I hope this post gets traction as I go along because I honestly don’t know where it or I will end up.
I try to read a lot. This is primarily because there’s a certain peace that comes with enjoying well-crafted words. Words and phrases that speak to you unobtrusively… Words that you resonate with… When it comes to me, I enjoy a good read.
I didn’t want to say Me I… I didn’t.
Yesterday as I was preparing to go home, closing windows and all, someone sent me a link to a post that was talking about millennials and the struggle they go through every day. The writer, a renown Kenyan columnist, and lifestyle blogger were talking about one of his acquaintances who, according to him, hasn’t quite figured out where he wants to be. The post sounded like a transcribed interview so those were probably words plucked from the millennial’s mouth.
I resonated with some aspects of the post. I belong to an age which has so many standards set with as numerous pitfalls, sacrifices, temptations and forces working round the clock to ensure that the future isn’t as promising as its meant to be.
I have never thought of living in a foreign country. I love my homeland to bits. Studying I would because I would have an opportunity to learn from different cultures, expectations, prospects and other ways we can make this homeland better.
Some of my agemates would sell anything including their pride and kidneys for the opportunity to leave this country. A female friend once told me that she would even leave her child behind if only she could pack her bags and start afresh in the US.
I admired her passion as she talked about all she could do overseas.
She is younger than me with a few years.
In her own words, in this country, every obstacle has been erected in an effort to deprive the young person of opportunities that they should be exposed to simply for being Kenyan. Compared to the US for example, Kenya is a hopeless state for any young person with dreams of making it all to better their lives and that of their kin.
That’s one of the struggles I resonate with as a young person.
The older generation, that’s our parents and those who came above them, refer to us as entitled and lazy. These include the civil servants who won’t resign at the age of 70 because they want to keep the plunder going.
These people, who have been in government for ages feel entitled to corporation jobs, government tenders, private jets, clearing of traffic when they want to rush to some young ‘thang’s’ apartment in Kilimani whose age is that of his niece but they have the audacity to call us entitled and lazy.
As young people, we have developed a voice to speak out against incompetence, what we see as plunder and destruction of our future but when we raise these voices to call out ineptitude for what it is, someone takes offense.
We are supposed to be quiet because in their own imagination and sense of entitlement ‘they know better’. They have superior knowledge of what we should study in university, what career path we should take, what jobs we should apply for, how we should dress and address those above us….
We shouldn’t speak up to authority. We should sit, listen, conform and take it.
That’s the mentality that has been inculcated in many of us and one that society has okayed. Society has allowed our futures to be trumped on just because it has happened before and no one had the balls to speak about it.
Our parents were brought up by grandparents who had been through hell as they fought for self-independence during the colonial era. These grandparents had been taught conformity through the Kipande system, denial of basic human rights such as ownership of property, freedom of speech and movement and they ended up passing the same down to our parents.
Even after attainment of self-rule, we replaced the white colonialist with a black version of the same entitlement, dictatorship, oligarchy, authoritarianism, tyranny, and autocracy. As such, the same culture of conformity continued being practiced by our grandparents who passed the same down to our parents.
Growing up, we understood that you couldn’t disagree with a parent or an elder. They were always right. Any attempt at questioning their ‘wisdom’ was met with caning as a way of reminding you who you were and putting you back in your place.
All grown up, they still expect the same conventionality to continue. They expect us to turn the other cheek when they slap us with debts accrued from building unnecessary railways, thieving from public coffers and lack of access to opportunities because their family trees are more Kenyan than every other young person.
That’s our greatest struggle.
Trying to unravel and bring down a system that doesn’t work for the young person. It’s a system that will not allow dreadlocks in a government office just because our colonial masters termed it ‘thuggish’. A system that views the millennial as inexperienced, petty, young and only fit to be governed and told what to do.
It’s a system that will not give a millennial a contract of 10 Million KES because they are not experienced enough to handle such cash when ‘experienced’ persons are stealing money in sacks. The system is built as a safety net to these bureaucrats who live at the expense of a promising generation, stealing the little funds allocated for their betterment at every opportunity they get.
The most unfortunate thing about this whole debacle is that most of us have accepted it as the norm and are trying to work within its enclaves. I don’t blame this on them. I blame it on those who came before us. The only thing they taught us was to go to school for a government job.
“Don’t speak ill of the chief or his ministers. Don’t point out their blunders; you might need them for a job tomorrow or the next day”
They didn’t understand passion or the desire to make a difference in the world. They still do not. They care less about climate change and the environment in which they played a significant role in its destruction
They (our parents and grandparents before them) taught us that we should toe the line if we want to better ourselves tomorrow. They conditioned us to believe that we have to ride on the shoulders of illegality through wheels of illegitimacy and as such oil them if we want to reach our destinations.
Is it really that hard to speak out against injustice and still make something out of oneself tomorrow? I ask myself so often. Thie however became a mind-boggling question when I met a high school friend of mine, who, because she is positioning himself for a government job somewhere, cant call out its incompetence.
Do we really have to choose?
Everything I have said above wasn’t the point of this post.
Struggling with identity is something I do every single day. Having gone to boarding school at the age of 9, I didn’t have the experiences my peers had in day school. I learned to ride a bike alright but what I was supposed to learn from my dad didn’t happen as often as I would have wanted.
I keep going back to that decision of attending a boarding school at that age and ask myself whether it was the right decision and I am yet to get an answer. I learned to do laundry and some other stuff on my own but then at times, I think I was too young to have understood what I was really doing.
Back then I cried a lot.
Then I grew up, finished high school at 16 and proceeded to University even before I turned 18. I was thrilled to be the youngest in most social circles I belonged to but then when I look back I question a lot of that.
I am not sure where I am headed. I wake up every day to make my two companies work but I am not sure what will happen tomorrow or the day after. Will they grow? I hope so…
When my pal Willy got back from the UK, we had coffee at Westlands Mall. During his stay, I had emailed him something about my struggle with existence, the meaning of life, the future, relationships, dreams and basically what it meant to be doing so much with such little return.
It was a warm Tuesday evening. We were supposed to meet at 5:30 but I arrived at 5:45. I had downplayed the traffic during my estimations. When I arrived, he was glued to his laptop and had already ordered ‘dawa’. He was celebrating Honeymoon with Markle and Harry. Haha
I proceeded to order some cappuccino and we had a lengthy discussion about what really matters. Ultimately, we agreed that it was okay not to see the whole road. As long as you can see the stair that you are stepping on and the next, the whole staircase will materialize eventually… If it never does, then don’t worry, you were headed to the wrong floor altogether.
“Ask yourself this, if you died today, what would it mean for the people around you? Who would suffer most? Whose life would never be the same if you took your last breath?” He asked me as he took a sip of his coffee.
A fine lass passed by our table and his eyes followed her.
When she was out of sight he looked at me and we laughed.
“Your parents would suffer, so would your siblings and immediate relatives…your true friends would be affected…” He continued.
“That’s what really matters. The people whose lives would be blurred if you suddenly passed on… Work towards being there for them more often… Treat them well. Care for them and make sure they know that you cherish them. This is because ultimately, that’s the only thing you are in control of…”
Contracts will come and go, job offers will be there at one time and disappear in the next but find out what’s constant through this process and make sure that you conserve it as most as you can.
I have been struggling with the idea of having children. Be as it may, children are a blessing from God. No one disputes that… But why should I have children when I still don’t have my life figured out? Whats the need of bringing another being to struggle in this world when I still can’t handle the curve balls life throws at me?
People keep telling us you start figuring things out once you get married and have kid(s). I don’t believe in that BS for a second. Struggles, just like DNA will be passed down to our children if we are not careful and we don’t plan ahead as we should.
Why should I have to do that (pass down my struggles to my children) when I can choose not to.
I might be obsessing about the future but then, what else is there to do when so many things aren’t working as they should? How do I bring a child to a world where the price of every prerequisite of a secure livelihood has shot up; from education to quality healthcare to land ownership and housing?
I might not know what I am saying because I am a millennial so let me stop.