When the year started, we had big dreams, goals, and plans. 2020 was going to be our year. The year careers were to take off, the year we get the promotion, get married, or talk to our crush. It was the year we would, let’s say, travel to Venice, make more money and build a house or buy that car. We had everything planned out. We had the sketch, the blueprint, the direction life would follow, but how wrong were we.
We made plans with people, not knowing they wouldn’t live those moments. We loved people we didn’t know we’d lose and had baby showers for children who wouldn’t see this world. Life was normal until it wasn’t. Things were going well until they weren’t. We were living until we started falling like leaves, and have been falling since. Wilting, drying and dying.
2020 shook us to the very core and made us question our beliefs, lifestyle and everything else. It made me realize that as bad as things are, they can always get worse. Life doesn’t always turn out the way you expect and shit happens to you even when you have a shit shield on. Most times, we think we are in control of our jobs or our loved ones, until things slip through our fingers and we realize we were never in control. We are never in control. Life changes in an instant and we must adapt.
Here are not so serious lessons I learnt in 2020, because what do I know?
- Life is funny
I never knew there’d come a point in life where people would go crazy over toilet paper. It seemed like the most important thing in life. People forgot about bananas and avocados and chapos for a moment, and focused on toilet paper. It’s like there was a serious case of diarrhea outbreak, where we would die covered in toilet rolls and get buried wrapped in them.
2. The important thing in life, is life itself
We tend to shift our attention, focus on the wrong things and take life for granted. We assume waking up is something ordinary. Typical. Guaranteed. We think breathing is normal. But it isn’t. Tomorrow isn’t promised. Neither is good health. We are only one diagnosis away from a life-threatening illness. Breathing, being present, being here is everything.
3. You have to learn to be happy through the good and the bad
Happiness is not the absence of chaos but learning how to live with the chaos. How to get it under control. Learning how to live with the gaping holes in our hearts because happiness is not a level you reach. You just live it.
4. People will judge you for the wrong reasons and that’s okay
You don’t stab them or call them a jerk. Sometime back, someone accused me of putting mchele in their drink. Me. Imagine. I was moving a table and his drink happened to be there, and he swore he saw me putting something in it. He even said his drink looked different and had a lot of bubbles which was extraordinary. Never have I wanted to drug someone so much in my life, so I could prove a point.
5. Check up regularly on friends, family and strangers
When people are going through a lot, they withdraw from people. Sometimes they might not and may appear to look okay while deep down they are drowning. Someone said, a person who is drowning doesn’t look like they’re drowning. When you’re drowning you can’t call for help, you can’t wave your arms, you just sink. Your family can be standing on the beach waving cheerfully to you, completely unaware that you’re dying.
Checking up on someone is like helping them open a window in their lives. And when the window is open, sun floods the room, love and so much more.
6. Love deeply, hold lightly
Someone told me this was their most important lesson and it excited me because I’ve learnt to live by it.
I think it’s the attachment that hurts most in relationships. Not love. When we love people, we want to own them. We want to possess them. We want to cling on to them and breathe them like air. We want to put them in a cage, so they don’t leave, mpaka subconsciously we make them live life by our own terms. And that’s not love. You can’t own love or the person you love. Love is when you love them into freedom and give them the space to be themselves. This is where the roots of love lie.
7.Save money for the rainy days and have a different source of income
This was the year that saw a lot of people lose their jobs. Relationships changed and ended because people couldn’t provide what they were used to providing. There’s never security in employment. One day you wake up, and you don’t have your job and the title that defined you. And then what? Life can go downhill from here. Because where do you start, especially in the middle of a freaking pandemic? Nothing is as scary as waking up and you have nothing and you can’t even feed yourself and you are an adult. Guess this is the flipside of adulthood.
8. Go with the current, go with the flow
Don’t fight the waves, when they come, because they always do. Instead flow with them and allow them to go right through you. The beauty in life lies in embracing the uncertainty. Learning to be vulnerable to live fully, but tough enough to survive it all.
10. We never know people until we get to know them
Don’t judge a book by its cover or dismiss someone because their breath smells. You might assume they are dirty people, but you will be surprised by how clean they are and maybe their breath smells because of a bad case of halitosis. The problem comes in when you have to kiss them.
11.Life is now, enjoy the moment while it lasts
There are so many beautiful moments I missed because my mind was already living the following day, overthinking situations and creating a million scenarios in my head. I’ve come to learn that it’s good to slow down. To breathe and make every moment worthwhile.
12. The point of life is progress
We put so much pressure on ourselves and put timelines and deadlines to everything and live life like it’s a destination to get to. Like we need to be married and have children at this age because, you know the biological clock is ticking and no one would want us at 30 or so we think. But the important lesson is the progress and the lessons learned along the way.
13. Sometimes things are not what they seem to be
I met this beautiful lady somewhere and she had this round ass and before the night ended she kissed me. Things were moving pretty fast and I couldn’t tell her to slow down. I thought she liked me and that’s why she rubbed her ass on me over and over again. Accompanied me to the washroom and looked me in the eyes when we talked. Kumbe it was nothing. In fact, her boyfriend was there the whole time and one of us was going to home with her. And it wasn’t me.
14. Don’t reject yourself before someone else has the chance to
You are enough. You have what it takes. You are an amazing being. You just need to believe and be confident in yourself.
15. It’s good to have a watchman who’s drunk like all the time
My friend had to sneak, like move from his apartment because of rent arrears and were it not for the guard being drunk, this wouldn’t have been possible. So I guess a drunk guard comes in handy.
We don’t know if 2021 will be kinder or better, but hey we got this far. Happy 2021.