Sunday, 24 February 2013

A Peek at Life's Pitstops: 25 Random Things

Just over a year ago, I penned down a  set of 25 Random Things.  The post told of my experience soon after leaving college, my struggle to chat a career path for myself, my hopes, dreams and aspirations for the future. Although at the core, my hopes and aspirations have remained the same, with new experiences and encounters, my view of the world has somewhat evolved, thus the decision to pen down a new set of 25’s.

1.  Two months ago, in December 2012, after ten years apart, we said Karibu to my beloved sister. Reunited again with her and the rest of the family, we had a memorable Christmas together. Being apart for a decade had changed everyone in many ways, a function of time and space.

2.  What this reunion reminded me however, is the fact that although we grow older, even aging a little, we maintain that warm and cordial familial connection that time and distance never quite takes away.

3.  A few weeks later in January, I marked another milestone. I would say kwaheri to my employer of  two and a half years. When I handed in my resignation letter, I was emotional, and with good reason. One of my best experiences ever, was coming to a rather sudden end.

4.  A few days later, I would host my family for a lunch at the place that had given me so much. Later that Friday evening, at 5.00 pm, I would leave work one final time, marking the final curtain call to what has been without a doubt  a most amazing experience.  This departure would also mark the beginning of another new chapter in my life.

5.  It is often said that the future is an interesting place to look back from. Looking back five years ago, never in my wildest dreams would I have imagined that I would get an opportunity to serve in the way that I did. It has been a great honour indeed.

6.  In my last list of 25’s, I shared my experience holding down my first job, straight out of college.  That job was not easy. I sacrificed a lot to hold it down; run-ins with the city council, struggling to meet targets and once so often sacrificed family time. It is often said that what doesn't kill you, makes you stronger.

7.  Looking back, I am amused that I made it through those two years. When I resigned in June 2010, I had given my all, and proudly so. From journalist, I made an improbable career switch to the hospitality industry.

8.  That sunny afternoon when I received confirmation of my new appointment, was a Hallelujah moment. I was excited! However, even in the excitement, I was not oblivious of the new challenges I would face going forward.

9.  To my family and handful of friends who had supported me through it all, I wrote: 'As I embark on this new journey, happier than I ever before and grateful to the Almighty for having brought me thus far, I am grateful to you, my friends and family, who have been with me all the way. Indeed, such was my optimism about nailing the interview and getting that job, that the only thing that made it legal was the fact that I backed it up with prayer.'

10.  At that point in time, I was at what I referred to as an ‘Obama Moment’- happy on one hand but on the other, aware that I would have to confront new and probably bigger challenges. I was certain that once again, I would have to earn my stripes. I would have to hustle harder and just be the best person I could be. Barack Obama (once again) best summarized the journey, (to what I hoped would be a fulfilling career) in this words:

11.  "I am not the builder of the ship. I am just the Captain. As a consequence, I have little control over the capacities of the vessel or the conditions out in the deep seas. Nonetheless, the vessel being as it is and the seas as they are, I can be a good captain or a bad captain." My intention was to be the best captain I could be!
My hero - He would look good even in tights :-)

12.  It is my prayer that at the end of my tenure, I was half the person I had hoped to be. For two and a half years, I gave everything I had. Supported by a cast of the most hardworking and friendly team I have ever known, each day, I put my best foot forward. They made the hustle look easy. I may never be able to thank each of those selfless people individually, but I pray for them and their families. God bless them, in all the days of their lives.

Unwinding - Some of the most hardworking and friendly people I  know
13.  Back to the remaining thirteen random things... I can't help but think how things have changed, yet remained the same since I penned my first twenty five's. It only proves that we are creatures of habit and that it takes time and conscious effort to reverse and break  habits that have taken root.

14.  I don’t go for mass as often as I would like to. With a six-day-working-week,  Sunday is the day I feel laziest. Though I have struggled to be as righteous as can be, it is still not easy. My mum still calls on Sunday and asks, "Umeenda Kanisani?" Uplifting my spiritual life remains a work in progress. I hope to tell a different story in my next 25’s.

15.  I would still love to write a biography of my dad, who is an amazing man. Though it seems highly unlikely now, I intend to follow through on this some day. It would take a lot of resolve and sacrifice though. Besides a fading flair for writing, each day seems to be three hours less than the last.

16.  I still feel indebted to Starehe. That school made me, taught me so much and I owe it all to Dr. Geoffrey William Griffin. It is often said that to those who much has been given, much is expected. I would be honoured to give back to that school and in the words of Dr. Griffin, 'to enable others to enjoy the same privilege.'
        Honourable men - Founders of Starehe

17.  Lately, as I watch life unfold, I dedicate a lot of my time to simple things . Although Jeff Koinange and Chris Foot - two of my most favourite television and radio personalities- have left the scene, I still get my daily dose of news. I try to forge and cultivate lasting relationships and my next focus will be to drum up business for my new employer.

18.  Though lately, the intensity of work has increased a notch higher, it is my hope that once the dust has settled a little, I will have more of my evenings to myself to do the things that I love to do; reading the occasional book, watching an interesting documentary and writing.

19.  I hope, in the next few months, to continue working on my pet project, People, Things and Places, a  blog that gives me so much pride and reason to explore the world around me.  If nothing else, it is a labour of love that I hope to continue nurturing.

20.  In my last 25's, I wasn't sure what I wanted to do. The passage of time has somewhat made it possible to narrow my scope of focus. I want to keep doing what I am doing and to succeed at it. I also want to travel the world, to experience cultures and impact on the lives of others.

21.  Four years ago, the greatest fear in my relationship was that I would disappoint the girl I had dated for 15 months, at the time. I have since made the decision to handle all matters personal as they should - privately.

22.  My social life right now is dead. My current focus is to pursue  my new path with diligence and dedication, to once again prove myself and to earn my stripes.  So help me God!

23.  More than any other time, I put the greatest value on my family. I realize that as I grow up, those around me are growing old. I want to cherish every day with them, for they are all that truly matter. I also value my few  friends.
Sharing a  light moment - Dad, mum and my sister after a decade apart

24.  Slowly, the number of people I would call 'friend' diminishes. I can however still see myself having pretty much the same friends I have now; some I have not been in touch with in a while, others I have not seen in years. I still believe if life be gracious and long, it’s a small matter of rekindling the friendships again.

25.  Although I value creation of wealth, I cherish more the experience that comes with the little delights of life. I earn a simple living doing what I love doing- meeting people.  I still care about my future, I just don't worry much about it. I thank God for having brought me thus far and wait to see the future unfold.

What is you story? What interesting things have happened in you life lately? Pray do share. If nothing else, maybe one day you will look back at the pit-stops in your life and say, 'I have grown in certain ways and although I did not realise it then, that moment right there was special and memorable.'
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