Chop your L’s with Pride

The new year is right around the corner which means new year’s resolutions for most people. A time to start afresh. Commit to making better choices, trying new things and maybe even cutting out some undesirable people from your circle of influence. Whatever the case may be, this is usually a time best for reflection, introspection and preparation, I guess.  With this train of thought, I too have been reflecting on my past year. My 2018 was… interesting to say the least.

I tried new things, some good some bad. I made new friends and lost a few along the way. My country (Zimbabwe) started with a new government that was ushered in by a ‘not a coup process’. Naturally expectations were high or even unrealistic as it seems the country remains in the doldrums but hey, Rome wasn’t built in a day. We all remain hopeful that the country is heading in the right direction.

Back to Canada, I got more involved, both with Acadia and the Wolfville community to try being a more productive member of society (emphasis on the word try). I joined more clubs, talked to more people and volunteered more. In all this there were challenges, trying moments and stress but joyful, fulfilling and happy moments too.

I just wanted to do something that was different from my routine. But as usual nothing ever goes as planned. One important thing I learnt this year, was just how unstructured life is. Weird lesson to learn but a hard one to accept. I am an overthinker and to deal with this, I like to plan a lot. However, 2018 clearly had other plans for me because it felt like I showed 2018 my plans which it laughed at before proceeding to tell me the plans it had in store for me day by day.

When I first came to Acadia, my group of friends consisted mostly of Nigerians. I got introduced to Nigerian Pidgin or slang, which is basically broken English. Anyway, that is where I first heard the phrase “chop your L”. The phrase basically means to take your losses and usually used in a humorous context. Chop your L in silence was usually the phrase used when one of our friends was acting a fool. I always thought that it was a funny phrase- take your losses in silence.

I still find it funny, especially when I look at how many Ls I have had to take this year.  To name a few, I ran for one of the Councillor positions in the 2018 General Elections….and lost. It sucked, naturally. This was one L I took in silence but looking back, it added a new dimension to my world. A world of possibility and change. Something different.

I ran again for equity officer in the By-Elections because apparently, I didn’t learn the first time? Regardless I lost again, and it was another L I took, maybe not as silently as the first one. I got so fixated on this loss that I couldn’t see the small wins that came with it.

I wanted to go home (Zimbabwe) in the summer but as I said before 2018 was just not having it. Anyway, sometimes we take unnecessary Ls or better still, we perceive many events as losses. I guess in the heat of the moment, when all that’s playing in our head is the outcome we wanted, it becomes easy to focus on the negatives. A relationship gone bad, a failed test, or a missed opportunity? Its never easy but its not the end because hey it’s the end of the year and you’re still breathing. My mum always tells me that there’s always hope for the living and I believe her.

With each door that was slammed in my face, 2 more opened next to me. I just had to take a step back and look. It might not have been the door I originally planned on entering but I have no regret having stepped through it. Sometimes we become so rigid about what constitutes a win or a loss, but I think it’s not so black and white anymore.

As we enter the New Year, I want people to remember not to be so rigid with their goals and not to be so hard on themselves when they don’t reach their intended goals as originally planned. We should be cognizant of the fact that we are human, we make mistakes, we backtrack, we hurt, we win, we triumph also but most importantly we should learn lessons, forgive those who hurt us, and focus on striving. Be open to new ideas and new methods of achieving your goals. And with each loss you take in 2019, take it with pride. Always celebrate the small wins because hey, I took a lot of Ls this year but I definitely recorded some significant wins or better still I’m still thriving.

Embrace the New Year with hope, expectations and possibilities in mind.

Happy New Year!

Ruvimbo Z. Chipazi is a third year Psychology student and the Art & Culture Editor for The Athenaeum