Dancing to your own beat

I never used to think I was a judgmental person, but lately I have begun to realise that sometimes when I look at people around me, from strangers to close friends to old school mates that I bump into for the first time in years, I readily jump to conclusions about their characters and their lives, based on what I can see of them. I think, “Wow, I’m glad I’m not in that situation,” or, “Man, I wish my life was like that.” And that is not okay. It is like judging an artist’s music or character based on sensationalised stories you’ve read in the media.

Judgmental opinion brain

Image courtesy of Stuart Miles at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

In fact I have no idea whether they are content with their circumstances or not. They probably don’t want the same things I want from life or have the same goals I have. They probably wouldn’t miss the same things from their lives as I would. They don’t see themselves the way I see them, as failures or successes, because they are not measuring themselves against the same set of criteria for success. I have no right to make that call. They have made different choices to me, but that does not mean either of us is right or wrong, or that either of us have done the right or the wrong things. We are just different. The scope for acceptable and desirable lifestyles is relative and much wider than I once believed.

An attitude of gratitude

This time last year I contemplated 2014 as my first year without legs and I couldn’t see how I would make it through.

Maya Angelou quote on gratitude

Now I look back on the past twelve months and I can hardly believe everything I have achieved.

None of it would have been possible without the support and encouragement of my family, my friends (new and old), the kind and generous medical professionals at Groote Schuur Hospital, my volleyball team, my trainer Marco, the SADAG team, and my colleagues at Clickatell, Touch Digital and Estalea.

When I reviewed my 2014 New Year’s resolutions, the wonderful Lynn Moss gave me the great tip of focusing on one word for a resolution, to make it more meaningful and achievable. So over the next year I have just one resolution, centred on the word “gratitude”:

Take more time to stop and appreciate all that I have and all that I am.

Realising how fortunate we are does not solve everything, but knowing that our blessings outweigh our lack certainly makes a good start.

Maya Angelou quotes on Buzzfeed