I was supposed to meet a friend in town.

Because I am a stickler for time, I got at our rendezvous spot fifteen minutes to the agreed time. We’d agreed to meet in one of those popular coffee joints in town. I went in and found a nice spot, away from the entrance and strategically next to one of the windows. From where I sat, I had a clear view of the street outside.

I loved the view.

I love to watch people without them knowing that I am watching. A friend on mine once told me that I can make a very good agent. I don’t disagree. More often than not, when I find myself in a public place, I make sure to observe people. You learn so much by observation. I had situated myself in the couch like seat when the waiter brought me a menu. I didn’t pick the menu though, I knew what I wanted and didn’t want to waste time going through it.

“Hi!” I said, trying to read the name on her name-tag.

“Hi! It’s Kate… I am Kate.” She answered.

“Hi Kate! I will have a Mocha please.” I said.

“Will that be double or single Sir?” She inquired.

“Make it double.” I answered.

“Will that be all?” Kate asked.

“Yes. That’ll be all for now. Thanks.” I replied.

She nodded in agreement, turned and walked away. I pulled out my phone to see what time it was. I noticed that my friend was now running late. This wasn’t anything new, where he was concerned. In our sixteen or so years of friendship, he had never arrived anywhere on time. He was always late and that was just that. In Campus, we’d joke that at this rate, he’d be late for his own wedding. We prophesied right, the bride got to church before he did and no one raised an eyebrow.

I put my phone back, held up my head and looked at the street. I couldn’t help but notice something. Everyone was in such a hurry. There was someone coming from this and that direction, everyone was in a mad rush to someplace. The people kept a straight face and steady stride rhythmically avoiding each other. Everyone seemed to know exactly where he or she was going.

This is life in Nairobi.

Everything happens so fast. It got me thinking then, that that’s just how life is exactly. Life happens so fast. It got me thinking that we are in such a mad rush to do this or the other. We are racing to finish this project so that we can start another one sometimes even pursuing more than one project at the same time. Our lives are filled with activity, so much of it such that we do not know how to handle quiet.

It hit me, at this point, that at times, we all just need to step back and breathe! Here’s the thing. Most of us have been running at life since we could walk. Truth is, most us don’t even know what we are chasing because our definition of success is warped. Majority of us are running after people; chasing people who are chasing their own dreams. But really, all of us need to, from time to time, just take a minute or two and breathe.

Here’s what I mean. In this your busy schedule, where everything is frantic, make a habit of finding at least an hour a week to sit and take it all in. The truth is, some of us do not appreciate ourselves enough because we never take a minute to look back and see how far we’ve come. I have learnt to do this; it’s called living in the moment; living in the present. I have to do it intentionally. If I don’t, one of these two things will happen. One, is that I will look at my past and sulk because of what I didn’t do or could have done differently. I will look at my mistakes and feel dejected. Two is that I will look at my future and wonder whether I will ever get there. Will I ever get that job? Will I ever make that kind of money? Will I ever be happy? Will I ever be this, that or the other?

So I do this thing that I call “the pinch yourself moment.” It is that moment that I look at where I am, love on myself for how far I have come and brace myself for how far I still have to go. It helps me to know that I might be very far from where I am going but, at least, I am not where I was yesterday. It helps me to genuinely see progress and appreciate it. Whenever I do this, I realize that most of the time, I am very unfair to myself. I don’t give myself as much credit as I ought to and mostly I overly criticize myself because I think I should be farther than I am now when the truth is, I am doing the best I can at the moment.

So to everyone who’s gotten caught up in this mad rush of life, to everyone who’s feeling tired and inadequate, to all of us who sit up late wondering whether life will ever make sense, to those of us who constantly feel as though we have failed in life and those of us who constantly have to step up, go up the stage and perform… this short blog post is for you… Breathe!

Just breathe!


P.S.: My friend showed up after an hour. I looked at it in positive light… I got time to breathe and made him pay for the coffee 🙂

  1. Thank you so much for this post.
    We never remember to pinch ourselves and breathe.
    We are a nation of the walking dead.
    You are a good agent,Agent T and a good shrink.

  2. They say if you dont walk fast in Nairobi…’they’ will know you you’re a newbie…n probably rob you…

    We carried same mentality to life..n so everyone wants to look busy n fast..n we forget to breathe….

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