That day. 

I once read somewhere, that if you want to motivate yourself everyday, write your own eulogy. Like write what you want people to say of you when you die. The accomplishments you had. Though I have never done so, that lesson stuck with me. Not the bit of what people will say about you, but of the things I want to do before I die. And if I die before, I want to die trying. 

Sometimes life plays you a number and all you can see is the mist and fog ahead of you. Not the sunshine or storm a kilometer away. Seeing a bigger picture in the middle of many little pixels is quite hard. But its not impossible. Knowing that one day I’ll achieve the things I want to gives me hope. Not necessarily of a better future, but of a preferable tomorrow. I’ve come to realize that as I grow older, my idea of happiness changes. Contentment for me is the hallmark of happiness nowadays. Being at peace with where I am psychologically, spiritually and emotionally. 

But then there are things that may not be read in my eulogy. Things that fire up my existence. Things that I want to do but I’m afraid to do. Like writing people’s stories. I’ve been avoiding piecing together the first story in that series. What if I don’t get it right? What is right? But I can’t wait to reach the hundredth story in that series. I know i may not get over this fear, but I’ll work with it.

My motivation when it comes to “what’s your story?” Series? Jeff Koinange. I may not agree with what he does nowadays, but I love what he did on K24 with The Bench. That guy, for three continuous years, worked Monday to Saturday to shoot and air over a 1000 interviews. Yes, you had that right. A 1000 interviews in 3yrs. He had this idea. And he got down to it. And by the way, getting me his book would be a great present( hehe). And that’s what I want to do. To do it for a thousand times. I may not get it right the first a hundred times. And that’s not okay when you are afraid of failure as I am. But I’ve learnt that its the “not okay” moments that build me up. 

This might get it written in my eulogy. Books. Yesterday I passed by a shelve on Tuskys full of books. Obviously I went straight to the African mini section. And I wanted to buy around 10 books. I didn’t due to financial reasons. But I could feel the shame in me for never having read Unbowed by Wangari Maathai. Like how now? But I know that one day I’ll be able to buy those books. And I’ll build book shelves in my house. Or not. I might just end up gifting a school, to pass on the generosity of the person who provided for me those books in High school. Someone donated their personal books, we weren’t allowed to carry them out of the library, but I stayed in and read some of them. Plus I haven’t read a book twice, so I don’t know if keeping those books will be of any value to me. Besides aesthetically that is. But I know that if I live to see a day called tomorrow, I shall read a 1000 good books. African books. 

And finally, this dream of mine has come with so much clarity of late. That I’m almost thinking that it was there all along. I maybe never got to a place safe enough for it to come up. I want to be a professor. Professor Mercy Mwende. There was a time I attended a graduation with my dad. And since we were late, we couldn’t gain entry to the already full field. But there on the dias, where dignitaries were seated, was space. But it was obviously well guarded by security guys.  My dad is huge. And he was in a suit. He looked like an important person. So we just followed him. And as you can imagine, no one stopped him, or us behind him. But that’s not important. 

What’s important is that we sat close enough to see the faces of the master students coming for their scrolls. But most important, we saw first hand, the PHD holders kneeling down and a whole paragraph of things being read to each of them. And my dad turned to me and said, ” degree students stand up when their names are called during graduation. And they are lucky if two names are read, they usually read the first name only. The master students stand and come for their scrolls. But it is an honour to stand, walk to the front and kneel down. I hope to see you kneel one day”. 

That may not have meant a lot then. But now, as I consider going back to school as soon as I can, those words resonate with what’s in my heart. That my end goal is to become a professor. And I pray that my father lives long enough, not to see me kneel but to see me with a title other than Dr. In front of my name. There has been this argument that you should first gain experience before going for your masters. And I know they mean well those who believe in that. But I would rather go to school now and regret it than go later and regret wasting an year or two that I could have spent getting another degree. 

I don’t know whether this are dreams, goals or wishes. I may not even be working towards them right now. I don’t even have a concrete plan for them. But I know that among other things in this life, I’ll achieve them. 

And I pray that when that day comes, I’ll go muse over this piece on a hill in some village in Malawi. 

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