Things that matter

Episode 4 – Keep On Keeping On

Mama Odhiambo, my primary school mate has been selling vegetables by the road side since we were young kids. She is a widow and mother of four boys. I like to think we went to a descent primary school, and I know for a fact that Odhiambo went to one of the best secondary schools in this country. He is currently well settled in his career as an accountant, and when you hear money does wonders to a not so appealing face, Odhiambo has turned out to be one dashing young man.

I passed by the road where mama Odiambo sold her vegetables. She was still there, chopping some sukuma as she made small talk with her customers. In amazement, I decided to ask how she did it. How she had managed to raise four responsible and well doing men from a local vegetable kibanda.

‘Consistency’ she answered.

Mama Odhiambo challenged me. She made me understand that I don’t have to be good at something; I just need to be passionate about it, passionate enough to do it again and again. Even when I don’t do it best until when I get it right. After all, experience is the best teacher. With time I am more likely to become better at whatever I am doing. I will build trust and expertise just by being consistent.

Mama Odhiambo taught me consistence beyond my feelings, to push my limits, because if the universe sees your struggle, it will in a way reward you for it.

Today I wish to share consistency. Dare to push yourself to get somewhere. Even when it doesn’t seem to work, keep pushing. You can try from different angles, but you cannot stop. Whatever you decide to do, keep moving, do not give up.

Things that matter

Episode 3 – You Are On Your Own

A day has never gone by without one person asking the other, ‘How are you?’ It’s a common question we all love to ask but which we are neither ready nor have the time to listen to its answer. Where I come from, the typical reply to this question is ‘I am good’. It’s not a serious question, so people escape its weight by simply stating they are good even when really, they aren’t. Imagine if one day you met someone by the roadside and you asked how they are and they went ahead to give you some genuine answers. ‘I am frustrated, no jobs out there’ ‘I am in debt, no clue how I will pay it off’, ‘I am heartbroken, he was cheating on me’ We all escape the weight of the question because we do not want the burden of bearing the truth, the burden of taking the extra mile for another person. It’s a waste of time, a complicated affair we like to call it.  But really, as humans, how are we? Are we really fair to the people who need our help but whom we give little attention? Are we human when we begin to roll our eyes as soon as someone tries to express their frustration or disappointment to us? Are we kind when we go to the extent of avoiding others because ‘we will never hear the end of it’? How are we doing? We are all in a place where we must adapt to self-dependence. To survive and not to be perceived as a bother, it has become safer to answer ‘I am good’ even when we really aren’t. No point in ranting about our problems to people who care little, no need to share your dreams with others who will only laugh or discourage you from exploring your options. Sometimes you must be good; you must stand on your own. But even as you do that, do not forget to ask, and put out an open ear to that person who may not survive on their own. We are not good.  
Things that matter

Episode 2 – Life is for Living

What if you died before you had a chance to live? And what if you live to achieve your desires, but do not have the time to enjoy the life? I am having a battle in my mind, whether to live now or to prepare for living tomorrow. My mother always taught me to save for tomorrow. ‘If you want a better tomorrow, you have to sacrifice today’ she said. To me this meant skip out on the road trips, live in a little rental space and wear cheaper clothes. It meant I save up so that later I may have a bigger house I don’t have to pay for, a vehicle strong enough for my road trips and as many fashionable clothes as I wanted. It meant working to leave behind something for my lineage, to leave a legacy. But what if I don’t see tomorrow? Our expiry date is unknown, there is no telling if tomorrow will come. How then do I sacrifice my today for tomorrow? My take; Life is for living. While we all want a better tomorrow, we must not forget to live fully for today. You know you have a balanced life when you can invest for tomorrow while not compromising on the quality of life today. It’s important that we understand best to teach each other how to live a wholesome life rather than a life full of self set targets and deadlines. We have to know more of love, laughter and of friendships, of giving and of genuine appreciation. We have to invest in people, family and friends more than we do in property and material things. When I am long gone, I want to leave behind a people who know how to live, people who know how to take in the good air and appreciate life. Because when tomorrow doesn’t come, we can only live for today.        
Things that matter

Episode 1 – The Things That Matter

I couldn’t help but notice how fast my niece adapted to the world when she was born. In fact just few hours after her birth, instructions were already being given on how she should be handled so that she grows to become an independent being. Her mother was instructed not to keep holding her in her arms because the baby would become so dependent on her that it won’t be able to survive on its own. My sister from the get go had to learn to let go of her daughter, put her down after feeding or cleaning so that the infant could learn to be on its own. It is the way we are all welcome to the world. It’s the way we have been raised to be. We live in a fast paced world, a world where everyone wants to become somebody, somebody important, respected and honored. Somebody who can afford to command their environment in their favor. The thugs who give us sleepless nights are in their own struggle to become somebody, the beggars in the streets as well as the richest man in the land. We are all chasing for standards we have only but set for ourselves. Because all we know is chasing dreams, and believe that we are on our own, we tend to forget what makes us human. Money has become more valuable than time spent with family or friends. We sacrifice our love for people for our love for wealth and our peace of mind for chaos as we struggle to own property. We have sacrificed our morals and the dignity of others in exchange for the status quo or just a mention among the rich and mighty. We have in fact forgotten the things that matter, the things that make us human. This series is a dedication to the human race, a reminder to all of us to slow down and take in the things that matter. Things that are greater than wealth, positions, status quo, clicks and anything else that we have placed before our unique being. They are the timeless things, things that cannot be valued and things that cannot be grabbed for selfish gains. The things that matter are like when a friend sacrifices and embarks on miles of safari to meet you in a strange land when they had the option of just sending you money. It is when a stranger donates their blood to you even when they have never met you. It is in the little things whose values cannot be placed. This is the journey of discovering ourselves a fresh and creating space for the things that really matter.    
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