There’s a saying I grew up hearing whenever I left home to play, travel, or anything at all, my mother would always say Sè Jëjë o (I’m sure I am butchering the spelling with the accents) meaning be gentle or go softly. It was her way of acknowledging the abject carelessness of a child at play, making allowances for it but also asking me to be mindful of others and myself. It is a saying I hear today after every phone call.

It’s the new year, on the heels of a most trying year, however we want to cut it, and I bid you, sè jëjë o. Life is most fragile as we have come to learn in the past twelve months so allow yourself to go sofly, sofly (another Naija speak). Be kind to yourself, be merciful, make room for things to grow and fester, do not forget the year we have just hand more than anything do not forget the kindness and goodness all around you. Allow yourself get reacquainted, or acquainted as the case may be, with the unfamiliar, acknowledge the way we as humans grow and wither away only to re-emerge again because the state of life is temporary. In its beauty, its growth, its state of being, all is subject to change.

Allow yourself to be soft and let the goodness around you make an impression, an imprint on you so the marks do not fade away. Be vulnerable especially in the state we find ourselves in today; a world slowly fading back inside void of the outside and its beauty. Find the beauty within, please try. Life happens in symmetry so for every darkness there is light, for every bad there is good. Seek the light and the good in yourself and in whatever situation we find ourselves in. Do no let the small voices of obsession drown out your better angels (to paraphrase Tobi on the West Wing). Be kind to yourself. Please, please remember that above all else. And be about your business, the year, regardless of what goes on in it, is yours for the making.

Happy New Year.