Tuesday, 15 March 2016

23: Finally a Second Former at this Adulting Thing

This year (now last year) has been a year of my firsts... One of them being the fact that I did not do a Birthday blogpost. My life has been simply chaotic lately. I am moving back to Nairobi. JL There really needs to be a better bittersweet emoji. The fact that it almost coincides with turning 23 means that the line between before and after is much more clearly demarcated here.

So, 22 was fun! I got my first real job, moved into a new city, really ‘grew into myself’… whatever that means. In hindsight, even when things were tough, I wouldn’t take back any part of it. The biggest, resounding learning that I have had in the past year was ‘dreams change’. Fresh out of school I had a very idealistic, pretty-much-set-in-stone idea of how my life should work out. I was going to intern at a couple of fancy places, get a fancy management trainee position at one of the big four firms, sit some professional paper or other, get a cute apartment and spend my evenings sipping girly cocktails at fancy bars in Westlands. (Mr and Ms Deloitte and Touche of the world, please don’t burst my bubble about my perception of your lives!) Anything outside a 95% confidence interval of that life was not even a consideration.

Instead, I went to Kampala to work for a start-up accelerator with the unconventional name of Unreasonable East Africa. I am not proud to say this but I do a lot of things out of the necessity of the moment: getting a passport; learning how to drive; and making new friends. I had not needed to make new friends in about four years. I had grown rusty at a skill that I did not even fully possess to start with. Now, with a new job and in a new city, I had to build a whole social life. I wish I could say that I ventured into a journey of self-discovery and had exotic experiences. I didn’t. Unless you count trying new foods as an exotic experience. However, I grew up. Fast. I became self-reliant and self-confident. Again, necessity.

A random selfie of my shabby self walking to work.

I made 5 or so new friends. I know this because I am in the middle of organising a belated birthday / Goodbye Kampala dinner party. That (the 5 friends) is impressive, for me.

23 will be a great year. It had better be. I went through most of the challenges and transitions that a fresh out of school 23 year old ought to go through at 22. Now I think I am getting the hang of this adulating thing. 22 was like being a form 1 in the adult life. A lot of meekness and confusion. 23 is the rowdy form 2 who thinks she knows it all.

However, as Ugandans love to say, “I will be okay”. To paraphrase Desiderata:

I am a child of the universe, no less than the trees and the stars;
I have a right to be here.
And whether or not it is clear to me, no doubt the universe is unfolding as it should.

My favourite beer. 2 % alcohol yoh!

A random blurry picture of a band.

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