Learning From the Prospects of Getting Wiser by Turning a Year Older.
I am a little surprised that today I decided to write about growing old a few days after celebrating my birthday. To say I celebrated could sound funny since inside of me is a tickle that reminds me that it was a normal day like any other and there was nothing like celebration. I don’t know what grew older in me physically but deep inside I can tell my wisdom increased in the past year. It doesn’t matter if it was by a nano-meter, if meters measure wisdom, but never the less my age pushed me up in the metric scale of the wise.
Celebrating birthdays was never my thing until when I turned 25 a few years ago. I felt the need to give myself a treat of the century for making such a huge step of fighting to survive in a thorny world for over a quarter century. Up to that time, years slipped by and I could be caught by surprise that it was Facebook reminding me of my age. What an unorthodox way of living!
Since then, I started putting a little emphasis on this thing called birthday. I decided so for a few reasons but chief of them was to do an audit of the past year and see what I needed to do for the coming year. It is aptly immoral for us to just live a life void of life itself. We put life in our years by doing the things we love and sharing in the light moments with others. I devised a plan going forward that I will be giving myself a treat once in while a few days before or after my birthday date to go and reflect as well as set things in order for the coming year.
When I sat to reflect on the past year of my live, I was surprised of the many good and funny things that have happened in my life. And first of it was to do with weddings. It was my first time to march in a wedding ceremony of any magnitude. From it I learnt that there is no magic in making the best march and that nothing matters at that moment other than the event. I realized that it never matters whether others think of you as good, as long as you are confident with yourself never fear to lurch forward.
While marching, I thought at one moment that someone might have noticed a small blunder I made while taking the steps but on looking for a clue after the event, I realized no one noticed. I thus learned a second lesson that we should never be too concerned about the gaze of other people, ours is to focus on our work and forget the rest of the distraction. That is how successful people manage to focus amid the many distractions in the journey of life. It is said that you can never reach your destination if your stand to throw stones at every barking dog you find on the way.
Here is yet another incident to do with weddings I have not told anyone before. I some time back attended one wedding that made me marvel due to necessity as opposed to desire. I went to the reception after witnessing the marriage ceremony, washed my hands well and lined up to serve food. I was almost the last guy on the line after several people had cut the queue and served themselves to fulfillment. It is often wise to witness the marriage ceremony to the end by taking a bite of the food, that has been my philosophy. Word of caution though, it is not a joy to the end always as it happened to me on this fateful day.
I had faithfully kept the queue until I reached the serving point only to be told that the food had finished. I really laughed myself off the queue and off into the woods lest someone make a light moment out of it. I later realized that you better do as the Romans do if you find yourself among them. Perhaps the greatest lesson I learnt from this incident was that in our world, you will only survive if you learn to fight for yourself. Had I cut the queue also, I could have enjoyed the sumptuous meal. The next time I attend a reception, I will be a little wiser.
Months ago I travelled to Mombasa on an official business meeting. I arrived in Mombasa at almost noon and took myself to a random café in the midst of town. I asked for ugali and was told there was none. I was disappointed and decided to order for some food I thought sounded good on the menu for a vegetarian. I was served the meal a short while later only to realize it was white plain rice with some ugly green soup without any proper taste. Actually the soup must have been water mixed with some green color and a few random spices that made it taste like the herbs of the forest. Anyway, I made the order and as expected had to finish my meal now that that it was hunger consuming it.
I later on concluded that it is important to stick with what you know, after all better the devil you know than the angel you don’t. Over my stay at the coast I took the initiative to first know what the food entailed before ordering. It is the same with life. If you are doing anything, it doesn’t pain to ask because in asking you can help avoid numerous mistakes. I have realized over time that being open to learning is perhaps the greatest virtue we can have if we aspire to be great leaders and that there is no alternative in this. Listening a lot is the killer secret to unraveling this.
Once eating was over, we managed to flag a small tuk-tuk by the roadside to rush us to the Kenya Ports Authority for a meeting which had taken us down to the town by the water in the first place. Once we had arrived at our destination which we thought was long enough to cost us about Kshs. 200 or more, the driver just took his share of Kshs. 50 and returned the excess. It then dawned on me that perception is dangerous. Henceforth, I have learnt to suppress the faculties of perception and learn the rules of the game to be safe so that I cannot be beaten at my own game. Opinions matter in regards to logic but when it comes to people and facts, perception can really lie.
Talking of perception and I remember my most recent travel to Naivasha for a tour of the place. Once I arrived at Lake Naivasha and enjoyed the scenery, I decided to head to the woods and do some mountain climbing. I love nature and the woods are one of my favorites. This time round I looked up into the hills and underestimated the heights. My perception was that this is too easy and that I would be done climbing in matter of minutes. It latter look me over an hour to climb and reach the nearer top. I stamped my lesson that perception often misleads.
We can now connect the dots on how looks deceive too by using my perception examples. I could go on and on about the many instances that made my last year memorable and also wiser but these were among my favorites. Most are more about learning as well as enjoying. So the next time you go around enjoying yourself, keep a record of the moments and make a point to learn from them.
Remember always that we are here to live a life full of life. The things that make the fun today will make the best memories of tomorrow and so it is important we learn from them and make sure we keep them for posterity.
Copyright @ 2018.
Happy birthday to all the July folks.