AJS South Africa


It’s beginning to feel a little bit festive (again).

Happy Holidays everyone!

There’s something about this time of year. 

No matter your religion, your beliefs, where you are or who you are, the festive thrill of the season is infectious. It uplifts you. And it’s not hard to understand why – with the twinkling lights, delicious treats, family time and promises of rest and fun, we all get a little caught up in it all. 

This year especially, feels as if somehow, we have returned to a state of normality. It feels as if somehow everything is possible again. Perhaps even the arrival of Santa and his reindeers one of these nights… 

Adults and children alike are all feeling a little hint of joviality as we look around us and see beautiful festive lights gracing shopping centres and streetlamps. We have all seen the glint in the eyes of passers-by as they take in the red, green, and white, the jolly décor and people laughing. It’s as if we have all woken up from an exceptionally long, horrible dream. Eager to get up, get moving and get back into the world of the merry again.

It doesn’t help that one of our team members has just been to Lapland – the “home of Santa” – where she saw the Northern Lights, went on a reindeer sled, frolicked around with huskies, and visited Santa. She has us all hooked on everything snow related, and festive holidays inclined. 

It has us all giddy with the promise of tomorrow. That there are no limits, anything can happen. That we can act like children again – young and carefree as we await magic and the impossible. 

We know how we sound – hopelessly cliched. 

But you must admit that a small part of you is looking at this holiday season slightly differently… because it’s kind of feeling a little bit festive (again).

The Polar Express – an icon of the festive season

Isn’t it funny how every festive season there are a couple of “classics” that pop up. For a lot of us, it started as children when we would watch A Christmas Carol or Scrooged (even if we were under-age and watched most of it from under the covers) with gusto or read our favourite festive story until our eyes burned. Of course – The Polar Express comes to mind. 

A novel (and now a movie) many of us would read with wonder, especially with the words – 

“Seeing Is Believing, But, Sometimes, The Most Real Things in The World Are the Things We Can’t See.”

Could it be, that that line was in fact, true? All this time…

The Polar Express is a story that we can all relate to. Why? Because it has themes of –

Ø  Believing in magic – the impossible.

Ø  The power of believing in oneself, and

Ø  That life is better when it’s shared with family and friends.

While we can appreciate the above, the Polar Express means something a little different to us. It may sound obvious, but The Polar Express is a train (albeit a magical one).

One that is on a journey (Destination – the North Pole).

That journey is thwart with unknowns and occurrences we had no idea would happen. It’s a journey that many of us akin to life. In general. Life is, after all, a journey undertaken without assurances that anything will go the way we hope it will. Often, our best laid plans fail.

Because life requires us to live each day with a little faith. Believing that all will be ok in the end. That all will work out. Not entirely different from saying “Seeing Is Believing, But, Sometimes, The Most Real Things in The World Are the Things We Can’t See.”

But this festive season feels like there is a little sparkle of the “things that we cannot see” working their magic around us. For all intents and purposes, the world has defaulted back to a state of normalcy. 

Families are seemingly making plans to get together over the holidays, feeling free to celebrate the goodness around them in a way that mimics family get togethers of the past. Full of holly, joy, and lots of food. 

There doesn’t seem to be the guilt that the last two years has been laden with. There isn’t the pain and the remorse that a lot of us have felt. At least, not on the surface. 

Somehow slowly but surely, things are settling down. Thankfully.

Travel has opened-up, resembling a pre-pandemic “normal”, allowing loved ones from around the world to once again embrace after years of separation. Masks are no longer mandatory wherever you roam – allowing us to “laugh out loud” – showing off our happiness.

The world feels like it’s slowly recovering, and we are here for it.

Every journey has stops along the way

While we acknowledge that there’s a kind of magic, mystery and folly in the air, the adult in all of us (the realist) cautions against irresponsible frivolity. Because as we have established, while magical and wonderous, The Polar Express is all about a journey. 

Knowing that on this journey there will, inevitably, be many stops along the way.

That’s just the nature of a journey. 

There are a couple of things that creeped up (unwillingly) while writing this article. Giving us pause. You see, some of the pebbles in our jolly shoes put a pause on our merriment and instead caused us to take heed.

The dreaded Covid swear word

While countries around the world are doing their utmost to “live with Covid” Mainland China reported 31,000 Covid infections on 23 November 2022. This resulted in severe lockdown restrictions – yet again – and severe Covid policies which forced people into quarantine camps. 

This caused mass civil unrest where landmark protests erupted around the country. But that had a surprising result. The protests convinced officials to do away with the most severe Covid policies and instead embrace policies similar to other countries around the world.  Finally.

The message here? Let’s not all get too comfortable with the current status quo. While we are all “so-over” this whole Covid ordeal, it seems that it’s still rearing its hideous head around the corners that we least expect.

This isn’t a dooms-day speech. We promise you. Rather it’s a gentle reminder that while we are all moving on with things, travelling to destinations we could only dream about during lockdown, there are still 109 countries around the world that still have travel restrictions and Covid protocol’s in place (you can read more on those countries here). 

Let’s not become complacent. 

Let’s not allow our lives to once again, become ruled by Covid.

Progression must continue

There is absolutely no denying (according to WeForum) that – 

“Almost overnight, the COVID-19 pandemic triggered increased dependence on digital technologies, which played a crucial role in helping firms weather the worst of the shock.”

Something that we have spoken about (numerously) in 2021 and 2022 – the rapid adoption of tech. With pride, mind you. Why? Because we have been at the forefront of this adoption, helping numerous law firms and sole practicing legal practitioners adopt legal tech into their practice’s. And this tech has resulted in the betterment of their practice. Something we have not only advocated for but wholeheartedly support. 

Because legal tech enables law firms to practice more efficiently, effectively, eliminating mistakes and errors with the added benefit of providing better value to clients. While simultaneously allowing the overworked lawyer to take a breather every now and again, knowing that everything is taken care of. 

But we must not become complacent. 

With the rapid adoption of technology furthering the advancement of businesses worldwide, we mustn’t sit on our haunches believing that there’s nothing further for us to do. 

Yes, it takes time and money to remain on top of the tech game in any business. But not doing so, can also cost a fortune – just think back to the time when you didn’t have sufficient tech to manage your business from home. Especially when lockdown hit. It was disastrous. And could have been prevented. Which brings to mind the saying about learning from your mistakes –

“Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.” – George Santayana

And that’s a good point. 

The point really being – let’s not become complacent with anything we do in 2023. 

We have come so far and endured too much.

Such a “Debbie-Downer”. We Know. 

With that cautionary tale done, the Ghost of Christmas Past has left the building and we can now return to this festive season’s magic and The Polar Express – North Pole bound, of course.

Are you getting on board?

– Written by Alicia Koch on behalf of AJS

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