Mombasa Road, Twenty Plenty Two and All.

I struggle sometimes, no actually, most times, to make sense of what i am seeing around me. I honestly do not think there is a generation that will match this one. Ladies and Gentlemen, we have taken the trophy. In every category. I mean, which other generation is more vocal and opinionated than this one? Which other generation has radio and tv stations crawling out of the wood work? Which generation has totally, and i mean totally lost respect for each other and its elders? You innocently (or not) post about a random topic like how to cut finger nails, or dust a carpet and the opinions come flying in, makombora mzito mzito. Yaani! This generation takes the cup!! – end of rant.

Anyway, the other day as i was sitting in traffic [it’s become a full time-after-job on Mombasa road these days] i subconsciously started people gazing and in the process, i made quite a few observations. But three stood out – a young man to my left whose radio was blaring old school RnB, wachana na hii kelele ya juzi [not the recent noise we are subjected to in the name of music]. This dude was having a ball!! He was thoroughly enjoying the music. Then to my right was loud kigoco [kikuyu praise] music. At first i was waiting to see an elder gentleman, god father hat and all (because the heat), probably headed to his hardware store hapo chini to collect the day’s sales. Never. Ever. When i finally saw the kigoco driven vehicle, it was a sleek, crisp, shinny, silver lady driven mercedes benz who was dancing in her seat like there was no tomorrow!! She was having a ball. Then there was a Noah, with a visibly impatient man, who kept changing lanes only to end up at more or less the same distance relative to where i was – kujitesa na kujigandamiza.

I concluded that the first two had: a) made peace with the fact that we were stuck in traffic and probably would be for a while and; b) decided to make the most of the situation. They had found a happy spot and occupied it well well. The Noah dude was probably calling the gavment, contractors, workers and the sun all manner of names. A quick self check made me realize i was actually very irritated and frustrated at the road hog habits of Rembo and Embassava Sacco drivers. So, i asked self, Why allow them to rob you the opportunity to enjoy this moment? In fact, why was I stressed about a situation i had little power to change? Why was i worried about the next 5 minutes and totally squandering the opportunity to enjoy the peace and (semblance of) quiet? Or using that time to invest in my personal development? After i dismissed my self-board meeting, i pulled up a video of one of my favorite speakers and hit play. I managed to finish a 50 min video over the next 11Kms – totally worth it.

As we start out this year, many people have probably made plans for this year. In fact, many of us have already hit the road running, chasing the clock and calendar so that by 31 December, we can tick off our list of achievement of this, that and the other. I can only imagine how excited they already are in anticipation of the days ahead. On the other hand, some of us are stuck. Unable to move past an obstacle, a bad experience, the pain of loss or betrayal, or in some cases, memories of past victories. We may even be overwhelmed by the magnitude of our plans and are experiencing analysis paralysis, totally unaware that time is doing what it does best – moving.

I want to encourage you to do one thing and one thing only, regardless of your situation ( yesterday i learnt to say “let us situate the situation”) – you are not alone. We are many occupying either or both categories.

If you are already rearing to go, get those that are like minded to keep momentum and cheer each other on. Motivation alone will not win the war. And if you are stuck – reach out to someone who is several steps ahead and ask for a helping hand. Appreciate the fact that all these thoughts and emotions are helping you identify what needs to be sorted and then, get it sorted. And finally, having done all you can – Stand.

In this year of Mombasa Road (almost done, mercifully), I have chosen to make every inconvenience, delay, pause, detour, halt, denial, answer, open and closed door a learning for me. I am determined to find my happy stops and spots and hit play, then i will stand, or sit, and dance like no one is watching.

Twenty Plenty Two, Mombasa Road and all – Let’s dance.