18th July 2018 was like no ordinary day in my life. It was different in all its aspects. Just last week, I finally joined the 20s band wagon after what seemed to be an eternity in my teenage years. For once in my 20 years of life on earth, I felt the need to celebrate.
I celebrate myself. I celebrate my ups, downs and plateaus. I appreciate that as I turn 20, I am still not where I had projected to be but, at least somewhere in that direction. I also cherish myself because I am somewhere better than where I was last. I have acted atrociously and probably deserve eternity in hell as a punishment. I have also said unrefined words that have made me look like an uncultured boy. I have not been as romantic as I needed to be at times, neither been too supportive when I was required to be. Unfortunately, I haven’t also grown a beard, any taller, or shorter, lighter, or darker as I would also have wanted to be.
I have however, continue to breathe and be healthy. I have increased in knowledge and understanding, efficiency and output. I have learnt to observe, to say I’m sorry and to be present. I can express myself better, I’m much more romantic, more loveable and I even have a girlfriend. Instead of a beard I have longer hair, fairer skin and a utopian height. I have much more reason to celebrate that would not fit in a blog post.
As I reflect on that passed phase of life, I wish to jot down a few key observations that I will (and you should) take into consideration as you continue with this journey:-
- Life is what we make it to be, not what we found it to be – it is a reflection of yourself. If you are a grumpy person, life will be grumpy to you. If you are a charming chap, then life will be charming towards you as well. You define how you want to view life, life does not define you. By life I mean, all aspects of life; from people, the elements, to luck, daily experiences etc. This why the man from the East will wake up agonising that “life is unfair”, while the man in the West sings merry songs in the shower.
- Do not worry, instead, get yourself out of the mess. I can tell you what you do when you fuck up. You make a blunder in the morning and spend the rest of the day (and probably the whole week) sulking over it. We often spend a lot of time worrying instead of looking for solutions out of our worry. I kid you not getting yourself out of a sticky situation is better than being in that situation.
- Appreciate process, SGR wasn’t built in a day. You think that soon after you graduate from school you will get a nice job that will pay you 50k a month, with the provision of a raise after 15 months. You think that you can leap frog from having no car to driving a 3.6 litre VW Touareg. You want to be Nicki Minaj before being Msupa S. You want to be the best without going through the painful learning process. Well, unless you live in a dream, wake up and get to work!
- Fear will paralyse your life. If you look through the lenses of fear, success seems to be many hundreds of thousands of light years away. My grandfather (who is also the inventor of these world renown words) once said to me that “on the other side of fear lies success.” Fear kills your vibe and your confidence. It inhibits you from becoming who you are meant to be. It tells you that you cannot make it because someone else tried and they failed, it says do not try because you might be wrong. It basically drains the life out of you. To be afraid is part of our lives, without it nobody would ever get out of their comfort zone. If you do not get out of your comfort zone, the world will leave you behind, because survival is for the best fit. Do what you are therefore afraid to do, for confidence is built when you do what you are afraid to do.
- Communication will save your skin. If you want to be in control of what people will perceive of you, communicate. You know you will get to work late? Call your boss and inform him. You will not have finished a task on time? Inform your team. You’ve found out that you are pregnant? Call whoever. You will find that this will save you a lot of lies and useless explanations that come with keeping things for yourself.
- Be consistent in all your undertaking. Starting something new is exciting. Doing it repeatedly over a period of time is the less exciting part – unless your playing Call of Duty on Xbox. If I may use my example, I noticed that the more I blog posts I wrote and published, the more the traffic that I got coming to my site. The more you sharpen your knife, the sharper it becomes. The more you smoke, the greater the chances of lung cancer – and hence death, contributing voluntarily to a less congested world. I am saying, if you start riding, ride til’ you die, for you will die a skilled rider who has travelled the world and seen many things.
- Trust only yourself. Everyone is driven by their own self interests. Don’t be fooled, your brother will sacrifice you to save his life on the right hand, while your best friend will sleep with your girlfriend on the left. A secret is only a secret when it is within a single person. If you open your mouth to your friend, then the information is well in the public domain. Say what you must, and keep what you mustn’t.
- Everyone is always right, even when they are wrong. Older folk have this problem, a frustrating reality that I have had to bear with. There are also these know-it-alls who have a very high opinion of themselves such that according to them, anything they say is true. Even when you correct them, they will still find a way to twist it around so that you come second.
- Kiss ass until you get what you want. When you want something, go get and all it’s relatives. Persist to prevail, to win. People have been kissing ass, the variant being the time. Most people don’t kiss ass as long as they are required to. Say you desperately need money for your girlfriend’s birthday present. You have no one else to call apart from your mom. Unfortunately, for the past 20 years you have borrowed money from her, she declined your request. However, you overcome your fear and decide to call her up. Well done. Like any other time, she says she doesn’t have any, despite her Sportpesa jackpot win last week. You try to convince her about 3 more times but she maintains that she has no money. You get sad and just stare at your phone wondering what to do. Then, an email notification comes up that reads, “okagwe.com has a new post.” You choose not to ignore it so you open it. You find this post and you start scheming through it. Somehow, it speaks to you so you start reading it. You read this post and you get hope. You call your mom again, and she is amazed by your persistence. She sends you the money on mpesa, including ya kutoa. Oliver is a genius. If you had instead said, “Ah, amekuwa nini huyu?! Anataka nimbembeleze? Siwezi mimi!” , your girlfriend would be mad and your situation right now would be more messy.
- Finally, have your facts right and be humble chap! Arrogance will humiliate you. Don’t go displaying your stupidity to everyone taking about the moon and how much water it has. Better be the silent one who knows his craft. Only allow yourself to be in the spotlight when you really have to be. Only then should you shine, but shine in humility.
With these little nuggets of wisdom, go forth and live a happy life.