My giant leap of faith in 2017

Procrastination. It’s never been my thing.  As a journalist, I have always been driven by deadlines. Get the story now, or someone else will get it. That was ingrained in my mind. No second thoughts. It helped when I changed my career this year and took up a position as a journalism lecturer. Everything worked according to deadlines. Assessments, assignments, tests and examinations had to be completed and marked on or before time. My performance and that of my students depended on it.
But in December, the sense of urgency that deadlines bring fell away. I did set deadlines. I didn’t meet my deadlines. I procrastinated. I procrastinated about writing this very post. Perhaps because it meant acknowledging my underlying fear.
Fear? Why?
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I took that jump this year. To me, it was a giant leap of faith, faith in God’s plan for me and faith in my ability to write my own destiny.
Let me set the record straight. I left the SABC not because of the editorial issues or messy financial situation. I left the SABC because I knew in my heart that the time had come for me to do something different. For fifteen years, the SABC was my cocoon. I started working at the SABC while I was still studying journalism and went on to become permanently employed. I loved it. I learnt and experienced so much, professionally and personally. During my time at the SABC, I got married and had a child. I literally grew up in front of my colleagues and editors whom I have utmost admiration and respect for.
PhotoGrid_1500100839221.pngThe SABC was not just my foundation. The SABC is my family. You develop a strong bond with people when you spend erratic hours working together, travelling long distances and working in different locations. It’s a bond that does not break.
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Even with the many problems that have plagued the public broadcaster, it is an amazing place for any journalist. The standards of journalism are set higher every day by dedicated teams across the country who touch lives with unique stories. That, no one can take away from the SABC.
In mid-July this year, the time had come to leave my cocoon. And I developed my wings to fly out of the SABC. Yes, I did leave a part of me behind. But, I carried so much more with me.
It was daunting to enter the world of lecturing. My foundation was strong so that helped settle my nerves. And I loved it too. I cannot truly describe how it feels to be grooming a new generation of journalists and sharing what I have learnt. It’s exciting and challenging. It pushes me to learn more and see things from their perspective. To say it’s been an eye-opening experience is an understatement. My students motivate me. Their desire to learn, their ability to dream big and their hard work under difficult circumstances has touched my heart.
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Yes, I am getting to the part where I start crying. For their major broadcast journalism assignment, students had to compile an audio/video documentary. One of the groups compiled an audio documentary on the Fees Must Fall movement, after carefully paying attention to the various elements taught in class and added their own touches. The piece started off with students chanting the national anthem and this was sustained throughout the piece, interspersed with the voices of students on the cost of tertiary education in South Africa. I was moved. I cried. My students had achieved what every good radio documentary should – and that is to evoke emotion. It was a documentary that, with a little tweaking, could have been aired on the SABC. I felt so proud at that moment. It made everything worthwhile.
A month later, I received this message.
“I just want to thank you for being a good lecturer to us. Thank you very much. Continue with your role of bringing such a high quality of experience to students of journalism.”
I knew, once again, that I had made the correct decision. It’s been refreshing to be part of the team at Rosebank College in Durban. No question is too silly to ask, and yes, I’ve had many questions! At every turn, there is a smile and show of support.
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And many of them have been supportive in another chapter that I embarked on. It’s the chapter that allows me to share my world with you. This blog.
My biggest blessing this year has been this blog. For years, my writing was stifled. This year, I wrote 22 blog posts in just six months. It’s not a lot by any standards. But, it’s a start. It’s better than not writing at all. Writing has given renewed meaning to my life. Writing is my happy place! I’ve written about my writing journey here, earlier this year.
“I write what I like” – inspired by Steve Biko
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My blog has allowed me to meet and engage with new people. I don’t have as many followers on my blog as I would like to, but I would never resort to buying followers. I love the feedback and engagement I have with my readers – real readers in real time. Facebook has helped me grow my blog tremendously. Oh yes! That’s been another different step I took this year – I finally joined Facebook.
I’m not someone who shares a lot on social media – and I’m by no way judging those who do. My favourite social media platform is Twitter. It’s where news breaks and develops. It gives you all the information you need as a journalist and lecturer, quicker than any other medium. So Twitter remains my favourite. But Facebook has advantages too. This year, it allowed me to re-connect with many primary and high school friends. We looked back and laughed about the many memories we shared. But, none were as special as this one.
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My friend Urisha Brijlal and I had stayed in touch for a while after school. But, as it often happens, I changed cellphones and lost her number. She reached out when she saw me on Facebook. She’s a doctor in Cape Town and during her visit to Durban in October, we met. It’s as if the gap of not seeing each other for 17 years never mattered. Sitting and catching up, I realised that we were indeed kindred souls. I’m so glad that I now have her in my tribe of special people who have walked this journey of 2017 with me. It’s a small tribe of family and friends who know how much they mean to me. And, we share life’s simple pleasures together.
 
Let’s get back to the deadlines… It’s really ticking away for the end of 2017. When I look back on the year, I never anticipated that so much would happen and so much would change. But, it did. And I embraced it. So, I’m going into 2018 with no expectations. I have grown spiritually this year. It’s come with the realisation that what you put out into the universe is what you will get back. That’s what I will continue doing. Happy 2018!
 
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6 thoughts on “My giant leap of faith in 2017

  1. Another fabulous blog, each with a unique, inspiring message.
    Thank u & well done Maya
    Onwards & Upwards in 2018….

  2. Maya!!!! lets take another leap of Faith as the year 2018 comes to play… Happy New year and “May all that we do and the way that we do it bring faith Joy and Glory to our hearts, today and everyday!!!” – Universal prayer

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