I came across a fleet of cars as I was taking a walk in Kagarama, Kicukiro a few days ago. People were many and they all looked sad. I could sense grief in their murmurs and stares. Someone had passed on and they had come to pay their last respects, as I came to learn. A young woman; a wife and mother of four beautiful children had succumbed to an illness and just like that, she had died and left behind people she cared for and a family that needed her. The year was ending. Did she know she was going to die? Probably not. She could have had plans for the next year, and the years ahead. Like most of us, she could have hoped for a larger life ahead of her, not knowing that she was never going to make it past 2021. Death. So ordinary, yet very hard to get used to. Every time I learn of someone’s passing, it reminds me of how easy we at times take life for granted. It also makes me reflect on my life; on my present choices and whether I am living life the way I should. We ought to make more time for family and being more present in life in the midst of chasing our dreams. Photos/net. As we enter the New Year, what should be our priorities? How should we live life to the fullest and not live for the sake of it? In order to live 2022 differently from all her past years, Shona Kayitare says her priorities need to be clear and charted. “I have always lived randomly, leaving most of my choices to chance but this has to change. Without a clear direction, it is very hard to get to the next level,” she says. Emmanuel Kigenyi, a lawyer says the New Year always comes with lots of hope for most people, believing for bigger changes in their lives. And even though things don’t always happen the way we plan for them to, looking forward to new beginnings is always refreshing, he says. He points to the need to spare time to enjoy ourselves even in the midst of chasing our dreams. “Goals are great but these shouldn’t continuously consume our lives. We should remember living; this is going to be my focus this coming year. It’s so easy to be blinded by the challenges of getting ahead and achieving in life, but I am going to make it a choice to be present in life; to be there for the people I love- my family, my friends and loved ones.” I am going to be intentional with my life, says Ketia Murungi, a businesswoman. She plans to seek and live out her intended purpose for life. And because of this, Murungi says to deepen her relationship with the Lord. “God has always come first in my life, but of late, my relationship with Him has grown even deeper. It’s awesome. But as I live and still hold this precious gift of life, I want to know Him more and live with gratitude,” she says. Being alive is not a guarantee. Appreciating the gift of life is brilliant and what’s even more pleasing, is to cherish and make the most of this blessing.