I wasn’t planning to post anything on Christmas Eve. But I’m in Myanmar (Burma) on my holidays, and the extreme jet lag and that this post has been buzzing around in my head for the last 3 days got the better of me.
The undeveloped world
We are in a beautiful part of the world which, for the last 40 years, has been a very difficult place to live. Myanmar has been under military rule under various guises from 1962 to 2010, and in the process has become one of the least developed nations in the world. It has reminded me how lucky we are to be citizens of the West, where simple democracy and freedom of speech are taken for granted. Even our jobs, our economy, we take for granted. How our military, and our police force are there to protect us, not rule over us. Our rights, we take for granted. We live in a place where poverty is in ‘developed world’ terms. It will never mean poverty like the word means here. There is a lot to be thankful for.
I know I am lucky, everyone reading this is lucky, to be living and working in the developed world as we do. It is easy to forget in a world where the reminders are far away.
Gifts you can give
In an era where you can order something, almost anything, online, and have it delivered the next day, it is time and time alone, which remains the most valuable gift we can give to another person. Time is the only thing that we have not found, and will never find, a way to replace. Once given, you can never get it back.
Gifts are given for the joy of the giver, not just the receiver.
A few years back I arrived in New York after travelling around the states, I was 22, I’d just graduated and I was super excited about the last leg of the trip. I couldn’t believe it when a friend of mine, Dorthe Struer, managed to land an apartment from a colleague of hers on 48th street, overlooking the Hudson, where the QE2 docks in. It was beautiful. My friend stayed a few days, and then gave me the keys. But then it hit me, New York wasn’t the same without her. People are what make your life great.
Take a moment
This Christmas, in the middle of the noise, the crackers, and the cake, remember to look around you. The people with you. Their presence is your present, even if not everyone could be there for all of the time. The dinner table, the Christmas tree, its perfect imperfections, all wouldn’t work without them. Your home, no matter how untidy, is your home, your safe space, where you rest. There is a lot to be thankful for.
Thank you for travelling with us this last year. This year my colleagues have been brave enough to start sharing some of their articles on this site, thanks to them for their help in making it our best year yet. I hope this, my gift to you, has made you feel good. Feeling good will get you, and those around you, though. Hold onto it. Thank you for reading, posting, sharing these pages.
Most of all, thank you for giving me the joy of giving. It is an honour that there are so many readers of this site every month. Your numbers move me. Thank you and see you in 2016. Rana & Co.