Life on the streets: some days I had the most spectacular views. Sunset and sunrise - never a day the same. Birds by the hundreds waking me up with the promise of a brand new day.
Some days the road was hard and uninviting. There were also days I just could not get myself to walk the road called life. This was simply because I knew that the valley of empty promises was lurking ahead. Obnoxious security personnel. Moody fellow homeless people, testing me no end. Shop owners verbally abusing us to the point where I just switched off.
But it is here on the pavements that I also met the most beautiful souls. People with a story to tell. We were blessed with rain and it washed away the funny smell that lingers on the streets.
The road had it ups and downs. Some days were so hot you could not walk barefoot. Some days were slippery from the rain. We walked in search of taps, we searched for toilets. A legacy of broken shoes is what most of us will leave behind in 2018, and with the new we will enter 2019.
What I have realised and learned is: nobody can walk your path. It is set out for you. Nobody can make you happy. You need to find that within yourself. It is a state of being. Nobody can sort out the load you must carry. Only you know what you will need for life's journey.
People will drop you along the way. They do not have the same destinations. Enjoy the here and now. Leave them with positive impressions about yourself. Be real. Promises, commitment and friendships can be as false as a violin out of tune.
Your life does not depend on the permission of others - you don't need validation. There will be those who envy you and they will roll rocks in your path. Be yourself, no matter what.
In nature you find edible and poisonous plants thriving next to each other. The trick is to learn who is who. There is no such thing as ugly people. Some may just dress funny.
Listen to the wisdom of the elderly and learn. No person has the right to make you feel like a second-class citizen.
No matter what gets said, final judgement is reserved for our maker. We’ve come too far to still have emotional breakdowns about the things people say about us. If you know yourself you will not pay attention to this. Read. One can travel the world by just reading a book. May you have all the health, love and happiness your heart can handle in 2019.
* Danny Oosthuizen is the #TheDignityProject ambassador. In his weekly daily column for the Cape Argus, he tackles the struggles homeless people face. Connect with Danny on Facebook and on Twitter @masekind3213 or via email: [email protected]
** The views expressed here are not necessarily those of Independent Newspapers.