Yesterday I had a dream that was almost like the dilemmas that were thrown at us when we were in Primary School. The way we would be asked what to do, say, you went to the garden with your sister, you then saw a lion roaming around, one that your sister didn’t see. You climb to the top of the nearest tree, a very tall tree, then you call your sibling. She manages to come. As she is climbing the tree to where you are, you see a snake on the next branch, uncoiling itself to your direction. Your sibling is here and the snake is here. The King of the jungle did not climb the tree but is seated silently right below where the two of you are.
I don’t remember how I would solve such a dilemma; neither do I want to solve it now. In those days, they were given to us as riddles. Or how would you solve this one? I’m interested to know.
What we were not told by our teachers is that we would face many situations in life that would put us in the middle of two best choices, or sometimes two bad choices. Real life riddles. Ones that you cannot wish away because the next step is determined by the choice you will make.
The thing with growing up is you were not even prepared. You found yourself being added to family meetings, to assist in making family decisions. Your opinion could influence certain decisions so you ought to think critically and comment wisely. Along the way, however, you manage to learn ways of living well with people either by mysteriously taking yourself out of some equations or finding real solutions.
The wisdom in staying still and wait for the right time to act, for instance, is highly underrated, but you will learn soon enough that timing is everything. There’s no perfect time for anything but there are moments when everything in you will tell you that this is a good moment to act on something. Be still and wait for those moments. You will thank yourself later.
People will die and you will feel truly sad. Sometimes, it’s the people you love. Recently, I was telling my friend that when I was young, I used to think that children do not die. How wrong I was. Childhood innocence. She laughed but put it in a good perspective that life and death are like fruits on a tree. The fruits will sprout in different days, some will wither off when they are very tiny, others will ripen up in due time and be plucked by us humans, while others will pass through all the growth stages until they eventually fall off on their own.
Do not underestimate the art of keeping in order the things that people do not see. Don’t assume that since they are not seen they will not be known. They might not be known but how you handle the things that are seen tells a lot about how you handle those that are not seen.
Living in the village is not synonymous to being poor. I’ve lived there and I can say we were not poor. Our parents did their best. Life simply placed us there while others lived in the city. If we see people living in the village; unless we can see that they struggle to acquire their basic needs, let’s trust that they are okay. We cannot all fit in the cities.
Sometimes I struggle doing things I would easily do on other days. I literally force myself to get through the day. I then lazily log into Facebook and because one of our best Kenyan writers, BikoZulu, Said God has a sense of homour, I will see a post on how someone is also having a shitty day as mine and will continue to describe in details – exactly how my day has been. Sounds weird but it explains how all humans are connected. In ‘The Alchemist,’ Paulo Coelho says that there’s a universal language in the world. More or less what the Philosopher in Ecclesiastes said – there’s nothing new under the sun. We are all worried about things that other people have experienced. Be encouraged.
Last weekend I was with my brother. There’s was traffic on the road and we were stuck. He was getting frustrated but said ‘let’s have some little faith. Just some little faith.’ It’s not like we had an option anyway, but less than a minute later, the cars started moving. In his words, a little faith goes a long way.
Underline this – Respect your Boss. More important, respect everyone. In a working environment, respect those who came before you and acknowledge their experience. You will lose nothing.
I want to write about love – I have content – I know. In short, a mother’s love is like no other. I have read of people who cannot say the same but I thank God, I have had the best parents. I recently sat next to my colleague; both of us were busy with our work. She stopped working and started using her phone. It went on for like 2 minutes. I eventually asked if everything was okay and she responded ‘Angalia kaschana kangu,’ (Look at my baby girl). Apparently, she had been admiring her baby. I asked when she last saw her and she said she left her at home in the morning. I wanted to cry.
I’ve learnt to respect when people look hesitant to share some bits about their lives. That some things are not secrets but they are private. It’s allowed and it’s okay. Also, don’t ask anything you wouldn’t be comfortable to answer if you were asked. It will save you a lot of drama and unnecessary explanations. Speaking of drama, you will be surprised how many things will still fall into place even without your concern. Especially if they don’t concern you. Sometimes we carry heavy loads on our backs – loads that weren’t ours to start with. Choose your battles wisely.
Always listen to what people truly need when they come to you for help. Sometimes we give a closet full of clothes when someone is desperate for water. Someone can be helpless to an extent of lacking words to ask for help but if you listen keenly you will hear them mention what they need the most.
Not to forget, be open to learn new things. You will surprise yourself how far you can go. Even with fear, keep learning and keep pushing.
This being my birthday month, I’m tempted to preach about God’s goodness. I will not, but Dear God, I am grateful.
What are some of the life hacks that you’ve recently learnt?