I turn 40 next week. That’s right, I do. I just never imagined that I’d hit this age one day. Well, except in the last 2 years or so. You see, it’s always easy to think of yourself as forever young. Youth is bliss, you know?
I’ve had a chance to reflect on my life and, oh, what a roller-coaster has it been. Still, I’m truly grateful for it, wouldn’t trade it for anything at all. Because it’s a privilege. To be alive and kicking. I may not have everything, and maybe, just maybe, it’s good I don’t have. That I know. Allow me to share with you snippets of my life and the memories I hold dear.
Now, there’s little that I can remember about the early years of my life, few memories I have for my first decade on earth. Like my former nursery school in Kiambu called St Peter’s and Paul’s, or that large coffee farm (now to be a concrete jungle with all the coffee gone!) where we lived, since my dad worked for the then Brooke Bond Kenya.
My father, being the farm manager, enjoyed some perks. We had cooks, a driver and a gardener, Kasimiri, who, as I recall, would roast for us doves for snack. Yes, doves. We had many sheep, and I remember one in particular that was quite friendly to my siblings and I which we christened ‘Friendy’. Yeah, I know, creativity had left through the back door.
The best of it all was the house. It was huuuuuge! I remember my dad, at times, would use a motorbike to inspect the farm. And when he’d get home, knowing that us poor kids would be unable to outrun the bike as we ran for dear life, he’d chase us around the compound with it and even into the house! It was that huge, it was bigly!!
He did seem to enjoy what he did to us. Like he knew how we loved watching the coffee being watered using sprinklers, so he would take us for walks in the coffee farm then wait for the longer sprinklers to turn in our direction. The end result, walking home wet, all drenched, much to the dismay of my mum.
The farm, being a large one, meant one thing. As siblings, we had to and did learn to work and play together, since one needed to drive to the next door neighbor’s house. We really didn’t have friends, something that made us really enjoy visiting our grandparents during the school holidays.
I got born again at the age of 6 years after listening to a message from one Reinhard Bonnke. Such memories.
Life was to change in the next ten years of my life. My dad quit his job, meaning we had to move from the palatial home to a humble 2-bedroom house in a very packed estate in the city. It was the time I learnt that you can actually have it all one day and lose it all the very next. Life was different. Harder. Interesting.
Interesting in that we started having friends and started using public transport. Somehow this place was exciting for us. But it also meant joining boarding primary schools. And anyone who’s been in such a school knows it can bring about memories that are quite traumatizing and unbearable. Those days of corporal punishment, where teachers seemed to have a reason to beat the pupils EVERYDAY! Why would my parents take me to such a school? I hated it!
It was one of the many reasons that made me work hard to join a great high school. Oh, and high school was heaven in comparison to primary school. I enjoyed it. This was the time I even taught myself how to play the piano since I wasn’t a music student. Funny story, I kept being chased away from the piano room by the music teacher. My persistence, however, paid off and I was given an old piano that the music students weren’t interested in using. And I found my solace there. There’s something great about music.
In high school, I enjoyed dancing and making new friends. I also joined a number of school clubs just to get me out of school. And I learnt how to interact with boys. Yes, boys. However, I still had to put in loads of hours in reading. That’s the main why I was in school. And it did pay off. Another lesson I learnt in that stage of my life.
If my teenage years were a time to learn new things, my next decade I think was defined by this verse in Ecclesiastes 11:9; ‘Rejoice, O young man, in your youth, and let your heart cheer you in the days of your youth. Walk in the ways of your heart and the sight of your eyes. But know that for all these things God will bring you into judgment.’
My twenties were a mix of everything; enjoying freedom from home, meeting new friends (some great, some not so great), mad fun in campus, getting pregnant, losing friends, changing churches, finding a great home in my current church, finding a platform for me to sing, getting my first job, ‘basking in the glory’ of getting male attention (after all there are no bulges to worry about), et cetera.
These were the years, I must admit, that were very crucial to me and have largely shaped me to be the person that I am today. Here I was thinking I was all wise, here I was thinking I’d be forever young. How foolish! For those who had opinions about how I and others my age should live were, according to me, well, just old.
These were the years that formed some friendships that still remain today. Friendships that make me grateful. These were also the years of peer pressure that I faced to get married, like I addressed in my article ‘Romeo, wherefore art thou?’.
And during these years, I learnt how to be a parent under very difficult circumstances. Were it not for the support of my parents, siblings and a few good friends, I don’t know where I would be today. Thank you. You have no idea the impact you have had upon my life!
These were also the years that I learnt that without God, my life is meaningless.
I’m grateful for my 40 years on earth. I want to thank God for all He’s done for me. I now know that even in those good and also dark and sad times, His will was prevailing in my life. And it has all been for my good.