I will cut to the chase with the niceties. We both know why I am writing. So let’s dive right through it.
Back in the day, I had this amazing drive to grow up and become an adult. I vividly recall when I was 10, I couldn’t wait to become a teenager. Then I hit 12 and almost felt like running all the way to 13. I finally hit 13, 14 and couldn’t stop reeling over the mere thought of getting to 20. In my mind, I felt that I had overgrown teenage life and hated the very idea of attending a Teens’ Service’ at ACK St. Andrews, Zimmerman Estate where I grew up. In fact, I don’t remember attending more than two teen services. I always went straight to the main church, and booked myself a seat in between adults at the front pews; that way I knew an usher would feel embarrassed to pull me back to my ‘rightful’ place. And man, time moved slowly! To date, I feel like it took me three years to finally get to 20 years! But the irony of it is that when I finally did, I barely noticed it. Since then, life has taken a fifth gear. Before I could settle into 20, I was already 21. Then 22 and 23 feel like they actually walked into my life holding hands – at the same time. And that’s how I finally got to 26. Just like that!
Throughout my entire life, I have always aimed to get ahead of myself. And more often than not, I have failed to savor present moments. But as I turn 26 today, I feel the need to document life lessons that I have picked up along this treacherous road called Life. Most of these are my own life lessons, while others came through my interactions with amazing human beings and books I have come across. And they don’t just apply to you at 26 years. For me, these are valuable lessons for anyone cruising through life irrespective of age. I have compiled them into ten nuggets as you can see below:
- You have achieved many things at your age. But don’t ever let that get into your head, because when it does, you will think that Life owes you something. It doesn’t. No one does, unless you lent them money (even that in some cases becomes bad debt). Go through life knowing that everything you get out of it is a gift, not an obligation. That way, you will become a man of gratitude.
- It is important to have ambition. In fact, it is a necessity for Life. But while you pursue your dreams, be keen to enjoy the present. Savor it to the fullest because in the end, the present is what tomorrow becomes your anchor of what your journey of life has been. So don’t live life always thinking about what you want to get or do tomorrow. Rather, think about what today has brought your way. That will bring you small joys. And life is all about these joys.
- There are many rooms in life, but there is never room for modesty. Never be modest or apologetic about your dreams, ambitions, thoughts or plans. Be gracious and open minded to accommodate divergent views, but never be apologetic about who you are. Because when it’s all said and done, no one will matter more to you than YOURSELF.
- Life isn’t always about winning. Sometimes you will lose, as you have already realized by now. There will times when you will easily get jobs, opportunities and easily wade through life. But then there will be moments when you will come face to face with steep slopes. Life will become an uphill task at some point. But don’t give up when it does. Celebrate with moderation when you win, but also learn to lose honorably without losing your enthusiasm for life. It is okay to lose and to fail. Just don’t remain there.
- Happiness is a myth so don’t bother pursuing it. Rather, concern yourself with things that bring utmost good to yourself and to others in the long term. Treasure the small acts of kindness and service. Live up to your words. Check up regularly on your family and friends. Try and laugh at yourself. Strike a conversation with a 5 year old. Go out to the highway and start waving at people driving your dream cars. Take a slow walk or a drive in a posh estate and marvel at the serenity and magnificence of the structures. Visit very high end hotels even without money on you, and walk around like you are one of its founding members if it’s a club. Do these things (and other small but ‘stupid’ things) consistently and the world around you will say you are a happy soul. But don’t fall for this because happiness is always a myth you will need to conquer daily.
- Go back to your old dreams. Revisit old manuscripts and scribblings you made in your teens and your early twenties. Try and remember what you told your parents you want to be. Reel over the fantasies you once had. Think about those dreams you deserted because you thought they were too big for you. If you do this consistently, you are most likely going to find your true life purpose, and be able to answer Life’s biggest question: Why am I here?
- Take time daily to meditate. Think about God’s grace in your life. Go through some of your personal achievements, and thereafter, your plans for the near future. Finish by asking God to bring them to fruition. Because thoughts beget things.
- Life is a marathon and not a 100m dash. So learn to pace yourself. And don’t ever go out of your track or compare yourself with anyone else apart from yourself. Occasionally, take time to look back on your journey and take stock of your gains. And then continue running, don’t stop.
- If you are ever faced with an opportunity to run for credit or taking the blame, embrace the latter. It is what develops your personal responsibility.
- Whatever you do or wherever you go to, go with all your heart. Because you can replace many things in life, but you will never find a replacement for enthusiasm anywhere on earth.
This list could be longer, but then again, life is really never that serious. And I shouldn’t be too, at 25.
You are now officially 26. Unfortunately, 27 is only 11 months away. Which means you need to do everything you can before she gets here (and believe me, she will do so FAST – I have seen it before) so that when she finally does, she will be proud when she sets her eyes on the man you will have become.
Happy birthday Kinaga. See you again at 27!
You at 25.