The Gregorian New Year is upon us; we are in the first days of 2018. We may be in the depths of a severe winter, but it is a time for good wishes and earnest prayers. That is why we celebrate the coming of the new year with extraordinary zeal. We look back on the days gone by and seek out our true selves that are capable of so many good things yet.

For many, it is about forgetting the past and looking towards the future with fresh dreams and aspirations. It is a time when we make new resolutions and brace ourselves for the challenges and excitements that await us. That is why as we bid farewell to one year and welcome the new, we become a little wild and tend to lose a bit of ourselves. In the spirit of hope and joy uncontained, we end up flinging curses and exchanging a few fists of fury. This happens every new year. We saw it happen last night and the night before last.

It is a chastening experience – to look in the mirror and to measure our worth against the opportunities forgone. That is why the new dawn of time is special. As significant as it is for us individually, it is for us collectively. What we could not be or achieve in the year that just went by, we must strive to accomplish in the year that is now upon us. For a society that is changing fast, coping with the speed of change can be dizzying. In the rush to get at something trivial and transient, we end up forgetting the main and the urgent that concerns the life of the nation.

This new year, we look at where we stand as a nation and look ahead with solemn sense of duty to oneself and the nation. Our young are increasingly becoming jobless and a burden to the economy. Even as reports tell us that we are becoming happier by the year, our farmers continue to be among the least happy group. What could have happened to the entire five years we dedicated to achieving urban well-being and rural prosperity? As a nation that has worked all these years to attain self-sufficiency, we are still intermittently threatened by price fluctuations of essential commodities across the border.

But our hearths must keep burning. As we celebrate Nyilo or the return of the sun this day, these are sobering reminders of the priorities we must get right.