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There are times when almost nothing seems to go right. the year 2013 was one of those. At times it felt like my arms had been cut off and the year was throwing nonstop punches. It felt worse than it actually was because this was a year I started with so many expectations.

The first few months were a blur. School felt like a Nazi Concentration camp, I had difficulty getting accommodation, there was no electricity or water for a few weeks, the room I was staying in was burgled, everything of value that I owned was stolen, and I went back to using a Blackberry. It was grueling. Then we had tests that I thought I was prepared for. Apparently I was not.

While the challenges of school went on, both my parents had health scares. My normal routine became even harder to manage. Smiling and laughing became difficult. When these things were happening I actually believed that I was being strong, holding it together. In retrospect, what I felt was a mix of fear and resignation, not strength.

After all that had happened, I was understandably relieved when ASUU announced that they were closing my school. I had expected it to be 2 weeks out of the rat race. A month, if they dragged it out for too long. If December ends before the strike does I’ll have been at home for 6 months. So far, it has been 5 months of stagnancy. 5 months of wondering where my life is headed, of being depressed because of how hopeless the situation seems at times.

Last year, because of a relatively free schedule, I took many long walks and spent hours reflecting on life and living. Being home throughout the latter half of this year, however, I have learnt that the disadvantages of excessiveness always manifest, even when we are doing something good. The introspection that used to elucidate has now left a haze (that I pray is not permanent) over parts of my faith and beliefs.

Of course, it wasn’t always terrible. This year I have met, spoken to and/or observed some very interesting people. I have also done more than just speaking with a few of them. My tolerance levels are higher now, I’m also a little more sociable.

I’m grateful for my family (especially my parents and grandparents and their health) and the people around me. Grateful for journey mercies throughout the year. Grateful for life.

Going into a new year, I want to put the difficulties and disappointments that marred this year aside and start anew. I could do with a good year and that is what I’m hoping for in 2014.

“Hope springs eternal in the human breast,

Man never is, but always to be blessed:

The soul, uneasy and confined from home,

Rests and expatiates in a life to come.”

– Alexander Pope.

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The quietness of this post… I think strength is what you described. Many times the ability to quietly look life in the eye while keenly feeling all it has to throw at you is enough strength in itself. Thank you for this, Mike. You are stronger than you think.

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