Wealth, Survival and everything in between

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Wealth: “An abundance of valuable possessions or money.”

This journey has neither brought me money nor ‘valuable possesions’ in the sense of precious stones, assets or sports car to show off😉 but it has opened my heart to different kinds of wealth.

When I decided to leave formal employment, I will admit I didn’t really have a plan when it came to finances and how to survive. I didn’t take time to think about the next few years; about investments and anything of the sort..I just left.

I am fast approaching the 3-decade mark. I live at home with my parents. I do not have vast acres of land that my great grand parents left me and my collective wealth lies in a ridiculous number of notebooks (which Suzan already booked)

Do I think about the fact that my peers drive to the cafe when we meet up for tea and all I have are ‘boda tales?’ Yes. Have I watched them move house and gradually stock up their dream homes? Yup.
Do I celebrate them when they get a raise or purchase a piece of land? Definitely!
Am I present when they exchange their vows and bring life into this world? Me, my emotions and yet-to-be-perfected ululations represent in full swing!😊
So, what is the plan?

Am I waiting for that fine day when I will win the lottery or am I convinced that I will marry into wealth?😮

 

 

I did two interviews last week and both journalists were keen to hear how I ‘survive.’ I smiled knowingly.
I do talks and when it is ‘Q&A’ time, as sure as we are of meeting a pothole along our daily paths..that question does come up. Sometimes, I try to slip the response in before it is asked.
My favourite concern comes from my supposed loved ones; who have never so much as shown interest in the work that I do or how I got there; who neither applaud not offer positive words but when they get a chance, they pull me aside to ask “When will you get a job?
“Didn’t your parents do enough by taking you to school, why are you still burdening them by staying at home?” For some, their solution is marriage. Of course, take my burdens elsewhere, why don’t I? While we are on this, which ‘free’ forest is open for me to come and pick the poor victim of this union?😒

Is it easy to live a life in which you don’t expect a monthly pay cheque,rent from your tenants, *insert other sources of income* ? Nope
Am I blind to how fast paced the world is and all the things made easier by the presence of money and his friends? Negative
Now let me ask you?
Do people who have a stable income and the ability to provide for themselves and their families still have problems?
Back to the definition of wealth, shall any of us take our ‘money and valuable possessions’ on our trip six-feet under?

The truth is that there is probably nothing anyone with great intentions (or not) will tell me about my survival needs that I haven’t thought of; not to mention I am my biggest critic.
After their annual check up on my status, they go back to their lives and I keep living mine.
Most importantly, the person I am most answerable to here on earth is…ME.
This means I get to decide what is comfortable and enough for ME. Isn’t it just great?!

Some people receive satisfaction from seeing the number of zeroes on their bank statements, others derive it from looking at all their assets; for some, joy is in the form of their family or loved ones; the list is endless.

You find someone giving their all because they believe in a cause;it gives them purpose, fills their hearts,brings them closer to their dream and literally gets them up in the morning daily and it is legal/not affecting you in anyway but your first instinct is to poo all over because your life’s mission is to play ‘devil’s advocate.’

Quick one: Kikulumira wa? (Loosely translated; “how does it affect you?”) I am speaking to the ones who ask, not with the purpose of offering to help but so that they can ridicule or confirm that you’re better than person X. Why?
Seriously though. WHY?!

I would like to say this from my brief experience;
Take comfort in your big dream even if it is unevenly matched by small savings; sit tight in that taxi or on that boda boda knowing well that it will not always be like that; and so what if it is? You do get from point A to B, no?
Desist from comparing yourself to people even if you were raised in the same household, heck even if you’re twins! ; our paths are different and THERE IS A TIME FOR EVERYTHING. Now, this is difficult to put into practice, I can tell you that I battle with it often; especially if you feel you deserve better, you have invested too much time, your blessing is taking too long or your hard work has come to naught. I urge you, Keep at it. Talk to someone whom you know is on your team; keep learing and improving yourself as an individual; find solace in the higher power you believe in. So everything it takes!
If it helps you get up in the morning then clearly you need/want it.
AND;
If for whatever reason, you find yourself doing something which doesn’t bring you any pleasure and/or satisfaction but simply because society ‘approves.’ Stop. Re-evaluate. Look around you. Ask yourself if ‘they’ really deserve you and what you have to give.

I am not an authority at all, but as I type this. I am living my dream with the most minimal resources you can think of.
I am not wealthy by dictionary definition but I have found a way to get work done using other people’s resources. Along the way, I have learnt countless lessons and God knows I have amassed wealth in form of people and bountiful love
The mention of my surname doesn’t cause earthquakes or get work done and every other day is a new battle.
There are still so many people, including those I love who think this is a phase, a pastime that I will snap out of and my goodness there is so much I haven’t figured out!😨😥😢
Nonetheless, still I rise and I am glad to share that in all its imperfection, I would still choose this life.😊😍

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On green grass..

 

I met Doreen at a birthday party recently. We had not spoken in a long time so I chose to walk with her when she decided to leave. She had updated me on the progress she was making over time and I was impressed. Not only was she rising up to senior management at her day job, she was also running a successful side business. Doreen and her brother were in the process of building their mom a house, a development I had only learnt of that night.

When we got to her car, I expressed my admiration for her as an ‘independent woman.’ I told her I could only imagine how difficult it was for her to get to where she was even if I wasn’t privy to the back story.

The turn this conversation took left me flabbergasted, to say the least. “How can you pretend that you applaud my work yet you are the one who is successful? I see you in the papers at work, on facebook when I log onto my computer and then again on t.v when I get home.”
It took me about 10 seconds to pick my jaw up from the ground and another 30 to compose myself. She had blurted out this unexpected response without so much as minimal acknowledgment of the compliment(s) she had received.

In that moment, I wanted to say a quick good night and return to the party. At the same time, I needed to explain a few things about life to this woman. I chose the latter.

I shall use two of the relevant dictionary definitions for success that I found; “The accomplishment of an aim or purpose.”
“The attainment of fame, wealth or social status.”
I believe each of us consciously or sub consciously has an idea of what success means to them.

I urge you to take a minute to think  about what your definition of success is.

Now, if that is done;imagine a world in which there was no society to ‘tell you’ what to do, peers to ‘compete’ with or people to impress. If you had to only make yourself ‘happy,’ would that still be your definition or would you alter it a bit?

As I write this, I am reminded of Mrs. Bucket(pronounced Bouquet) and her antics in the sitcom “Keeping up appearances.” While it was funny, it is sad that many of us spend our lives like this woman who did everything to ooze class and wealth despite the reality of her less than royal lifestyle.

bucket 1

 

bucket 2

As if our spines were not already fickle enough, the emergence of social media has made it that much more difficult for (especially) young people to water their grass diligently. You need not look too far to find the ‘greener grass’ that shall keep you up at night if you so choose. Photo of a new car on Instagram followed by a long mushy post complete with the picture of a huge diamond ring on perfectly manicured nails when you cross over to Facebook. You think you have had enough so you run to whatsapp  for the silly jokes. Alas, everyone in your group chat is congratulating your friend upon her first class Master’s degree, in engineering no less. Will you ever catch a break?

The answer is no. For as long as you don’t learn to appreciate what you have and be happy for others, yours shall be a long life of dissatisfaction.

At the end of the day, we are all human beings, undergoing human experiences.

Joan got married to a ‘successful’ man whom her father approved of and their marriage lasted all of 2 years. She is a divorced single mother at 26.Mark and Becky have been in a relationship for 10 years. It is now a long standing joke that they should not get married lest they ‘mess it up.’

Julius works for a multinational company, great salary, big car with a chauffeur, allowances you can only dream of; but he tells me he has never felt so useless in his life. Basically his job is being done by him and 5 others. Joe, on the other hand has a start up that essentially provides rent, food, transport and the occasional drink. He boasts that he has found meaning in his life but if in 3 years things stay the same, he’ll flee.

Lisa’s son, Max is a product of a one night stand. After a life of having everything handed to her on a silver platter, he was her first real reality check. Her parents disowned her and she has no contact with her son’s father. Nonetheless, she quickly learnt to ‘hustle’ and discovered talents she did not even know she had. She is now an interior designer and almost-full-time mom who manages her own time and schedule. This little boy was once described as a mistake but he gave her a new lease on life. In fact, he saved her.

The list goes on and on. I am sure you and many people you know are living a life completely different from the one they or their parents had for them. That’s just how it is.

Imagine your life and its complexities, from the day you were born. Now, what makes you think that person who is ‘better than you’ has no challenges? They do, you may just never see them; just like not everyone who ‘knows’ you has heard the story of how you went hungry and slept on the floor when you hit rock bottom.

I think it is healthy to look over the fence once in a while and say hello to the neighbour, even help him carry his groceries. As long as when you get home, your conversation isn’t “I wonder whom Jack had to rob to build such a house” but rather “Honey, we are blessed to have such a good life and we should keep working hard to make it even better for the kids,”

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