Pure Madness

My thoughts on the "behind the scenes" of life. You will find inspiration here. Share it generously


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Unhappy New Year?

2015

It’s been 365 days since we ushered in 2014 in January (there is a quarter day that is still unaccounted for). This year has been different things to different people. Like every other year, 2014 had its good and bad moments and like its predecessors, it leaves behind scars and stories. Some of which are too deep and dark to share while others too bold and beautiful to remain hidden. All the same, its time to make the so called “New Year Resolutions”; as if someone who had 365 (and a quarter) days to change but didn’t will suddenly get the inspiration to do so now that the calendar has been reset.

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However, human beings thrive on Hope. We are driven by aspirations – the idea of a better day, a better me, a better you and a better living environment. No one anticipates a bad day hence terms like Happy Birthday and Happy New year. It’s an aspiration. A hope that the year ahead will be full of events that will make you happy and not sad.

If someone told you at the beginning of the year that you will have the most difficult year in your life, you would easily slap them for wishing you such a thing right? But how many people despite the numerous people who wished them a “Happy New Year” at the beginning of 2014, still had the worst year of their life!

To you whose 2014 was everything but happy, to you who lost hope in the situation you found yourself in this year, to you who can’t wait for 2015 to get here in anticipation that something or everything will change, take heart. Not because I have a magic wand to wish your disappointment, pain and suffering away. No. Take heart because the end of 2014 means you are a day closer to a better day.

Truth be told, some of us had a great year in 2014 but it might not be so in 2015. It has nothing to do with the year itself. People often say “this is my year” and it ends up being their year to learn a difficult lesson through a difficult situation. None of us are exempt from these life lessons and sadly, we don’t get to choose when they’ll happen either.

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So if you find yourself in an unhappy New Year next year, take heart. Don’t lose hope. Keep believing that the end of every day is as much a gift as the beginning of another. If the New Year doesn’t bring new things you desire but brings with it the same pain and agony 2014 did, don’t lose hope. Tomorrow will come. Nothing can stop it. It will show up without fail. And if your tomorrow comes with the same pain as today did, don’t lose hope. It’s not the end of tomorrows.

But for you whose New Year will be better than 2014, please do enjoy every day of it! You know what it means to have a tough year so look out for those who are not having a good day, a good week, a good month or a good year. Remind them that storms don’t last forever. Sometimes it’s all we need to hear to get back on our feet. Sadly most of us would rather forget the bad old days and only remember the good old days.

Whatever happens in the New Year, good or bad, it will have its purpose and even though at the time it might not feel so, don’t lose hope. Dare to hope that you’ll have a great year in 2015. Hope that you will be happy and that life will be kind to you. But if it doesn’t, hope that you will be strong enough to wait for a better day no matter how long it takes. Hope that you don’t forget the lessons that the New Year will offer – good or bad. Hope that you will be wise enough to see and grab opportunities that the New Year will offer.

Most of all, hope that you will remain true to yourself. The world, your country, your family and your friends will need you. Every day of the New Year will present opportunities for you to be a better you. Grab them. Squeeze all you can from them. At the end of it all, you will be happy for both the good and the bad because both will make you who the person you will become at the end of the year. Don’t forget to celebrate the “little successes”. They will be the wind beneath your wings.

Have a Hopeful New Year.

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Held Hostage by Gangsters …. and the Cake Matron..

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I have always known what to do if I ever came face to face with trigger happy gangsters; obey their thirst. Unfortunately, what my mind knows and what my body does always contradict. The first time someone pointed a gun at me outside my sisters’ gate, I instinctively threw my phone over the gate not caring so much if it would get damaged. Considering the make of the phone and what was at stake (my life), this was a really stupid move. Luckily, the gangsters thought the afterlife did not need a stupid person and so the let me live to become wiser. Did I?

On Jamhuri Day, I attended a friend’s wedding in Kasarani. Sidebar – I have never understood why a simple thing like cutting the cake has become a ceremony. I mean don’t we all know what ingredients in a cake? Surely, why do we need someone to relate the making of a cake to marriage? This particular woman held us hostage for almost two hours talking about a cake that some people did not even get to taste. It’s a wedding not a cooking a show! I still can’t remember 90% of what she said and the 10% I remember is information I will never apply in life – end of sidebar.

So in the evening as I went home, I normally don’t use the 14 sitter matatus – I prefer the mini buses. For some reason I told myself, to get into a 14 sitter because I was in a hurry to get home. In retrospect, I think that cake lady had tampered with my rationale. I even sat right behind the driver next to the door a seat that often ends up being added an extra passenger. See, someone had put something in my drink.

Everything went on as expected. It was 9pm, the conductors were reluctant to do the security checks on passengers boarding and an extra passenger was added to my seat and since I was tired, and hypnotized I went on to listen to my music determined to get home soon enough. When we got to the Bunyala roundabout near Nakumatt Mega, the car came to an abrupt stop and a scuffle ensued between the driver and the passengers seated in front. Someone took over the control of the car. The extra passenger who was sitting next to me must have seen what was going on and took off.

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The next thing I saw was a gun to my face. The thug yelled what I thought was too many instructions at a go. I was tempted to educate him a bit about effective communication but seeing as he had a gun, he was shouting and seemed scared and irritable, I figured he wouldn’t be in the mood to learn either. I quickly removed my earphones and went for my wallet which had about Kshs50. As the gangster shouted at the other passengers I took out my phone and from my pocket and hid it behind the passenger seated next to me. Stupidity at its best; knowing what you ought to do but still not doing it.

Since this guy had seen my ear phones he asked me what I was listening to. This was not your usual “Hi, what are you listening to?” Nope the young fella was shouting at me and threatening to shoot me if I don’t produce my phone. At one point he even started telling the other passengers how he needed to show them how serious he was by shooting me. He at one point tried reaching for his gun until he saw that the person seated next to me had a laptop. He went for it instead.

Every time he took something from someone else he would come back to me and ask me for my phone. Having done Hostile Environment First Aid Training, we were taught not to agitate a “gun holder” by doing and giving them what they want. So I kept telling this 20-something-fidgety-gun-holding-boy that I understand what he is asking for and if only he could stop the vehicle and get out, I would be able to pick my phone from the floor and give it to him.

Strangely, this seemed to agitate him more. What is so wrong with a thug who was hell bent on stealing from us stopping the vehicle to step out so that I get him my phone which “fell” under the seat? He even took my wallet and said to teach me a lesson he would throw away my ID and I would have to get another one. He then asked me to stand and did a thorough search; took my sunglasses and some DVDs I had bought, then gave me back my wallet. I am not sure why but he must have learnt the need to give back to society. After about 20 minutes they dumped us at Industrial Area and took off.

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We went to the police station and even though they quickly notified police on patrol about the incident, they took about two hours to take our statement and even asked us to take them back to the “crime scene” to show them where the thugs dumped us. I got home at midnight not thinking about the cake lady anymore but grateful to be alive and a bit confused at how different I react in a hostage situation. It’s not what I thought I would do or what I have been taught I should do but some things you only find out when you are in the situation.

For now I have earned the right to make all the noise I want about insecurity (not that if you have never been stolen from you can’t make noise).  We need to address insecurity in this country. I am believer in the principle “Live by the sword, die by the same”. So if you are found with an illegal firearm, well … enough said.


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Whatever will be, will be.

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December is often a month of celebrations. It’s a culture that has been adopted across the world. Apart from the “normal Christmas celebrations” many companies have end of year sales and clearing stock offers. Our employers organize end of year parties and school leavers are the target of many sponsored events with everyone trying to make “a kill” out of the jingle bells month.

For some of us, we celebrate the end of a year that has been very good to us. Our prayers were answered, we got the job of our dreams or we got promoted. Some of us got funding for projects we were undertaking while others finally ventured into self-employment and it the business looks good. We traveled the world, bought the car and the house of our dreams married an angel for a spouse everything worked out more than we ever imagined. We are happy. We don’t remember how it felt to have a hard time. It’s not pride, it’s the truth.

For others, they are enjoying the joy of parenthood. After “trying” for a really long time, we finally got a baby. For some our kids started school this year and what a joy it has been to see them learn so many things in school.  Some of our kids actually graduated this year are now preparing for the next phase in their lives. Oh, the joy of parents seeing their kids turn out better than they anticipated!

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There is the other side of the coin though. For some, this year has been a constant nightmare. If life had a “CTRl+ALT+DEL” button some of us would erase this year from their memory, empty the recycle bin and probably even format our hard disks. It’s been a difficult year. Some lost close relatives and friends while others received unbearable news. It has taken effort for you to wake up every morning. The thought of going back to that office or to that house has been such punishment and torture.

If there was a train to “anywhere but here” we would have been so gone. Decisions that seemed right at the time later turned out to our worst choices. How could we not see what kind of person our spouse was? Wasn’t that deal too good to be true? We should have listened to our instincts. Something was wrong with that house girl. But here we are; the consequences of our decisions weighing heavily on us. Where is that “undo” button when you need it?

Maybe for most of us, this was neither a good year nor a bad one. We were just there. The usual. Nothing we couldn’t handle. Most of the things went as planned with the usual disappointments and delays but nothing out of the ordinary. Just life. We applied for a few jobs, we got a few responses, went for a few interviews but couldn’t agree on the perks so we went back to our not so bad jobs.

You started a business venture and broke even, got some profit but it’s OK. Things could have been better but they could have been worse as well so hey. You had a fight with your daughter for getting drunk at the school party but at least she got home safe and she is not pregnant. Your son has become detached and “a bit weird”. He never leaves his room without a fight but at least he is in the house. This has been a “normal” year. Such is life. “Que Sera Sera”. (Whatever will be, will be).

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However your year has been, good or bad what matters most is that you are still here. Your year was great, maximize. Who knows what next year will offer. Memories of the good things that you experienced this year will keep you going if next year is not as good. If you had a bad year you can hope for a better one next year. If you have lost all hope then you are lucky. You cannot be disappointed when you don’t have any expectations.

Time has a way of changing things. It’s the best gift you can get this December. It’s also the best gift you can give to your loved ones and anyone else. So, regardless of whatever you are going through, take time to do something significant for yourself and others. Your worst could be the best to someone else. Your little could be a lot to someone else. Time has a way of changing things. This time next year you will definitely not be where you are this year. Invest your time. Invest it in yourself and invest it in others. Time does have a way of changing things.