“Don’t ask yourself what the world needs, ask yourself what makes you come alive and then go do that. Because what the world needs is people who have come alive…‘ by Padma_theflower on Instagram.
In the morning I saw a Caroline Mutoko’s clip. She was encouraging mostly men to use their 20s wisely. To work. Because while women have a biological clock, men have a financial clock. And their most energetic years, are their 20s.
At first I thought she made a lot of sense. Even to my life. That i’m most energetic right now. When I am in my 20s. No responsibilities, no much bills to pay. And a lot of time.
But the more I thought of her words, the more I panicked. I got anxious. That here I am, in my 20s, full of energy, and no dream or purpose. You know those innovative startups or big dreams that can be seen, that young people sound so focused when they mention them. I don’t have those ones.
And sincerely, my 2019 goals have a lot to do with bumming around rather than seriously doing something.
And what she was talking about sounded like a lot of doing. When all I want this year, is to Be. The only things I want to do are the activities I enjoy doing such as Bungee jumping and white water rafting. Activities that make my soul come alive. Doing that leaves me more energetic rather than tired.
When I was listening to what my soul wants for the year, I anticipated a few challenges here and there. What I didn’t see coming, was this; that what previously motivated me to wake up and work towards a better life, would now be a discouragement to the life I want for at least this year. That what used to get me out of the bed, will now give me panic attacks because i’m doing the exact opposite of ‘working’.
But if I was told I only had one more year to live, what I would rather spend it on? Doing or enjoying my life?
Plus who told us that our 30s and 40s are going to be as bad as we make them to be? What makes me think that this Mercy, that i’m trying so hard to keep alive and well, will loose her spark in her 30s and be unable to start over? This narrative that I only have my 20s to work, how true is it?
When I have more money than now in my late 30s, how energetic will I be to spontaneously climb Mt Kenya? Yet right now, just say the word, i’ll be there as fast as my legs can carry me. When i’m 50, flowing with expertise, how hard will it be, to start my foundation or startup, compared to now when I admit that I do not know a lot about what I would love to do in my society?
So this is me, looking at my life personally, and admitting that it goes against the grain. That it doesn’t follow that Caroline Mutoko graph. Where your energy is highest at 20 and that’s the best time to work hard to gain money or start up something. That you work now and play later.
This is me listening to my soul that just can’t take anymore of doing. A soul that has been crushed, hidden, wounded and is finally breathing. All we want is to laugh. All we want is to jump countless times in the sunset trying to capture that perfect sunset jumpie.
And its okay for my fellow 20sth year olds to be running after money. To be running after success in the way they know how. To be amazing souls in their work places. To work in amazing places.
That when I turn 25, and my fellow friends are being awarded top 40 under 40, and all I can show for my two years after school are the pictures of the various African countries I have traveled in and the hundreds of books I have read, then I’ll be okay. That’s a lie, i won’t be just okay, I’ll be freaking happy! Because that’s my kind of success.
Because that is how my soul comes alive. And for what gain would it be, for a man to gain the whole world and loose his soul?
I want to treat my soul for a whole year. And see how that looks like when its done as a lifestyle rather than nuggets once in a while.
And I realise that since I was born, I’ve not encountered someone held in high regard by society because of living a life that doesn’t include work place success or money. I was thoroughly misguided if I thought I would get any encouragement of the kind of life I want to live from anywhere normal.
I love the things i love. I love myself.
And it shall take a while for me to mix those two together without guilt, without me asking for validation to be different, from certain quarters. Without me watching those clips and getting a small panic attack, because i’m living the life I want, rather than the one i’m supposed to.
Because I enjoy my success differently. I saw someone say that if she ever got a job that didn’t pay her enough to indulge her book reading habits, then she would know its not for her. And I could so damn relate.
That if I don’t get to swim at Devil’s pool in Victoria falls, i’m not so sure i’ll be proud to say I once inhabited earth. That if I don’t get to enjoy Ngugi wa Thiong’o ( if heaven exists, this is the soul I want to receive me at the gates) , then what exactly was i doing breathing?
I want to meet my ancestors with so many stories of lands beyond our dry land. I want to regale them with tales of people from the south who speak with a click, and others from the north, who behave as if they are not a part of us, but their history betrays them, and others from the west, whose love for palm wine is unparalleled, and others from the east, a people most resilient. I want to tell them about writers who let our Africanness sip through their words, though using a white man’s language that doesn’t know how to dance and bend depending on the story. I want my great great great great grandmother to be proud of the little I know about our culture, given that those I will rest with, only know next to nothing about themselves and a lot about the white man’s history.
I want to bow down having lived for myself. With myself. Peacefully. In harmony. And in times of peace. But all I have known before now are battles fought within. All I have known, is to wage war against myself. With myself. And all I have done mostly is struggle.
And all I want is to live. Is to be alive. Is to laugh loudly. Is to read and watch ignorance fly away from my smart brain. All I want is to take pictures and want to watermark them because of how good they are. And don’t we all dislike thieves? All I want is to remember Denny Crane and laugh my soul out, because for the life of me, I can’t understand how I can see myself in that gross man. I love how he is not quite right in the head. And how he wears that so proudly. So damn proudly. It is one thing for a man to admit his success and wear it perfectly, it is another, for one to admit their not so right parts, and also wear them on their sleeves. We are taught to hide them. To work at improving them. To call them weaknesses. But do they really make us weak? Aren’t they what make us fully human? How can we name something that gives us our humanity, a name suggesting that it takes away something from us?
I don’t remember when exactly I shifted from this human who loathed making mistakes, to this one who thrives in them. Who thrives in herself. All of herself. Because I realise that what is regarded as my flaw in one quarter is my strength in another. I realise that even when I say that I am a passionate being, this can be true or false depending on circumstances. Like the way I have zero energy to do anything that looks like it will deplete my strength this year.
I love the things I love. And I love myself.
And if I do nothing else in this life, I want to die knowing that I mixed those two to create a cocktail, that though not popular, was what the doctor recommended for this specific soul of mine.