Silver linings

24

Yesterday I made some follow up calls again, to potential sponsors for our anniversary dinner. Indeed, some people avoided them-again.
Cathy picked up.
She knows who I am but she let me go through a lengthy introduction. That was fine.
Finally, I reminded her that I had been following up and needed to know when the best time was for me to check in for the verdict.
Her: Don’t call me. I am the one who will call you!
Her tone! Gosh,not even the tinniest ant was bigger than me in that moment.
I said thank you, hang up and looked up to the heavens like ‘WHY, God, WHY?!
It seemed like for every two steps made, I go back 10.
A few hours later, I went to the 4040 meeting and we discussed our plans. The memory was fresh in my mind, along with all the disappointments that seem to occur daily. Then during the meeting, I had a moment.
I looked around, I was in the company of 4 friends, two of whom had their babies back at home.
Each of these individuals could have been anywhere else but here they were brainstorming away, past 9pm on a work day. The staff of the restaurant started to clean up as a hint, but there we were planning away.
Them,together with several others have sacrificed a good chunk of their time,resources, skills,emotions and so much more to make the dream work.
Some have come and gone but their impact is still felt and they made their contribution.
In the beginning, I did almost everything single handedly because I couldn’t bear to be let down by another;to have someone else to blame. But here we are, 5 years later; still meeting weekly;bonding over that black tea🍵 and doing whatever it takes to stick together like the family we now are.
I do not take that for granted.

 


So, of course these ‘worldly disappointments’ will knock me down now and again..but I hope I never lose sight of all the little miracles that have come my way along this journey. One of these miracles at the very top, is this amazing team that I am proud of, now, always.

Originally posted on 24th March

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Sacrifice

Am I the only one who thinks of the Elton John hit.. *breaks into song* “..but it’s not Sacrifice…..when I read that word? No? Okay. Moving on.

It’s drizzling as I type this. Most of my errands today involved a boda boda. In some cases, it is actually one that will take me from point A, to B and then C, while the rider waits for me to make some drop offs. As if that is not enough, I woke up with a cold in the middle of the night. The universe surely has something to say to me. I am smiling to myself because you can make plans for an entire year and in the end, half or less will work out the way you envisioned they would. Does that mean you stop planning? Definitely not!
When I noticed this week had a public holiday. I was overjoyed. Unlike most people, it was not because of the rest that these days tend to come with. It was the fact that I could get my team together for longer hours instead of the usual Thursday evening meetings. This time, we would leave while the sun was still out, or so I hoped.
When I mooted the idea, a few people suggested Wednesday night instead, so that they could rest on Thursday. Others just remained silent, probably thinking “Catch me leaving my bed.” I can certainly relate.Everyone needs a break.  ‘Jane’ assured me she could not come because she had to rest and insisted that we change the date. I encouraged her to take the rest but assured her the deliberations would still  go on as planned. She could  still get the updates.
I thought about our chat for a long time after that. 4040 has been one sacrifice after another for the past 3 and a half years. Some weekends and holidays are cramped with strategy meetings while the rest of the week sees most of the team receiving pressure from their 8-5 jobs,families and life in general. It just never stops. At 4040, you will get a thank you and “I am proud of you” now and then, and it is expected to be enough. Every so often, we shall have a retreat or a thanksgiving day but I guess one would argue that does not put food on the table. Something inside of you needs to speak to you, to make you believe/ understand why you do what you do.
People have walked into our doors and left, others have walked in and stayed, some have one foot in and another out depending on the situation, many more are yet to come. It is a quite a mix. It all comes down to what and how much of that you are willing to sacrifice.
At the end of the day, each individual has to decide why they do what they do. Whether it is for the passion, fun, fame, fortune, camaraderie, survival or simply as a pastime before your next fix, you and only you can determine that ‘one thing.’

Yesterday my friend and I were discussing a post we loved on ‘Humans of New York in which this gentleman worked at a restaurant as a maitre d’ (manager)  for 13 years. One day he was hospitalised for pneumonia and while he lay in hospital, he realised he didn’t want to return to his job. His ‘aha moment’ came when he watched a motivational speaker on t.v that said “Think back to what made you happy when you were young. That’s what you should be doing.” He remembered that he loved dogs and it would be great to become a dog walker. Long story short, he made a uniform soon as he got better, got his friends to wear it and they handed out business cards. He is  is now thoroughly enjoying his life.

HONY

In his words “I’ve been walking dogs for 14 years now. I’m the Pied Piper of dogs. I can walk five dogs in one hand, and five dogs in the other hand, and I can tell you which one needs to poop.”
Do you see how it really is about the little things?
During our meeting yesterday, we planned for a literacy project that we are launching at a Primary school in Kibuli today. We have a skit prepared for the little children from the story @The boy who cried wolf.”
As we acted, we had so many great laughs, including from some unserious sheep (Yes, sheep, because the story has sheep!) who were laughing instead of bleating and dying when attacked by the wolf. Meanwhile the wolf was roaring instead of howling. Smh <Remind me to hire people who went to acting school next time>
In that moment, I knew that we would be okay. See, it does not benefit you to have 100 people in your life who are there because they need something from you or because they have to be there. The ones who truly count are the 5 who are with you, because they want to be.

I shall be updating you on what the 132  (P.1 and P.2) pupils of St, John Baptist Primary School think of our acting plus our plan to make them fantastic readers/writers.
In the meantime, let me gulp my lemon-ginger-honey-garlic concoction and hit the road.

P.S: I can’t for the life of me remember why I wrote this but I feel better.
Have a fabulous weekend!

Life; Live it-Love it!

I once watched an episode of Grey’s anatomy in which a patient was diagnosed with lung cancer.
She was  against the idea of surgery because she was scared of death.
That was not all, however,she had spent her entire life trying to do right, follow the rules, be good. She had never smoked nor sipped an alcoholic beverage and yet here she was, battling lung cancer.

The possibility of death made her realise she needed to ‘live more.’ She began to eat a lot of junk, drink herself silly and slept with a stranger, among other things, to make up for the years she ‘lost.’

Whereas I have lived a life I am mostly happy with, I could relate with this feeling. *Never mind that she was a fictional character, blonde and what not*

Just this weekend I wished I was an alcoholic or at least a social drinker. I needed a ‘quick fix’ to the disappointment and pain that lurked within my heart. Perhaps a few drinks would give me the ‘forced joy’ I badly needed. However, when you have a conscience as loud as mine, you think about these things, maybe even say them out loud, then you take a bath and go to bed.

“Don’t you ever get the feeling that all your life is going by and you’re not taking advantage of it? Do you realize you’ve lived nearly half the time you have to live already?” 

You do know what I mean, right? Sometimes you think; ‘There’s gotta be more to life.’ Of course each action has its repercussions but hey, if it is for the right reasons, I guess it is worth a try.

I have been thinking a lot about all the things I have always wanted to do whether simply for fun,adventure or outright curiosity. I can start to consciously ‘chase’ each of those in my power. Why? Because no one else will do it for me.

“…No– but ours is a journey into ourselves, a walk with God every day! Ours is a book that we write, a smile, a love, a tear, a lust, an awakening, a learning, a joy, a laughter, a memory, a dream, a vision, a love, a love, a love and a love. Our life is now. And Heaven is always there, but this life isn’t always there, but this life isn’t always here. Heaven is always there for us but this life is a gift to us!

When I quit my job three months ago, I completely had no plan. I mentally gave myself till December to decide what I wanted to do with my life. It was a bold and perhaps stupid move, but it was my decision.

I have always believed in making my own mistakes. For example, I would rather get a job on my own where I am paid peanuts, rather than have a hook up by a brother to my friend’s dad. In the event that I mess up, or excel for that matter, the boss should be able to blame/praise me not whoever was the middle man.

It was this conviction that made it easy for me to respond adequately when ‘concerned parties’ asked “What next, How can you quit without a plan?” and other related queries. Those who understood, however, knew that for me to walk away from something, I must have good reason.

I digress.

All these months later, I have managed to somehow survive. I am pretty sure if I put my mind to it, I can last several more months.

My point? If you have an option, do not stay in an unhappy relationship, sad work place or failing business. Work towards a plan to walk out, to survive after you move on, to be happy with your choice, and ensure the life you are living is yours; not so  your spouse, boss or family can be happy but so you can be happy.

Everyday really is an opportunity to start over.

“Existing is going through the motions of life with no zeal and feeling you have no control; living means embracing all that this large world has to offer and not being afraid to take chances. The beauty of living is knowing you can always start over and there’s always a chance for something better.”

I have a list of those things I want to do, some have timelines others don’t. In case yours is somewhere at the back of the mind, try and write/type it out.  Tell a close friend or two. Once you are done, begin to organise it; what can be done now, what should wait, which one needs savings, company etc. It helps.

I will use an example from my life. This year I did not make resolutions, just a few goals and promises to myself.

Not all of them became reality but some did plus I have one month to tray and fulfill the rest.

I love to travel, I have several dream destinations. I ‘live them’ through photographs, movies or my friends who have been there. Maybe I will visit them one day, maybe I won’t but in the mean time, why not tour my very own Uganda?

It is as easy as navigating google, having a few conversations or even reading travel pieces/guides.

This year I have taken a few mini holidays on a tight budget. Even after everyone said Gulu was such an expensive town, I found my unemployed self managing to stay over for several days and not being imprisoned for failing to pay for drinks and a meal.

There have been weekend getaways with friends to Jinja and Entebbe, oh plus Bule island off Ggaba. Small and affordable but they brought me so much joy.

I know people who earn three times what I used to earn that are envious when I share tales of these escapades. This is simply because they have not tried.

Some individuals and companies have made it their business to make travelling a whole lot more convenient and accessible in and around Uganda. See Sabili and Roundbob. These are just the ones I know.

Don’t be afraid to ask or indulge 🙂

“What’s the good of being alive if you don’t do anything?”

In semi-related news,I am skeptical about receiving ‘gifts’ in  form of grand gestures, heck I even raise my brows at small ones, especially if they are directly ‘for me.’ Although I am comfortable when it doesn’t benefit me. Once I see it coming, I sometimes think, ‘What is this person’s motive?’ ‘ How will I repay them?’ It is wrong but you know, I can’t help it.

The irony is that I am often in people’s business, trying to know how and when to help/jump in or whatever it is called. Yes, it is a flaw that I am aware of.

So, in a bid to practice what I preach, I am going to try and be more welcoming of these displays of affection, whether small or otherwise and just..you know, ‘go with the flow.’

“You could continue to repress and think about the life you could have had or you can take what you want from life and see that the world finds that person infinitely more irresistible…

If it is a new expensive phone(that you can afford) which will make you more cheery and keep you busy, walk to that shop and buy it without remorse, If the girl you have had a crush on for years is in a failing relationship, go ahead and tell her how you feel. She might never leave the douche, and you may not get a chance but what good is keeping this info bottled up when you are not certain about tomorrow?

“I don’t want to be that kind of person…so afraid of making a wave that I never swim at all.”

 This reminds me, must swim too! 😉

ocean

I have always been terrible with taking risks, in a way, I still am.. However, this year has taught me to follow my heart even when I know it will get bruised..but then again, to also have the wisdom to withstand a small cut on myself instead of inflicting a full-bloody wound on someone else.

The trouble with life is not that it ends too soon, it is that we take so long to begin it.

Oh and before I go, I urge you to use your skill, it might not be direct like a beautiful singing voice or magic with the paint brush. Maybe your laughter is infectious so you need to continue lightening up the mood of those around you. Perhaps you are great at bargaining and can use this to be a shopping buddy to those that need it or better still become a personal shopper for them..Maybe you make great business decisions and yet tonnes of people around you have money saved up without proper direction..<Insert relevant skill/talent> The list is endless and you know what? The time is now!

“Every year I live I am more convinced that the waste of life lies in the love we have not given, the powers we have not used, the selfish prudence that will risk nothing, and which shirking pain, misses happiness as well. No one ever yet was the poorer in the long run for having once in a lifetime ‘let out all the length of the reins.”