It has been a minute since we talked here! Raise your wine glasses, porridge calabashes, water cups –or whatever the hell you want to drink— and let us toast to 2017. Here is to laughing so hard our ribs ache. Here is to making tender and passionate love to our partners we thank God for being blessed by them. Here is to being compassionate to strangers just because they are human. Let us wear colour to the office and break those ‘wear dark colours” rules. My “Beautiful Wild” release for first quarter of the year has a lot of reds, yellows, oranges… we are going to confuse the chameleon! Want a suit like mine? Just email me firstname.lastname@example.org or tweet me at @VerahOkeyo or go to my Instagram and just order.
Towards the end of 2016, I had made up my mind not to spend the end of the year the same way—at work—so I really worked hard in November and December assuming that I would be free from Christmas and Part of January. I did get my wish. I spent my end of year away from work… but in ill health, in tears and mourning. I must thank technology though for allowing me to work while immobile. So when 2017 began and I found my face kissing the sun again, I decided I was going to begin 2017 on a positive energy. The first day at work, I took a drive to the tea farms in Kiambu over lunch hour, let the air and the beauty of the landscape just flood my soul. In that ride, I made a few templates that I would like to live by as the year goes on. No they are not resolutions.
Enjoy the detours of life
When I was unwell, I run the images of the people I had interviewed the whole of 2016 from suffering from terminal illnesses through my mind. Those voices made me tremendously grateful to be alive and have my health intact. Have you ever had an epiphany where you realise that “hey I am alive, can you believe it?” I lay in my bed, counting the days that I was told to rest, impatient to get up and chase things that sometimes looked like inconvenience to me. At least I had an option of getting up. So this year, let us just… live because this second is what you are guaranteed.
Challenge my own story
We become experts of our stories where we apportion ourselves the roles of villain and victim. Well what do you know? Your grandiosity or superiority may be clouding your judgement. So this year I am going to challenge my story, as a journalist and as a person. Partnering with people is a chance to see the world through their eyes. My colleague Eunice Kilonzo has this grace to handle the most abusive sources that they always become her friends. I wish I could say the same of myself. Since we work in the same desk, I will see how she builds that patience muscle.
I consider myself a good science journalist, but last year I encountered Proffesor Eric Freedman, the Director of the Knight Center for Environmental Journalism at Michigan State University. Prof Freedman told me about “infotainment”, the kind if journalism that I was practicing, and the real science journalism. He pushed me to push myself beyond my comfort zone. So when I came back to the office, I went to the features editor at our broadcast side (NTV) Brenda Wanga and told her “you are going to give me assignments”. I want to have one story told on TV, Podcasts, the social media and newspaper where I work every day. The first story about abortion will be broadcast tomorrow at 9 in the evening and published on Tuesday.
Make relationships worth it
On 29 Dec, 2016 I called my maternal grandfather Barack Olonde telling him I was writing a book and that I was going to travel home to talk to him about my roots as soon as I got better. He asked me to hurry up. I should have travelled the following day but delayed to attend to a few other things. You can imagine my shock when my auntie texted me that my funny grandfather had passed on 31 Dec, 2016… the very last day of the year! Here is the lesson. When you have a chance to tell people you care for them, do. You may not get that chance again. Do not walk over those that have stood by you as you seek those who would not care if you died or not.
Do you have tips on how we can live 2017 well? Share.