both of us would be having the usual year-end review as a couple. Each year, I spend the last few days – especially the final hours – reviewing efforts, activities and projected plans for the fading year and planning the emerging year. This year, it was much easier because I started earlier as I had to confirm what my 2010 calendar would look like before leaving Lagos for a well-deserved holiday – and because there were two good heads working on two busy calendars. My mind goes back to the early hours of today when Temi and I discussed the promises that the new decade brings with its arrival.
Speaking of promises, I have always believed that year-end transitions provide a natural opportunity for honest reviews and charting new opportunity paths. Those who are able to sieze the moment to set plans and strategies in place will have better control of what the new year brings, almost regardless of the sure surprises (some not so pleasant) that will come with the new year. The problem with plans is just that – they are plans. There are plans that remain on boards or walls all through the year until they will be replaced by a newer (or better decorated) plan. I do not refer to these; I refer to plans that are supported by a sense of mission, clear strategies towards action and proper checks that allow for evaluation.
It is however important to realise that plans do not exist in isolation. Every plan is subject to the risk of unplanned events or unpredictable circumstances that may wish to change the planned result of any endeavour. They may be anything from simple delays to family emergencies, national inactivity or even tragic acts of nature. While we may be unable to influence certain factors, we must remind ourselves of the fact that we are responsible for our eventual success or failure – and must not prepare blame sheets when we see signs of distress. And in many cases, we can actually fortify our sphere of influence so much that external circumstances have little (or no) effect on the eventual outcome.
As one who takes to the screen for relaxation, I am at this time drawn towards a poem made popular by the new movie that shares its name: Invictus. Written by William Henley in 1875, it was first published in 1888 in Henley’s Book of Verses, and I quote (with Wikipedia as my source) below:
Out of the night that covers me,
Black as the pit from pole to pole,
I thank whatever gods may be
For my unconquerable soul.
In the fell clutch of circumstance
I have not winced nor cried aloud.
Under the bludgeonings of chance
My head is bloody, but unbowed.
Beyond this place of wrath and tears
Looms but the Horror of the shade,
And yet the menace of the years
Finds and shall find me unafraid.
It matters not how strait the gate,
How charged with punishments the scroll,
I am the master of my fate:
I am the captain of my soul.
It’s 3 degrees celcius outside, but with deliberate effort (temperature regulation), we’re enjoying room temperature inside the house. In 2010, you have the opportunity to regulate the temperature of your sphere of influence almost regardless of the temperature just beyond your walls. You are the captain of your soul. Happy New Year!