Sunday, December 16, 2012

Getting off the sidewalk

Sidewalks can be such a bore!
Have you ever taken a stroll at midnight on the streets-with the bright lights, night breeze and nothing but your heart beating with every step? Sometimes I look back and wonder how possible this would be in Nairobi, given how crime and drug addiction are on the increase. But, at times try and take a round trip around town at night-get on a bus and just go back and forth-looking at people and seeing what the nightlife is like.
But, that aside- sidewalks are there to keep pedestrians safe.
You can also call them pavements if you choose.
I have often believed that life is all about creation. For we were created- and through that we too can create in our own way. I am talking about every little thing that you do. When you are reading this post, talking, texting, listening or working-you are in the process of achieving something. It could be a positive or negative result depending on how you view it. Humans also value life in their own way. That's why we create cars. These cars have to be driven on roads. So we create roads- and these roads have to lead to various places. Then we create lanes, and have traffic lights and bumps and signs to be followed. But for those who do not want to use cars, they can walk or maybe use another form of transportation-so why not have sidewalks too?
Why do we need sidewalks?
To keep pedestrians safe.
Fast forward to life and personality- and sidewalks mean playing it safe. It means choosing to stay on the sidewalk even when you desire to cross over to another side! At times we have to get out of our comfort zone- even if it seems like the most irrational choice ever. I am known to love being on the road and talking to strangers. I also snack as I walk. But this post was solely inspired by a friend who has been talking about quitting her job for the past one and a half years. Hilarious, right?
She called me a while back for a cup of coffee. I knew she needed my advice because my true friends don't offer me coffee unless they really want to spend some time with me. I know them that much.
So, we started talking and she said she had thought of starting a small cake shop in their estate-but hasn't gotten to it. She said she needed money to buy an oven and a gas cylinder and it was what was holding her back all the time. She earns around thirty thousand shillings a month-and she said she'd been saving ten thousand shillings for a while. I did the math and figured she had around one hundred and eighty thousand shillings-but she simply said she hadn't gotten there. So, she figured she could push it to next year given that her boss had given her a raise of five thousand shillings. I told her "get off the sidewalk." She laughed and told me to do the same.
I smiled and told her, I crossed roads every day-that's why life on the road is such a thrill to me. She said-she wanted to save up for this, but when I asked if she'd done any marketing- she was stumped. I'll leave out the other details and ask-are you still on the sidewalk. Like my friend, you can save all you want for an initiative, but somehow, money doesn't count unless you have your grit. If you are willing to stick things through then you are good. If not, there's a lot more you have to learn and it is not easy. Most people become content and fail to challenge themselves or push themselves to achieve better things. Just because you have what you want now, doesn't mean you have all you'll ever need. And what is most neglected is learning.
I am not talking about books, exams, classes or advanced degrees-those fall under education. Learning is making meaning of an experience such that your actions and thoughts are not the same afterwards. You learn when you open up yourself to change, to a goal higher than where you are now. The best way you can do so, is by getting out of your comfort zone-by truly getting off the sidewalk.

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Hate less, Love more: Fear less, Hope more.