Today happens to be the first Friday of January, and therefore the scheduled date for the distribution of my monthly letter. Earlier in the week, I was quite undecided whether to disturb you on the New Years Day or to send you my Friday-with-Firdosh a week later on January 8. However, over the past week I have received a generous number of personal e-mails and communications via social media, including YouTube and Tik-Tok; all messages filled with good wishes for good health, happiness, peace, goodwill, love and laughter in 2021. In addition, there have been some inspirational ones and a couple of them stood out as mind-changing, and for this reason I have decided to write a short note on this New Years holiday.
Last month, I had referred to 2020 as Annus Horribilis. This Latin phrase meaning "horrible year" was in all probability a perfect way to sum up 2020. But now, an uplifting message to NOT hate 2020 has made me sit up and realize some important things. The author of this mindful message reminds us all that to hate 2020 would also mean that we’d be letting go of some of the crucial lessons that the past year has taught us. Besides having learned patience and empathy, the most crucial lesson of them all, has been living with minimalism.
Albeit there have been tragedies in staggering numbers and of a magnitude beyond our imagination and long may we remember the trials and tribulation, of occasions of seeming madness, and other times of total lunacy. Yet, we have also learned so much; to empathise with grieving families; to willingly sacrifice time and energy for the needy, no matter what our other priorities might be; to minimize our lives by realizing that we really don't need so much to survive, and to adapt like never before. All this from an unlikely teacher - 2020!
The author is emphatic that life will not suddenly change on January 1st, nor will all of our problems and our heartaches disappear just because we've entered a new year. She cautions against forming a mental smoke screen because it’s 2021, and therefore happy times are here once again for us to enjoy. Instead, she would much prefer that we look back at 2020 with gratitude and with respect, for the crucial life lessons learned and moving forward, focus on what we have rather than what we don’t have.
As we step into a new year, hopeful for an end to the pandemic and looking forward to life returning to normal, I would be remiss if I did not acknowledge the love, support and kind-heartedness of so many people. My thanks to my work colleagues and my friends for their words and actions of reinforcement when I needed it most. A big thank you to Zoom, MS Team and Skype for all the virtual get-togethers that have kept our sanity intact. I wish to thank the owner of Victours and Victor Travel for her steadfast determination to continue operations in the face of more than a few adversities. I am indebted to my friend and business associate who, in spite of her health challenges during this year, continues to expertly guide me when my penmanship stalls with writer’s block and helps with timely edits. My heartfelt thanks to my graphic designer who helps with the most creative layouts that appeal to our readers. And above all, I want to sincerely thank each and every one of my travel agents, clients, suppliers, hoteliers, game-lodges & luxury camps, transporters, drivers and guides from around the world. You chose to stick with us during the rough times and for that we are indebted to you for your support, patience, perseverance and your optimistic outlook of the future to come.
Last but not least, I will remain eternally grateful to my wife and our sons for their unwavering love and support during this 10-month, and on-going business drought. I definitely would not have made it thus far without you.
Here’s wishing you all a bright, healthy, fulfilling and happy New Year 2021.
In the words of Taylor Swift: “This is a new year. A new beginning. And things will change.” We certainly hope so...and for the better!
Until next time.