I happen to celebrate my birthday at the end of the year. I turned 27 two days ago, on 29th December. The thing about celebrating your birthday at this point is that you are actually starting a new year in your life alongside a new calendar year. It’s always a nice thing because everyone is at home and in holiday mood. The other thing about the date is that no one will doubt that you were really born on that day, unlike a friend of mine, for instance, who was born on 1st January and had to show me his ID for me to believe it. Almost. Even that was not enough because I know thousands of Kenyans have 1st of January on their IDs for some strange reason. I think that is the default date if you don’t know your DoB. The other thing about this period in our house is that it is followed by my brother’s birthday on 30th. For the longest time as kids, we would celebrate it together. And then we grew up and it became a simple separate affair where everyone says something and we blow candles.
[su_dropcap style=”simple” size=”1″]N[/su_dropcap]ow this year was very different.
Good? You know how it is. The cold. The Twitter dramas. The quest for truth.
Sometimes you wonder why you are doing what you’re doing. You wear very many hats at work. Very many. Too many.Sometimes you almost fall into the trap of comparison. You want to compare yourself with others who look like they do nothing all day. But then you look back a year and realize you have grown immensely. You can look people in the eye when you talk. People think you know a lot about certain things and look to you for help. Even when you think you don’t really know anything. Then when you sit with them and talk about something you thought everyone knew, you realise you’ve been sitting on a mine! Not a land mine of course, but the Turkana kinda thing. A gold mine.
Let’s get one thing straight. I’m still stuck in teenage. I still delight in books written for teenagers and young adults. Why? Because teenagers in the US do things we only start doing when we’re in our 20s here. Or let me just speak for myself. They do things I am not even doing yet myself.
Why am I thinking this now, of all times? Two of the few books I couldn’t put down this year are specifically written for young adults. One was Paper Towns by John Green. I found it to be mostly stupid but I couldn’t stop reading all the same. The other is the one I just finished a few minutes ago: All the Bright Places by Jennifer Niven. I bought it last Sunday, while I was browsing through TBC, quite impressed at how they’d stepped up their stock-recent-books game. Why did I buy it? Because it had been rubberstamped by the Guardian as the next The Fault in Our Stars.
Sometimes things happen. Inexplicable things. Mind-boggling stuff. Tear-jerking events. You stare at your screen and wonder why such wonderful things are happening suddenly to you. Why you even after all your mistakes. Why you after all the self-doubt. And then you realize this is what miracles are made of. Yes, you have given your all but no, it’s not your doing. Absolutely not. And finally it hits you it was not suddenly at all. It just looked like it was.
When you were young and your heart was an open book
You used to say “live and let live”
You know you did, you know you did, you know you did
But when this ever changing world breaks your heart and makes you cry
Say, Live and let die, Live and let die, Live and let die
The last thing I would ever do is belittle anyone’s profession, unless, of course, it involves vices like stealing or killing people. I have no idea, then, why someone thought I did so last week. It made me wonder why we are so vulnerable to the slightest whiff of criticism of our careers.
“What do you want to be when you grow up?” I ask my kids in my Sunday school class the other day.
Their little hands are wiggling up in the air, the mostly six-year-olds eager to share their dreams with me.
“A doctor,” one girl says, and another and another.
“A pilot,” a boy shouts, and of course there are several more.
The most traumatic transition I have gone through in the recent past is moving from campus life to working. That is folly to a normal adult who is used to working to earn a living but it is the truth. I landed a job this past holiday which was quite a task. I was supposed to work from eight to six with no real break in between. Half the time was spent on my feet attending to all kinds of people. The first day on the job I was so beat, I could not stand up for about an hour once I got home.
An Oscar perhaps? Epic KCSE results? Fanikisha na M-Shwari? Anything? Nothing?
I hope you have won something, or at least you think you have. If you think you haven’t, listen up (or rather read.)
I have won a lot over the past few days. I have won little victories that some would not even consider winning. I am not going to go all cliché on you by the way, I am talking business. Also, this is not some thing I do to make myself feel better about stuff, it is the truth.
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