Be happy, stay happy

Hey Maggy, lets out today,’

And where might we be going?

Do not worry, by the end of the day you will feel happy and re-energized.

This was a conversation I had with a friend some days ago. With the promise of feeling happy at the end of the day, I gladly agreed to go out with my friends. I mean, who would not want to go home, feeling nostalgic?

To cut the long story short I went out and by the end of the day, I was very happy and kept wishing of having more of such days. That was healthy living according to me because as it is whatever makes you happy, then you ought to keep it. However, no sooner had I thought that I was on life’s right track than something knocked my thoughts off balance.

I am one to read random papers I come across and on this particular day, I found myself reading a piece of a magazine( this particular one was from Xpatlink Mag, April/May 2018#161) which had been used to wrap the meat I had bought earlier on, on one of my shopping sprees. If you are from Kenya, you know the serious roles played by old newspapers and magazines especially in butcheries. That aside, the content on the tattered piece of magazine lured me in, and for a minute or two; I was busy staring hard at the paper.

The article had the title, ‘The 10 Daily Habits of Happy People’, and well, you now know why I was easily drawn in. after reading and trying my best to internalize each of the 10 points it suddenly dawned on me that all my life I have been making a very serious mistake. Which mistake might this be Maggy? Some things made me believe or rather I have made me believe that happiness should be an end result of the things I do

Meaning that I live and so do many, we live life thinking that we should do things, which will make us happy at the end of the day. This is not wrong until you realize that happiness is a constant experience and feeling rather than a goal achieved at the end of the day. And so the narrative now changes, do what keeps you happy all the time. Not just once, but all the time, it should not be limited by the time of day or anything like that.

This was a whole new awakening process for me, not only did I want to be happy, but also the concept of staying happy no matter what stuck in my head.

The 10 daily habits as I found out were

  1. Treat yourself with kindness
  2. Let go of petty issues
  3. Take time to recharge and be alone
  4. Unplug when needed.
  5. Keep up an organization in a physical and mental space
  6. Stay in the present
  7. Allow yourself to feel emotions
  8. Put wishes into actions
  9. Exercise and eat healthy
  10. Practice good decision-making.

The Danger of a Single Story

Those familiar with the TED talks will immediately recognize the story behind this title. It is from a talk delivered by one famous African writer, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie and I found the urge to speak/write about it too. I recently partnered with a very amazing and talented guy who also happens to be he a co-writer on my blog. I call him Dino because trying to pronounce his tribal name makes me sound very alien, ha-ha. I was very excited when I learnt that he wanted us to work together and you can imagine how mesmerized I was when I learnt that he was not from my country. It caught with utter surprise and I found myself thinking how lucky I was to work with a person from the other side of the globe, regardless of the distance.

My learning that he was Nigerian, came in with a lot of mixed reactions. As I mentioned I was excited and surprised at the same time. And then came the funny bit of me trying to sound Nigerian, I could be watching some Nollywood show on TV and then found myself paying close attention to the native language used with every intention of using it the next time I called Dino. And this happened for a while such that I could read books written by Nigerian authors and found myself feeling proud about it and thinking to myself that I was one step closer to knowing and relating with people from West Africa, how mistaken I was. 

Dino laughed at me every time(he still does) I tried to say no wahala, nawa o, try me nah, and he would be like, “did you just say that?’’, and I would boldly tell him I just did. And this went for a while until recently I said something that made me snap back into reality. I told Dino how much I knew about his people and he was very pissed (or so I think). He made it clear to me that just reading and watching materials related to his people does not actually make me part of them and neither does it mean that I now knew him I could be with them virtually but then it would take me a while to know and relate with them. You can imagine how ashamed I was that a whole I had judged a person by what I saw and heard about him.

It was certainly wrong for me to do so but still it was a lesson well learnt. I just had a single story that people from West Africa had a certain accent; they ate certain foods and dressed in a certain type of way, which was very inaccurate. It takes a lot more to get to know a person and in this case it means that I have to confront the reality of getting to know Dino personally, what he likes how he speaks, what his beliefs are and so on. And from there I can be in a position to say that I know my friend from West Africa. This is my story which many can resonate with, because without even mentioning it there is an instance where you have judged someone from the way they looked or from the way they sounded. I mean we have all at some point had a crush on someone because to us they sounded so good over the phone and later on were met with a rude shock. Where I come from there is a great deficiency which lies between what you see Versace what you really get. In other words, what you see is not what you get. 

Getting to know someone in depth is very vital, it prevents so many future misunderstandings and makes it easier to harbor relationships. I can be sure to have a great time around my friend Dino since I have now decided to know him personally and not basing my knowledge of him on some assumptions. The process may not be that easy but it is very much worth the effort. In one of his very hilarious shows, Cedric the Entertainer once stated that you cannot go through life with your mind already made up about things or people you like or do not like, you are going to miss out on a lot of things. This means that the only way to change this is by actively making the effort to know them.