Every year we say how the “year has just flown.” But every year it does, even more so than the year prior. I’m still amazed that it is just a few short days to Christmas, and haven’t really given too much thought processing the happenings of 2010.
Here’s some of what was significant for me during the year that has flown.
- Becoming the proud owner of a morph suit. This blue, full body piece of awesomeness gets you the most amazing reactions from people. We’ve been the favourites at Loftus, Soccer World Cup games, and even Christmas parties. Here’s a snap of us catching some airtime on DSTV.
- Buying and renovating a house. In a short few months, you’re able to become an expert on everything from types of toilets to paint colour palettes. It was probably the biggest single learning experience for me, jammed into a very short period of time. From learning the best ways to bargain and negotiate with contractors, to managing a timeline, and coming to expect that being let down is often part of the process. It has also been incredibly rewarding to live in a space that you’ve dedicated a lot of time towards.
- Facilitating a winter school for 90 learners from Zimisele School in Springs. Through the relationship I still have with the team and tutors at Penguin Tutoring, the inspiration and passion that I saw in these learners, who had taken time from their holidays to attend extra Maths and Accounting lessons, was incredible. It has also been so warming to see the benefits from a school that was sponsored as a beneficiary of the project out in Mpumalanga. Receiving a massive A1 Thank You card from the class for having put towards a new library was unlike any gift I have ever received.
- Attending the Soccer World Cup and being in South Africa to experience the international hype and exposure surrounding the event. I was lucky enough to go to four of the games, and also watched a couple from the fan parks. The realisation of the nation in seeing itself deliver on such scale, with such precision and grace was epic. If South Africa gets put in a position where it has to deliver, on any odds, I believe we will be able to do it.
- Seeing the fruits of three years of research culminate in a product and a degree. What started as a lesson from a cardiothoracic surgeon on how the heart works, transformed into the development of a stented heart valve which I aim to continue developing such that it can benefit emerging market patients. Obtaining my doctorate, talking at TEDx and getting coverage on the radio and TV news were awesome – not so much for me, but for the potential number of sick people this valve can potentially help. The jury is still out on the meaning of a PhD to me, but I’m leaning towards the view that it’s a tool to inspire confidence and leadership in a field of choice.
- The importance of people and the things that are not said. I come off a very low base when it comes to EQ, and this year has made me realise the importance of really taking the time to listen and understand the people around me. A lot has happened in the emotional and friendship space that I guess could have been addressed better, had I been more aware. It will definitely be an area that I will continue to foster a better alignment with in the year ahead.
- Getting a taste of investment banking. Having started at RMB and being tasked with the challenge of deploying a knowledge management and new intranet framework, I moved to the Fixed Income, Currency and Commodities division from August. Being a part of a small team, we work amongst the myriad of other desks on the trading floor, with information streaming across all types of visual and audible interfaces around us. Structuring and selling inflation and credit linked products has been a rollercoaster of extreme proportions. Excitement lives in every day!
- Facing my fear of heights, head on. A particular event made me realise that sometimes people can’t shirt their fears. That there is an element of interconnectedness between the anxiety that plays out in everybody’s minds each day. This inspired me to bungee at a friend’s bachelors party off the Soweto Towers in a 100m bungee. Sweaty palms, more!
- Meeting new people and appreciating fun. I remember a day when my mom asked me if I was going out on Saturday night. I said quite honestly that I’d prefer to stay home and do Calculus (Srsly, who does that!). Now I get to work and have fun with some of the smartest and wildest people I’ve ever met.
- On a similar point, appreciating people and appreciating life. The year had its share of scares, diagnoses and people passing. I’ve come to appreciate that if it’s your unlucky spin of the wheel, then that’s what it is. Disease and accidents are not very far away. I’ve tried to live without regret of days gone by. I have enjoyed the simple pleasures of a morning run, a walk in the park, time with my dogs, shooting the breeze, or even just watching the moon on a clear evening, with such zest.
Here’s looking forward to the challenges, the triumphs, the energy and the enthusiasm that I know 2011 holds.