Sunday, July 5, 2015

Finally, I am 35 years old!

Today, I turn 35.
For me, it is on this day that the most exciting part of my life begins. In essence, my life begins today.

"The conditions of a solitary bird are five:
The first, that it flies to the highest point;
The second, that it does not suffer for company, not even of its own kind;
The third, that it aims its beak to the skies;
The fourth, that it does not have a definite color;
The fifth, that it sings very softly."

- San Juan de la Cruz in his "Sayings of Light and Love", quoted in "Tales of Power" by Carlos Castaneda.

Looking back.

It has been an interesting life so far. A life well lived, I can comfortably say. The past three and a half decades that I have walked this earth have been quite good.To me, and hopefully for those to whom I happened.

Without saying too much, mine has been a blessed life. I have amazing parents who have sacrificed everything for their kids and continue to be there for us even now when we are all adults.
My siblings are simply the best. My only brother and several sisters... the most amazing people to grow up with.

I have in the process of growing up met people who have profoundly impacted my life. Be it in the neighborhood, at school in Nderu Primary or Mang'u High - I was lucky to have such persons in my formative and impressionable years.
At JKUAT, I met young adults from all walks of life, and I now realize they were all there for a reason. A very good reason.

Beyond school, I worked in Nairobi and lived there for several years. And since coming back to my cradle-land to settle down on a small farm where I live with over 30 animals - cats, dogs, chicken, goats, sheep and cows - I am willing to bet I have learnt so much from these sentient beings than I ever would have, living with humans.

As I continue to write, design and practice farming in my den and around my yard, I am absolutely grateful for all that my life has been thus far.

The Here and Now.

We are living in exciting times. With every passing day, things keep getting better.

I am at a time and place in life where personal fulfillment, genuine bliss and autonomy matter the most. I have always aspired to make a difference and add value. Through thoughts, words and actions that have meaning, it is possible.

I now do altruistic things almost effortlessly. I am able to love unconditionally. The work I do is, fortunately, something I tremendously enjoy, something I look forward to doing every single morning.
For this reason, I have not succumbed to commonly held notions and stereotypes of success.

The insights Steve Jobs shared at Standford University in 2005, have become a mantra in my life. It is from here that I still listen to my inner voice, careful not to let the noise of other people's opinions drown it.
But I should not be mistaken for a know-it-all who doesn't consult nor heed advice. As the recovering alcoholic in Safe Haven said, I have become even more willing to listen and take suggestions as well as advice.

Let me share some profound stuff I chanced upon yesterday on Maria Popova's Brain Pickings:

If you follow your bliss, you put yourself on a kind of track that has been there all the while, waiting for you, and the life that you ought to be living is the one you are living. Wherever you are — if you are following your bliss, you are enjoying that refreshment, that life within you, all the time.
The adventure is its own reward — but it’s necessarily dangerous, having both negative and positive possibilities, all of them beyond control. We are following our own way, not our daddy’s or our mother’s way… Life can dry up because you’re not off on your own adventure.
There’s something inside you that knows when you’re in the center, that knows when you’re on the beam or off the beam. And if you get off the beam to earn money, you’ve lost your life. And if you stay in the center and don’t get any money, you still have your bliss.

Shaping the Future.

"God calls on us to shape an uncertain destiny." These words were spoken by a man who had just beaten all odds to become the President of a nation where given its history, he was a most imperfect candidate.

Barack Obama had prior to these remarks at his Inauguration, delivered what I still consider his best speech, aptly titled A more perfect union. He said:

This union may never be perfect, but generation after generation has shown that it can always be perfected.


It is not enough to give health care to the sick, or jobs to the jobless, or education to our children. But it is where we start.
...that is where the perfection begins.

Two songs continue to define my life as I learn from and secure a foothold on my past, make the most of the present and face the future with confidence.
They are both by John Mayer. The profoundly reflective Shadow Days and the timeless In Repair.

I've no doubt that my best days are ahead of me.

The Gift that keeps on giving

The one thing I have learnt that governs all gainful interactions is that it is inherently more blessed to give than to receive. In fact, it is through giving that we receive.

I have in recent years made it a habit to break away from tradition and do something that few do on their birthday.
You see, almost everyone I know receives gifts and messages of goodwill on this day. My approach is markedly different, because I get to both receive and give presents on my birthday.

As I turn 35, members of my family will receive presents from the birthday boy. Some close friends, will also get small gifts, for the significant and often life-changing roles they have each played in my awesome life.

So, should you receive some MBs, airtime, some cash or any other present from me, kindly accept it as a token of appreciation for enduring cordial relations.
Both now and always.

* * *

After all these years, the one thing I keep falling in love with over and over again is myself. Call it narcissism or accuse me of being full of myself, but I am strongly persuaded and utterly convinced that the only person worth each and every second of my time is (yeah, you guessed right) myself.
In any case, I agree with Whitney Houston that loving oneself is the greatest love of all.

Hey you... I want you, Pete.