“Youth is a gift of nature, but age is a work of art.” Stanislaw Jerzy Lec
“I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.” Maya Angelou
Today is my birthday – 19 years old with several years experience. First, I’d like to thank God because I am spiritual and believe God is good, and because I was brought up by deeply pious women – my mother and my beloved grandmother (RIP) – who taught me many things but most importantly to always thank God and be grateful ….. always. Then I would like to thank my mother – the woman who brought me into this world and raised me. My mother, a formidable force of nature, the most selfless human on earth who prays fervently for everyone daily without fail. The woman who has raised many children she didn’t necessarily give birth to. In my culture we believe mothers are a second God – I know my mum is. I would also like to thank my daughter – the real love of my life and the apple of my eye. My intelligent girl who makes me laugh and talks her mind – she would not have survived the 80s! My girl who thinks she’s too old because she’s older than Facebook and YouTube – things I hear!
Lo: I’m so old! I’m older than Facebook and YouTube
Me: You are old? I’m older than the Walkman for crying out loud!!
Lo: What’s a Walkman?!
I would also like to thank my siblings for your unconditional love and support – I never run out of roiko cubes or fermented porridge flour Kenyan style – keep ‘em coming. I cannot forget my KenBrit family and friends for your never-ending love, support and occasional shake-up.
Last but definitely not least, I would like to take this opportunity to thank and acknowledge my newest obsession – my avid readers and followers of Things I hear – keep the love flowing: know I love and appreciate you.
Last night, I got the best pre-birthday present ever: my mum makes the tastiest mokimo on the planet and I always bring back a few kilos. I was looking for something in the freezer when something caught my eye – it was a round package wrapped in foil and covered in clingfilm. I couldn’t tell what it was. So I defrosted it and voila – it was like finding money – you know that feeling you get when you find £20 in a pocket in some jacket you haven’t worn in months? It was mokimo – I had brought some back in March, ate it quickly and shared some, and somehow this one batch was left for me to find!
This year’s birthday is special for several reasons, but most importantly because I was blind but now I see, for real. I am in a position where I can actively and passionately pursue my dreams. I have learnt enough lessons to start a movement.
If I could write a letter to my 19-year-old self, this is some of what I would say:
Happy birthday, mkondo wa mwisho kwa uteens na utoto!!
Growing older is only scary if you are not growing within and when you grow within the journey is beautiful. Learn to value yourself, treasure yourself, love yourself even when shit happens because you are your best advocate. Do not wait for ‘someday’ to do this or the other, do it now and if you fuck up that’s ok – you learn, grow and move on.
Create good habits e.g. analyse yourself and identify patterns – positive and negative – and make plans to change or improve or maintain. This will not only take care of your body and mind but also your psyche and spiritual self. Remember, you are the only one able to control your thoughts. Meditate – society has made this such a big deal, but I’ve come to learn it’s really not – try it and if nothing works just listen to your breathing.
In whatever work you do, think of it as service to humanity and rest will flow naturally. On the same note, do not expect anything from people – no one owes you, and the universe will respond accordingly. Bless everything/one with love.
Make no excuses but find solutions. Make self-development priority – people are always saying ‘we are in this together’ but I’ve come to learn that is just a figure of speech. Everyone is for themselves but contributing to humanity, make yours count. Be inquisitive. Pursue your dreams and freaking write for Pete’s sake.
There several things I didn’t mention because then I would be writing a memoir, but I know for sure that certain routes I took in my life led me to gross mistakes that taught me lessons no person on earth would have taught me or anticipated. And some routes I took literally saved my life.
Writing this post (initially had 5000 words!!), has had therapeutic effects on myself and I am truly grateful for this mkondo wa mwisho hii level, because many of my agemates didn’t make it to this year – Anne Njoroge, Charles Obiri, Mweni Mwaka, Twiri and Stella Kawira – just to mention a few – may your beautiful souls continue resting in peace.
I am grateful for where I am at in life, and grateful for the people in my life in this time and space
Happy birthday to all May 2 borns out there including David Beckham and Princess Charlotte – I didn’t know about her until my daughter told me and it was my turn to ask who Princess Charlotte was.