Four years ago, inspired by a group of friends, I started choosing a word to live by instead of setting New Year’s Resolutions. I am not sure if they were too ambitious or fickle, but the resolutions rarely worked for me. Hence why I think the route I have chosen is brilliant. The idea behind having a word or theme or sentence is that it is broad enough not to be prescriptive and inhibitive thus allowing room for interpretation and reapplication in different areas of my life. It is essentially something to live by. It is my intangible compass or guide for the year.
The words that I have chosen for this year is Health and in my home language of isiZulu, it is Impilo. The beauty of my home language is that one word can have different meanings when used in different contexts. Impilo is one of those words. It has two meanings – Health and Life. It took me a while to get to these words – Health / Impilo.
Unlike the past 3 years, I started the year with no word. I knew I could not carry over the word from 2020. It had served its purpose.
You see, as much as I loved the words, I had chosen for 2018, 2019 and 2020, they were inspired by something I lacked or believed needed improvement – be it from my work or my life in general.2021 needed something fundamentally different. It needed to be more meaningful and kinder. A word that was so intentional, that I wouldnot question why I chose it in the first place. So, on the 7th of January, when a friend sent me a message asking what my word for the year was, I responded with “I don’t know”. I honestly did not know. I finally understand why some people donot give their babies names for days or weeks after birth, because they need to be 100% sure.
I lost a very close Aunt of mine on the 3rd of January 2021 to Covid-19. Her death hit me hard. At her memorial service, my cousin, her son delivered the most beautiful eulogy. He took us through the life she lived and reminded us that my Aunt always chose health and life. She was a nurse by profession, and she specialised as a mid-wife. In her early 40’s, she had a terrible car accident when she was pregnant with her youngest daughter. She fought to survive and chose life for herself and unborn daughter. She lost the use of her right arm and instead of giving up, she taught herself to write with her left hand, and she continued working as a nurse until she reached her retirement age. In her 89 years on earth, she always chose health, she always chose life.
A few weeks after her death, the word Health popped into my head and it stuck. At first, I thought it was a cheesy choice because… well, Corona. I did not want the word to be a ‘reactive’ one. But I then asked myself why not? Why not choose health? Because in health there is life. I am choosing to live a healthier life – by taking better care of my physical and mental well-being. I want to have healthier relationships – with my family, friends and business associates. I want a healthier business. I want healthier finances and I want to be healthier in my spiritual practice. As I was writing this, I noted that I had already started taking the necessary steps to live a healthier life.
Inspired by the life lived by my Aunt Kate. “Dear 2021, ngikhetha impilo.” Because by choosing health, I choose life.
Nokwazi Z Mzobe, Founder of Matoyana Media