image

Before we get into the heart of the matter, I want to clarify something. This letter was not meant for you. I wanted to write it to my future daughter. But sometimes I feel as if I would be okay living without children. And obviously no husband. Those are just thoughts that criss cross my mind. Especially when people choose to talk of subjects like sexual purity, marriage and women in general. You may not know this at your age, but a lot of people assume that provided you are a twenty something year old woman, more so a single christian, surely, one of your prayer requests must be of a husband. Some even go ahead and start praying for future husbands and future children. To the same God who told us to not worry about tomorrow. Kitambo I wanted to have kids without a husband. I grew up and realized how much our society is affected by daddy issues and how unfair it would be to heap on more problems to my children. But I adulted some more and realized life is hard. And short. And I became my own friend. And somehow that idea of living a fulfilled life without being Mrs. Nani or Mama Nani sneaked its way into my head. And stuck around. So I would have loved to write to my dear little future doll, and maybe even give her a name as most people do, but its easier to imagine me being childless than being a mother.
Again, I would have loved to write to my sister. Yes, that same one that you don’t see eye to eye. She is quite a handful, right? The only sister we have. But I realise that the message I want to pass across, may enter her one ear and leave through the other. She is at the stage where nothing seems to stick in her head. Or rather, she does what pleases her.
And that is how dear little brother you got to have a letter addressed to you. I want you to pay attention, because at the age I am, adulting is happening faster than the wind blows. And so if I don’t tell you what I’ve learnt by now, by tomorrow, it will be something else entirely different.
Life is a…… By now if you haven’t heard that line, worry not, you will hear it over a thousand times. And all those nouns and verbs they will use to explain life, will make sense. But don’t let them define your life. Take it from me, most of them are truths, but quarter truths. You know when mum tells you she is traveling tomorrow, and you start crying because you think you won’t find her when you come back from school? Just to come back and find her. And yes, she did travel, just thirty minutes away. So she never lied, but she also didn’t tell you the whole truth. The same are those clichés. They don’t lie, but they don’t give you the whole picture.
And the biggest lie of all of them, will be life is a race. Trust you me, believing that life is a race sets you up for failure. People who are number one in anything will always be praised. You know that, right? I mean, I have seen you feel bad for not being number one in class. How many things are found in the guiness world record? How many billion people have lived on earth from the time they started taking note? Now, if only one person gets an entry for being number one to do something, where do the rest go? Are they failures for being number two to land in the moon? Are they somehow weak for buying their first car at forty? Are their children disadvantaged because they didn’t grow up in the biggest mansion in the world? Or their lives miserable because they didn’t manage to be the youngest CEO? Are they bad pilots because someone else got there at a younger age?
Dear brother, the world defines success by age and how fast and being number one. The world worships at the feet of those people who reach ordinary scales at a younger age. It adores being top forty under forty. It reveres, those who get to be top richest, most beautiful, etc, people in the world. And less than 0.000000000001% of the world’s population make it to there.
Now before you misunderstand me, there is nothing wrong with being top thirty under thirty or Forbes 100 most successful people. It’s actually an honour. Just don’t live your whole life racing against humanity. Fighting to be number one. Do what you love, or have to do, but at your own pace. If it ends up being the fastest around, well and good. I sincerely don’t think whoever went to the moon first was purely motivated by being number one to land there. That is not what woke him up every single day for all those years they took preparing themselves.
The only way you can opt out of the race society is always cheerleading you for, is by defining your own success. And let it not be  with age. Otherwise you might not enjoy the process. I was feeling frustrated today, that by now being two decades and a few years old, I’m still not a good swimmer. But then I asked myself, what would be the worst thing if I got to thirty years old and still not a good swimmer? Would the earth stop moving? Would I be somehow less of a person? I remembered how I always force you to learn how to swim. But you always refuse, for you swimming pools are for playing around with water. Not learning some formulas of how to move from point A to B. And I enjoyed myself when I unshackeled myself from the lies that by a certain age, a person should be this or that.
Set your own standards dear one. Don’t let them lie to you that billionaires wake up at 4am and so should you if you wish to become one. With all that wealth,  would you still be looking for more? For what purposes? First of all, do you want to be a billionaire? At the expense of who? Think through most of these things that you will encounter in your life. Most look like the truth. But that’s the whole point, they are not the truth.
And just so you know, Jesus was never the ‘first something’. We celebrate him for simply being himself. He didn’t go after what society termed as success in his times. Yet he lived a peaceful life. He was a cool guy, carefree to the extent that he was accused of eating with the wrong clique and his disciples of not fasting as much. Yet that is the son of God we are talking about. Life is never that serious. God never intended it to be.
Relax little one. Put all your energy to whatever you are doing, not to the end point you can’t see. Don’t hurry to see what awaits you when you will be 10yrs old. When you get there you will know. This lesson has taken me such a long time to learn. But all the same, I am better off now that i know it. I pass on this knowledge to you. And should I one day get a dear daughter, it will be your turn to address a letter to your niece.
Yours loving,
Elder sister.

Advertisements