This is my first Medium article. I have been a user of Medium for some months now and have become increasingly inspired by all sorts of articles that it has quickly become one of my favourite platforms.

I used to start my day by reading Facebook drivel about a pelican eating a pigeon & bouncing between blogs of lifestyle & hobbies before kicking off avoiding my usual day’s tasks until I get home or to the bar. Which is great, but I couldn’t help feeling a little complacent. I felt that I knew I had a lot to show others, and more importantly show myself.

By reading more into what peers in my industry think and how they find inspiration, how others achieve a healthier mind, body & soul, young travellers spilling their growth and time on unfamiliar soil learning how to make their hair into dreadlocks, to general pieces of interest for me; I have not only been inspired into writing (my first ever) opinion piece, but also slowed down to have taken time to notice moments around me which I believe is important. More important than clocking over 50 likes on Instagram or having enough money to party 3+ times a week.

I now wake up with the ambition to be rejuvenated — believing I have purpose, drive & direction. And by doing something as crazy as writing for the first time, from someone not deemed a writer, to sharing it with the world, I am becoming this person.

Right, let’s kick it off…

At my make-shift desk, whilst visiting my folks for the holiday season, and before I take to my New Year’s challenges, I have been travelling between the major cities of SA (Cape Town, Joburg, Durban).

Each one special to me for one reason or another, saying my hellos & farewells to people and places in mostly drunken, festive fashion. But now as my hangover has passed and I’ve had more than 12 hours of blackout rest, I’d like to wish everyone well for the year ahead & share some valuable experiences/lessons I’ve come to realise & learn in the past weeks which I think is both very sad and exciting.

As it’s that time of year to embrace the new and forget the old, seek challenge & ditch grudges etc, I thought it may be cool & relative…

1. It is sad leaving the places & people you love:

I am venturing off on my new quest for ‘bigger things’ in a couple weeks (much like many of you with a new year beginning) and it has been very difficult for me to say goodbye to the warm, African soil & kind hearts of those places, friends, colleagues & family that makes SA my home (and always my home).

I have met up with old mates whom I’ve tested friendship for over a decade, yet still make me laugh. I have messaged people I have hurt to try brush issues aside & rather smile at fonder memories than lament painful ones. I’ve been on long road trips and stay overs surrounded by SA’s incredible summer-warm nature, with friends I’d preferably call brothers as we’ve always pushed each other to greater heights, yet pulled each other near when needed upon for many, many years. I’ve watched films with my family to only dose off thanks to mom’s gift of full bellies. Sold items that I cherished or relied upon. I’ve even been tapped on the shoulder by old acquaintances/partial friends to say ‘hi & best wishes’, and I have a couple more personal days with personal dear ones to look forward to…

These are hard things to leave, and rightly so. We live in a beautiful place, and we have beautiful people.

2. It is even sadder to never leave these places & people:

Even though it is difficult, it is worse not to leave these places, things & people. Leaving opens other doors to experiences which fulfil your heart & soul.

For some years now I have truly believed that even though SA is always going to be my home, and Durban was where I grew from a boy to a man; I am a child of the world — the whole world — and I intend to live it, cherish it, and give & take everything to & from it I can.

As great as sitting on a couch hungover, phasing my Sunday over with hours of mindless reality shows about sisters going around being famous for the sake of being famous, it’s a load of bullshit.

I want to swim in every ocean, live in the biggest cities, travel the quietest towns, work in every agency & experience all cultures I can. This sadly comes at a cost, but the gift you receive from it is so important as you’re spirit reaches a higher deity with each challenge it over comes and experiences.

3. It is the most saddest leaving places & people and never returning to feel the nostalgic love & smiles of those:

This is last and perhaps most important lesson/step/whatever. As important and sad it is to pursue oneself and take on the next wall ahead of you (which comes with all its micro-challenges along the way) it is the most complete feeling to return to the ones/places who made who you are, every step of the way, once in a while to feel and give back.

This reflection period which only takes place with a grasp of an old, familiar hand, is what makes us human, creates an inner peace knowing no matter how far your path has stretched, that the path always leads home, and reminds you into recognising the person you were then, to who you are now.That what you are today, this second, is because of these very supportive, loving & incredible people/places.

So make time to appreciate who you are and who you aim to be, by appreciating these things that made you so…

And with that!!

To all those who I have shared beers, stories & memories with, I love you, I hope you have an amazing year ahead of challenge, love & happiness.

I will definitely find you again.

Happy new year & look out for more posts!


Author Valentine Mick

Ad man and basic fuckwit

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