Welcoming 2017: Life is more than meets the eye

Anisa Fathima
Resident Editor

Dec 31: When 2016 started, I obviously had no idea what it had in store for me. Just like I have no idea what the year 2017 would hold. But now, standing on the threshold of yet another year of this miracle called life, I can say this much - every year teaches us a beautiful lesson, which we may realize or not, learn from or not, every year leads us to somewhere we have not been before or inspires us to try something new, every year leaves us with things to do and missions to accomplish, every year makes us hope for a brighter tomorrow.

For me, personally, the year 2016 was one of revelations. Full of suprises, struggles, and victories. Of moments that made me realize my inner strength, of moments where I was face to face with an 'avatar' of myself I never knew existed. Of moments of despair followed by hours of peace and contentment. Of moments when doubts whispered louder than conviction, yet, where my inner voice was the loudest of all. There were epiphanies of epic proportions, triumphs outdoing all other past victories, and now, at the end of it all, I find myself at a point where life has indeed become greater than all the petty everyday dilemmas of human existence.

I know I sound like a preacher, or like someone who has discovered the ultimate panachea for all worldly ills. I am neither. But believe me when I say this - the world is urgently in need of sanity. Or at least some semblance of sanity. We live in a virtual world where trolls are on a roll, where one random phrase is dissected into a thousand imaginary and extreme assumptions, where millions of people waste valuable hours of their lives abusing and debating over a celebrity baby's name they have no connection with, where patriotism is decided by the brand of mobile phone one owns, a world where human tragedy has been reduced to a Facebook post. With social media compressing the world into a so-called global village, even our minds seem to have compressed. We simply refuse to see what does not gel well with our own set of doctrines. We let ourselves be indoctrinated by anyone with a mike and a camera. All we need to do is take a moment, stand back, breathe, and analyse with an open mind. And if we disagree, to articulate our disagreement without resorting to abuse or personal attacks. Unfortunately though, jumping to conclusions has become the nation's favourite sport.

We need to realize that life is much more than our busy routines and definitely more than social media posts and forwards. Your life is about what you are doing with it, not about what others are doing with theirs. While you toil hard for a living (because, of course, you need money to fill your stomach and stay healthy), do not forget to make time for yourself and your family, and help out someone in distress. Life is about exploring, of learning new things, getting to know yourself and discovering, or rediscovering, the artist, the writer, the poet, the musician, the singer, the adventurer inside you. You may not be the best out there, but it is not about that at all. It is about being the best you can be, and giving the best you can give, of being in competition with no one but yourself. Sometimes the best may not be enough, but the important thing is knowing that it was still your best. Once in a while, let go of inhibitions, let go of the fear that holds you back. Years later when you reminisce, let 2017 (or any other) be the year that defined you.

I spent nearly half the year 2016 in and out of hospital, going through something I had never even imagined, sharing (for a few days, four times), the ICU space with patients who were barely conscious. I saw young people die in adjacent beds, families mourning for their dear departed, elderly patients grieving over the absence of their children, aged women looking after their young grandsons. I considered myself blessed, just because I was alive, mentally alert, and had my family around. When I finally emerged out of the storm, with a whole new life and a very different perspective, I began to give serious thought to exploring myself. While work continues to take priority, I also realized there are several other things that need to be prioritized alongside. I discovered new hobbies and new interests. I crafted and created stuff, went on walks and gave health the importance it deserved. I even began to skate, something I loved doing as a kid. Consequently, now when I come across trolls and nonsensical posts on Facebook or elsewhere, I don't give a damn and I definitely do not let myself be provoked, simply because there are more important things to do in life. I have learnt not to argue for argument's sake, for there is no point in indulging in something that leads nowhere, and instead only leaves you flustered and wishing you had said this or that. I am aware that many may not agree with my point of view, but that's okay. We need to allow dissent and discussion, for there are always two sides, or more, to every story and every line of argument. The world is not black and white, neither are the things that happen here.

So here's a parting thought as we welcome the new year. The world may not be a great place right now, but it is the only place we have. We cannot escape from the millions of problems and tragedies that happen every day, we cannot wish away things we don't like. But what we can do is make this world a little brighter and better, by being better versions of ourselves. By watching our words, our actions and our thoughts. By being quick to forgive and seek forgiveness. The past year may not have been the best, nor will the coming year be so. That said, no year is perfect, but with all its imperfections, we can still lead a perfectly happy life if we wish to.

So let go of the past, be grateful for the lessons it taught, and have a blessed 2017.


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Comment on this article

  • anita britto, Mangalore/Auckland

    Sun, Jan 08 2017

    Wishing you a Very Happy & Healthy 2017, Anisa.

    Enjoyed your thought-provoking article which was full of revelations – thanks for sharing your personal experiences, the wisdom you acquired over this year which had more than its share of trials and your positive attitude while dealing with tough moments so philosophically. Am sure, each of us who have read your article could glean several nuggets of wisdom. I am amazed at the several themes you have explored in a roughly 1000 word article and the direction you have pointed us towards nudging us gently into becoming better versions of ourselves.

    As you rightly pointed out, Life isn’t about the big things but the little things – Never taking for granted the miracle called Life, the need to continue to fan the flames of inspiration that urges us to try out something new, the realization of the inner strength that each of us possess but fail to recognize while we rise to face challenging moments that life throws.

    “Being the best you can be” – Supercool Idea to live with – just allowing the zen of creativity to blossom whether as a sculptor, a gardener, an adventurer or a Triathlete makes every cell in my body feel awake and alive. While there can only be one Usain Bolt or one Michael Phelps or one Anderson Cooper, there’s nothing stopping each of us to explore our interests and passion and strive to do the best that our mind, body and soul permits us to.

    I strongly believe what you said about the chain effect that good deeds have – they might seem invisible but they sure do leave a trail that is imprinted on the hearts of others. And as my favourite Meryl Streep said “The great gift of human beings is that we have the power of empathy”.

    As you said in your last paragraph, rather than being paralysed by the enormity of things which need to be fixed, we can make the world a better place – with tiny steps in the right direction – reaching out to one person at a time – by choosing the better option to be the better person. And never forgetting what a privilege it is to be alive – to breathe, to think and chase the things you love, to realize that with all Life’s ups and downs, we need to trust ourselves and our instincts and never lose that sense of wonder and mystery that the child in us experiences.

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  • LucyRodrigues, Moodubelle/Andheri

    Fri, Jan 06 2017

    Thanks a lot for your great article. Keep it up.God bless you.

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  • Dr.Anand and Geeta Pereira, Mangalore/Sakleshpur

    Mon, Jan 02 2017

    Thank you Anisa for reminding us that we have but one Planet to live on and that is Mother Earth. We need to make the best of everything and live life with zest and fusion, no matter what the trials and tribulations are.You have brought forward a very relevant message for 2017 ...To work hard and to take time out for family.

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  • Max and Jessie Rasquinha, Mangalore, Houston/Dallas, Texas

    Mon, Jan 02 2017

    Dear Anisa Fatima, many thanks for your kind article in preparation of welcoming the New Year 2017.

    Firstly, we were thinking about for many months, and someow we missed you during our visit to Daiji World complex during November, 2016. We are happy to note that you are feeling well now after your hospitalization. We know exactly what you mean when your recollect your stay in the hospital and witness other's agonies and pains, and even deaths. It is scary but it is all within the realm of our life.

    Our best wishes to you. Keep up the good work. When we visit Mungalooru next time we shall certainly make an effort to see you.

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  • Antony D'Cunha, Permude/Muscat

    Sun, Jan 01 2017

    Well written article.

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  • Rita, Germany

    Sun, Jan 01 2017

    Dear Anisa ,great article.when you see a glas with half filled with water ,be happy that it is still half full.There are persons who always working in hospitals see more pains and heartaches of others too are made of blood and muscles should see each day ,think how they would bear this.Many break on this,like our jawans on front.Still they do for our country,for mankind.Each day praise God for a new day,new year,for His Grace.Happy New year to you and to all Daiji world .

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  • John B. Monteirob, Bondel Mangalore

    Sat, Dec 31 2016

    Dear Anisa:A very positive message from what was apparently bouts of physical, mental and emotional depression and despair. Stay triumphant in the position you have now hoisted yourself into. Our best wishes are with you for 2017 and beyond. I can sense a cheerful smile on your face. Happy New Year and all the best - you deserve and earned.

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  • Orine , Mangalore

    Sat, Dec 31 2016

    Hi Anisa
    Excellent Piece of writing. Amazingly positive, down- to-earth, realistic! Could awaken a dead soul who read it. Hope to read more from you in 2017. Have a good year. God bless!

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  • marol, udupi

    Sat, Dec 31 2016

    Thank God from the bottom of one’s heart for the graces and blessing obtained throughout the year 2016. Ask pardon for one’s short coming and pray for the destruction of the satanic influence on oneself and fill oneself with God’s love.

    The love of God is boundless “Aagape”. A little bit of God’s love can work wonders on oneself and all around.

    From birth to death the primary aspect of oneself should be experiencing and filling oneself with the love of God. Then the rest will fall in line by itself. “FALL IN LOVE WITH GOD MORE AND MORE THROUGHOUT THE COMING YEAR 2017”. God is great. Praise God. Behold the blessings of the benevolent God. Thank you and God bless each and every one of us.

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  • Antony Cony D Souza, Karkala/Qatar

    Sat, Dec 31 2016

    Hai Anisa, enjoyed piece of your strong writing. The style invited me till the end with enthusiasm.

    By fight you have set many things right won over many admirers too as a great over comer from health to social point of view.

    Objectivity always matters nor any body will fail to admit it. I express my sincere appreciation and expect great writing coming! Wishing you a very constructive and a Joyful New Year.

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  • Elwyn Goveas, Valencia

    Sat, Dec 31 2016

    This year believe in yourself
    And achieve everything you deserve

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