On December 1st 2021, I met a guy I have known for a few months. I asked him about a project he was working on that he had mentioned to me a few months earlier. He had no response. To put it better, he didn’t want to talk about it. The project was one of his many fails of 2021. He was just glad that it was December which means that the year is finally coming to an end. “I just want this year to end, everything I have tried to do this year has failed. I have never experienced a worser year like this,” he said, shaking his head as he thought of how his goals for the year were ruled out by a callous and invisible referee.
A few days later I was in a session where chairs for eight people had been set in circle format. In the group people shared their encounters of 2021. Then it was the turn of the lady next to me. She shared about her many conquests of 2021, how life has been good, how she’s been happy, how she’s had more than enough on her plate, how she’s thrived in her work and how they are planning to come together as a family for Christmas to celebrate the goodness of the Lord.
I left there thinking about my year and my interpretation of the events that have transpired from January up to now. I thought about my friend who can’t wait for 31st December and the lady who sat next to me. How life is different. They are at the extreme ends of the fulfilment spectrum. One is mourning the other is celebrating. One is rejoicing, the other is crying. One is filling her tank and the other one is leaking massively. One is in Kenya and the other is wondering kama ako nchi ingine.
If my friend sat in that circle and heard the lady speak about her triumphs, he could have asked the question; why me Lord? Not that he hasn’t asked the question already but it would have been weightier.
And it’s a valid question. But two things that I see helping in dealing with disappointment are perspective and self-awareness.
It’s one thing to be down and to suffer and it’s another to understand that you are suffering. It’s yet another thing to understand at what level of suffering you are in. The journey of life is like a sinusoidal graph. You can be down in the valley, up at the peak or you could be climbing up or down. Unlike the graph, life is not even. Some climbs are steeper than others, some peaks are sharper, some valleys are wider and sometimes you plateau at a point longer than expected.
One you are self-aware; perspective helps you to have a bigger picture of your life and consider things with a broader view. Then you don’t need to compare yourself with others because you know where you are going and what you need to do to get there. Those who are ahead of you have already gone through the journey that you may be starting now. They might be climbing as you ascend, they might me on a plateau – like my friend – while you are at the peak. Or they are on a new journey that you might never have to go through.
So, my friend who can’t wait for 31st Dec and the lady in the circle are just at different points in their life’s graphs. As long as my friend is doing what he needs to do, as long as he’s keeping the faith and trusting God, as long as he’s running his own race in his own lane, then he’s progressing, despite the screams of success around him.
That self-awareness is something that has helped me in 2021. That’s apart from making me sound like an overbearing philosopher (aren’t we all, in this covid times). Everyone knows what needs to be done but who’s really doing it. There was always excess supply of advice but with Covid the numbers exponentially grew.
2021 has been intriguing for me. It’s the year I needed to have had a couple of years ago. I stepped out of formal employment this year to try my hand in hustling. Actually, I had to leave my workplace because it was just time, among other reasons. I had pondered on it for a while and it just happened to be the appointed time. I was becoming one of those people who have special cups in the office and a seat I would fight to keep. You know those seats that you think were made just for you. I had a routine, when to get tea, when to go out for some sun, when to go around to other offices to ‘harass’ people. Yeah, it had become an endless cycle of complacence. I had to snap out of it.
The office became dull despite a new paint job, there was no more peak to aspire to and so I thought, why not try this writing thing, and some IT projects and see how far they can take me. I got my hands dirty, dipping it in unfamiliar holes and hoping to find a way out on the other side. One of the events that set off the tipping of the boat was attending Bikozulu’s writing masterclass. I have always known I wanted to write on a higher level. I didn’t need Biko for that. He just made me believe that I could actually do it, especially on the discipline end. I needed that push; I needed that connection to the core of my passion and I am glad Biko was there to ignite the fire.
And now, I am truly thankful for being out here. The lessons I have learnt this year are invaluable. The places I have gone are inconceivable, the connections I have made are indispensable. I have found a way through some holes. In others I am stuck right in the middle of darkness. But I keep digging.
The best part is that I am going into 2022 with a revitalized perspective, with some things to do, with some doors knocked, with a view of something that looks like light on the other side, and no, running for MCA is not one of them. That seems to be the fashionable thing now. They say that if you throw a stone in the centre of any town in Kenya, it will likely hit an MCA aspirant.
The story of 2021 will be properly written in the coming years, God willing. Because it’s pivotal. It’s the year that has tipped me into uncharted territory with uncanny familiarity.
Wherever you are in your journey of life, seek to perceive and understand, be aware of your position in the graph. And don’t settle, don’t stop doing the right things, don’t give up, there’s something, someone, out there for you.
Thank you for stopping by my blog in 2021, thank you for sharing, commenting and putting me in a position to knock on larger doors. And you know what, I believe they will open.
I wish you God’s blessings this Christmas and for the new year.
Until 2022, Adios.