My friend called me. We haven’t been in touch for a while. I asked him how things were going and he told me he quit his job to pursue his own thing. I have been in his shoes twice but I still felt scared for him because I know what it is like to be alone groping in the dark not knowing what will happen tomorrow. I mean, people will tell you that they want their life to be unpredictable. That they want to wake up and not know what will happen that day but it’s poppycock.
There are certain aspects of your life that you want to remain predictable. You want to be certain that you will have a meal on the table, for example. That rent will be paid, that you will have the clothes on your back. There is nothing fancy about these aspects of life being uncertain.
So here is a letter to you my dear friend,
It’s good that you feel you can do more, that you feel the place you were didn’t serve you, that it stifled you instead of building you. It’s great that you think you can make it on your own. That you can actually thrive without a boss and live up to your potential. You should never let anyone sway you from your path, no matter how blurry or murky because it is yours and without it you will fade into a shell.
There are a lot of myths around life. It’s good to experience them and see if they hold true. A lot of us have already put the first one to the test. ‘Clear school with good grades, get a good job and be happy.’ Like me, that myth has proven false for you dear friend, you have to put the second one to the test.
‘Get out of the rat race and be your own man.’ It’s a braggadocious statement but if you are unprepared you will be miserable. You will find ‘Being your own man’ to be very unstable. Sometimes money will come, often times it won’t. If you are getting out of your job thinking you will have a rosy time doing what you please, you’re in for a surprise. Working for yourself is a twenty-four hour gig. There is no clocking out, no time for a bit of, ‘At the photocopier gossip,’ only work.
Be prepared for the questions, they will come thick and hard. It’s always nice when someone asks what you do for a living and you can look them confidently in the eye and mention a nice company with a safe title. It’s tougher when your answer is something they feel is a hobby, something to pass time, something that wastes time.
Friends and family, parents especially will ask you countless times what you are doing with yourself even when you’ve told them over and over again what you are doing. Don’t resent them, they are not walking in your shoes. They don’t see the golden goose you see when you close your eyes to dream.
I know you have seen those flamboyant artists on social media who live like heirs to Kirubis Estate, checking into expensive restaurants, flying out and dishing ridiculous advice because they have gotten to a point where they have forgotten how far they have come and how hard the climb is. They might even inspire you and you might want to be like them. I will tell you for free that that is not how you will start.
You will be unsure of yourself. Some days you will want to hide from the world, you will want to hide from specific people. But you have to keep seeing the golden goose even when you are in a deep. You have to work the hardest especially when it seems futile. That is when it counts the most, that is when your character and foundation is taking shape.
Like anything of worth you have to do the work. You have to put in time, you have to get better. Learn from those that have preceded you but don’t use them as a crutch, don’t be afraid to do things differently. Don’t be afraid to be your own man. Isn’t that why you showed your boss the finger in the first place?
Your friends and family, I repeat friends and family because they will influence you the most, especially if they are supporting your wind like dreams. You might not like it but that is all your dreams are to them. They will look at you and talk to you funny, like you don’t know what you’re doing. It’s okay, they have an inflated opinion of you because you haven’t a clue what you’re doing.
They will keep asking what your plan is and their rhetoric will get to you because it will be blown out of proportion by the voices in your head. Don’t tire telling them though, it’s not for them, it’s a reminder for you. A reminder of the path that you walk.
If you can stomach this, if you can look your mother in the eye with a brave face when your lips are dry and your body is thinning, you have the grit to see it through. With a lot of work and a bit of time you can make whatever dream you have true. If, however things get too bad don’t be afraid to ask for help, don’t be scared to get another job and don’t be scared to quit that second job and a third and a fourth and try it all over again till you drink from the cup of success.
Signed, Your Friend.
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I like to think of myself as a reader who writes, a Pan-African who thinks with the tips of his fingers, but when I'm not molesting the keyboard I'm usually destroying yogurt (not Frusion) or staring into the vastness of space.