By Ngosa Chibuye Muyatwa
It is the 27th of December, 2023 and like clockwork, the year is coming to an end. It is raining here in Zambia, Southern Africa as it usually does during the festive period and it has been a year of ups and downs as any other year.
What was going on around me this year?
The cost of living in Zambia continues to be high as we saw the Kwacha to Dollar rate continue to rise and it is about K25 to 1 USD, as of today. The price of fuel also left us trembling as it was adjusted upwards, at the beginning of each month. We are familiar with this type of adversity, but, phew!!!!, adulting is getting harder and harder.
What did I do in 2023?
It is very easy to fall into the habit of looking at my life and thinking I have not done anything of value or purpose. But, for the first time in a long time, I was able to keep a journal and write in it, consistently and when I flip through it, it makes me see that, it wasn’t a bad year at all. In January 2023, my family and I moved from Kitwe to Lusaka and apart from having my sisters within the same town, I had no idea how I would make friends and had so many anxieties and fears. However, I was able to make friends, and acquaintances and even found a bible believing church near home.
I went on a retreat with Africana woman Visionaries and what a life-changing experience!
I found an unexpected and welcoming running community and I have run many races. My first half-marathon this year with strangers turned friends and not alone, as I usually do. I did a 5km run and the obstacles were challenging but it was such a rush of adrenaline and so much fun, hope to do it in 2024 as well.
In the latter part of the year, I joined a gym and got myself a trainer, something my muscles are still adjusting to. I also set up a Facebook page documenting my running/fitness journey and selling sportswear apparel, something I am still developing.
I have always written a story or two and I have been an avid reader. In 2023, I joined 2 more book clubs and I now belong to 3 book clubs, one in Kitwe and 2 in Lusaka. This has pushed me to read more and more out of my comfort zone and I have not managed to meet my challenge of reading 50 books in the year, but I am glad I read 30 books of different genres. You can follow my reading journey on good reads. Here.
I also became a blog contributor and my stories can be read on the Africana Woman Blog.
What did I struggle with in 2023?
My major struggle has been mental and emotional. I have been running on a mixture of positive thinking, prayer, worry and adrenaline.
After moving towns, I decided to set up another branch of our business and it did not go so well, we did not get as many clients as we needed, enough to pay our teachers. So we let it run for a month and left it, to concentrate on the online part of it.
I don’t know if there is a lesson in there yet, maybe we set it up too soon, or maybe the location was not right I have yet to figure it out. I am glad I dared to set up a new location though, it was challenging but because I had made friends in a new place, it was not as hard as I envisioned it.
Our fears are usually bigger in our heads than in real life.
After leaving work in 2018 and raising 2 young children. I am ready to get back into the workforce, but 2023 has seen me drop plenty of applications and not get any positive responses even though I have been positive for the earlier part of the year, the end of the year has seen me reflect and I have felt hopeless and helpless. I keep praying and asking God what his plans are for me career-wise.
It is okay if you don’t get all your answers immediately.
I struggled with Saying NO and courageous communication this year. I got a job interview and agreed to a salary that was way less than what I wanted. Call it desperation after not working for a while, but after sitting down with myself and talking to several accountability partners, from the Africana woman visionaries. I got the courage to go back to my would-be employer and renegotiate my conditions and my salary. She was not pleased and I lost the job before I could even get it. Honestly, I was sad about the missed opportunity and income, but I was proud of myself for speaking out and putting myself and my needs first. It is OK to receive a No.
What I will do differently in 2024
I will continue to run, read, write and network with like-minded people just as I did in 2023.
I will continue to plan my days as I tend to have a lot of time on hand, as a stay-at-home mum which can easily be wasted away. I will continue to date myself and spend solo dates with myself and with friends just as I did in 2023.
I will also set goals for each month, with the help of Africana Woman Visionaries. This kept me in check and I was able to achieve most of the goals I set up for each month.
I journaled a lot in 2023 and on days when I was downcast, reading back and seeing how God had been faithful and how everything turned out well, kept me going. I will do more of this in 2024.
I was able to meet the financial (Invested more, saved more), spiritual, health and relationship goals I had set in 2023 and I attribute this to drawing a vision board and also setting smart goals. There is power in writing things down!
Ngosa is an Educator, an avid reader, a runner and a mom. She documents her fitness journey on Facebook: Tales of a Zambian Running Girl/Mother.
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Edited by Bwalya M Mphuka
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