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“What if you got what you wished for? How different would your life be?”

More money

Good health

Promotion at work

Better interpersonal and social relationships

…etc.

We claim these things – and more – would make us enjoy and love our lives more. But what really happens when we get what we want?

2019 was that kind of story for me. I won’t say I had it all – I didn’t – but as I reflect on my 2019, I realize I’ve had a lot of the stuff I wanted, and yet 2019 has been a year of mixed emotions for me. It wasn’t my saddest year, but by the time I’d hit mid-year, I was convinced it definitely wasn’t gonna be my best year either, despite the many opportunities that came my way in 2019.

To understand where I’m coming from, let me take you back… back to 2014. I had just ended a long-term relationship and moved to Nairobi. I didn’t know anyone besides the people I worked with. I’d tried to join social groups but could never truly fit in. I was mad lonely, so I did the one thing I could do – WORK! And so, I put my time into work and work-related social activities. I had a few friends outside of work but by this time I’d resigned to my lonely fate, so I really didn’t put any effort into building those relationships. And for the next two years, that was how I operated. Then, I had a situation at work. I became depressed to the point that I hated work. I hated every moment in that environment to the point that I had anxiety attacks most weekday mornings. Nothing seemed to work and I couldn’t find joy in anything until I learnt to let people into my life. I found myself better able to handle the challenges I faced when I had a community I could rant to, dinners with friends I could look forward to, a brother I came home to, gist sessions with siblings and friends etc. That’s when I learnt a valuable lesson on the importance of being a part of a community and building genuine relationships. The past year has been a lesson in just about that.

2019 has been an interesting, eventful and fun year for me, and I would have missed out on all of it if I hadn’t stopped and decided to count my blessings. You see, I could complain for Africa! I could not seem to see the light, so I complained, and complained, and complained! If it wasn’t about work, it was about money or family – there was always some reason I wasn’t content. One day, I sat with a dear friend and was complaining as usual when he pointed out to me that most of what I had prayed for last year – more money, better work conditions, better health, better relationships – I had them and it was just mid-year. It made me stop and actually take account of my year thus far. Truly, God has been good to me. It also made me appreciate the people who helped me appreciate where I was. And that’s what I’m truly grateful for, as I welcome a new season into my life; my relationships. The amazing people who have helped me in more ways than they could have imagined.

The biggest lesson I’ve learnt this year is that it is our relationships and community that make all our work worthwhile. For years, I believed success to be the measure of how much of our goals we achieve, and though that definition isn’t wrong, I have added a new definition to the term, success. Success is also the impact we make in people’s lives and vice versa.

This 2019, I have come to appreciate the people who were there for me, the people who helped me see rainbows where I once saw clouds, the people who were there to celebrate my wins and share my tears. The people who helped me when it felt like the weight of the world was on my back. They might have thought they were just hanging out but it means a whole lot more to me. They taught me a valuable lesson – GRATITUDE!

And now, as I take stock of 2019 – and boy, has it been an interesting year – I am happier, not because there are no challenges or there’s nothing to complain about, but because I can see light and I am surrounded by people who represent light in my life. And because I know that I am not alone, I’m excited for what tomorrow brings!

Of course, it’s going to be a fantastic new season for me – why do you think I’m excited?

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This question just made me think. There have been times I have looked around and felt very okay and comfortable. Those times have the effect on me of making me slack or slow down in my life progress. I do not regret those periods, but I do not seek them out like I used to. I recognize they are just times I need extra reminders to keep pushing and improving and raising others around me. I’m grateful for your year. Thank you for sharing!

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