Every year, at this time, I write about resolutions that we all try to make looking into the coming reboot of our calendar. It’s a time of self pledges that, in our minds, will make us become better. Whether its weight loss, vices, or personal self-improvement; the New Year offers us an imaginary “clean slate”. Let me give a different take inspired by a recent event.
Christmas Eve Day
Peace on earth and goodwill to men, right? I was driving back from the gym and saw a man walking on the side of the road. He had a security uniform on and was sweating even in this cool winter weather of 25 (Celsius). This is unusual for people to be walking here in the desert, but I don’t always stop. I thought to myself, this is Christmas…if I don’t help now when would I?! I pulled over and motioned to the man to jump into the Jeep. Looking thankful, with a smile, he was more than happy to.
“Thank you”, exclaimed the man!
As we drove, he looked around my car. It is a 2012, 4-door jeep; so nothing fancy. “Sir, you have a beautiful car…can I ask what you do?” This happens a lot, as there are a lot of ex-pat laborers here and no matter where you are…even in locker-rooms, they ask what you do. I work with new “start-up” companies I explained. “What do you do”? I asked. “I am a Security Guard” the man replied.
“Where are you from”? he questions further.
Chicago…and you”? I politely asked.
Proudly, my passenger answers “Cameroon”.
I thought to myself… wow; I have never met anyone from Cameroon!
Without hesitation the passenger directs back to the car. “How do you get a car like this”? Taken back a little, and thinking of a correct reply to have some meaning, I thought for a second. It’s Christmas, and meant to be of things from the heart, not from the Apple store. These men come from all over the world and leave their families behind. They work for wages that they could never make at home and send usually half of what they make, or more back to home country. They are usually gone for up to 3 years at a time and usually live in male dormitories. It can’t be easy for these guys.
My answer “Like you, I work hard…but more importantly…I NEVER give up”!
A big smile came to the face of my new friend. With a nod, he slaps my hand and says “yes…NEVER give up”!
We came to his destination and parted. I began to think of what just happened and my mind went to this past year. I had lost at least two friends from illness (something that starts to happen in life when you are over 50). On the other extreme, I have two projects doing great. I have been dedicated to my last year’s resolution of being in the gym, which on many days, looking at some of the people my age, is a privilege. I live in a beautiful country abroad with a tremendous lifestyle. In short, I took stock of what I have from health, family (both parents are still alive), and opportunities.
So this brings me to our traditional New Year’s resolution ritual. Like my passenger, let me offer something that will have some meaning.
If you want to lose or gain weight, realize that in most cases you are in control. With that being said, there are many people who can’t read this, that wish they had to worry about this. With wars, refugees, droughts (and the list goes on) these seem like small issues. The best part is that you are blessed with the opportunity to try.
If you want to spend less and save or make more money; again you have the chance. I think you are getting the idea now.
So my New Year’s resolution is to stop and smell the roses a little more. That is something that we are all blessed with…that’s the chance to make a new year’s list. This is something that many can’t!
Let’s cherish 2016 and let me wish a Happy New Year to all!