I turned a year older three weeks ago. (Contrary to speculation, I’m still in my 20s, and I will be for a few more years). Even before then, I realized that age is not just about what numbers appear in one’s official documents, it’s also about one’s state of mind. I’ve slowly been losing interest in several of the things that I used to do some years ago, and I’ve also began to think differently about other things.

1. Going out (The Hanye)

I look back at the days just after I cleared high school and the years after that. Back then I used to party all weekend. Not a single weekend would find me indoors unless I was unwell. Friday nights at the local was standard procedure. So was Saturday afternoons. Normally it’d start out with “I’m going to watch football”. I pity my poor mother, coz once she heard that, she knew that I’d be gone till the next day, leaving her to stay up all night worrying. I’d link up with the boys at the pub and catch the Premier League matches showing that afternoon, followed by frantic bar hopping and copious consumption of alcohol all night, along with all the mischief that comes with the territory. I’d get home way after sunrise the next day and sleep all day.

Nowadays, I find it close to impossible to stay awake past 1am! And that’s after hitting the hanye at 11pm! I rarely have more than 4 drinks because now I tend to get high much faster than before. I don’t like me when I’m drunk coz I tend to be very loud (don’t we all?) Hangovers take forever to pona! To hell with that, I’ve retired! Westlands nimewaachia watoto. I’ve only been out twice this year, once was here and the second was on my birthday weekend when my pals forced me to go out and celebrate.

So what’s my ideal Saturday night? Hot coffee, cookies, easy listening music and a good movie. Or I read the Saturday magazine. In fact, the only newspaper I buy is the Saturday Nation. I quickly check out the sports page and throw it away when I’m done. Who cares about politics? Then I save the Saturday magazine for later. I have a specific order in which I read the articles. First I start with Lizzy’s World (what, una shida?) then Man Talk, then Flakes, the perennial male bashing column Female Speak, then I finish up with Busted. The rest of the paper is not targeted towards me. This past weekend, none of my favourite columns was there! There was no Man Talk, Lizzy’s World or Busted! I was thoroughly disappointed. I think I ripped the magazine to shreds.

2. Smoking

My older brother influenced me to experiment with cigarettes while I was in high school. It was cool at the time coz all the young chaps were doing it. But mine was more of a show off thing, I guess I could call myself a casual smoker. I only started smoking proper in 2004 after getting rejected by the athletics coach in my former university. See, I’ve always been an athlete. I’ve got several medals and certificates from primary and high school, and it wouldn’t be a far fetched dream to think I could one day be one of the fastest sprinters in the world. After that bitch crushed my ambitions and threw me out of her office, the first thing I bought at the tuck shop adjacent to the sports stadium was a pack of cigarettes. And that’s how it’s been ever since. Before long I was hooked, and a ciggy became an escape for everything. Stressed? Have a ciggy. Drinking? Have a ciggy. Just had a good shag? Have a ciggy. Dropping nukes over Baghdad? By all means, have a ciggy!

I don’t want to go into the rest of my life as a smoker. I don’t handle stress very well so smoking has been my escape. So I’ve got to find other ways to handle stress. I set April 1st as the date when I’d quit for good, and I’d been working on cutting down during March. As soon as April got here, I was able to stay ciggy free for 48 hours before realizing that cold turkey is a bitch! The withdrawal symptoms are SICK! I find myself fidgeting, subconsciously puffing away on a pencil. So I decided to have only one cigarette a day. The only problem is finding the suitable time to have the cigarette. I think I need to invest in nicotine patches.

3. Temper, temper

It’s not a secret that I have a very short fuse. I’ve blogged about it before (I think) and I’ve had to see a shrink in the past for anger management. That actually helps, coz nowadays it takes quite a lot to piss me off. I’ve some to accept that not everyone thinks on the same wavelength as I do, so they may not know that what they’re doing is really testing my patience.

Shit does go wrong sometimes. Take for example Saturday (two days ago) about 2am. There I was going over my notes for an exam that morning. A drunk pal of mine was passing outside my flat and decided to disturb me, seeing as my lights were on. He called and called, but I ignored him. The idiot decided to throw stones at my window. At that point I got pissed off and went to the balcony to tell him to foxtrot oscar (yaani to fcuk off) The guy kept throwing stones even after I told him to get his drunk ass to bed, so I snapped, went into the kitchen, grabbed an empty 500ml Coke bottle and hurled it furiously at him. Ana bahati tu kwa vile ilimchapa kisogo. If it had hit the target, I’m sure I’d have broken his nose! Funny thing is that the next evening, he had no recollection of how he got the huge bump in his head!!

4.Letting go of grudges

I’ve been told that I’m a pretty vengeful person. Apparently it would not be in anyone’s best interests to cross me coz I keep grudges, and once I do, I won’t rest until the day I exert my revenge in a fitting manner, or karma steps in to do her part. But something happened three week ago that made me realize that I need to change my ways.

A former high school classmate and his father were brutally murdered by the Mungiki on March 31st . They were carjacked, shot dead, mutilated and their bodies dumped in a ditch. This horrific incident shocked me like very few incidents do.

During the four years I was in school with this chap, we were never friends, we’d clash quite often until our mutual resentment was openly evident. We preferred to keep our own space. That was many years ago. Since then, neither of us ever made the effort to reach out to the other to make peace. In fact, I simply forgot that he existed, until I ran into him in a small café in October or November last year. Greetings were exchanged, and somehow we started talking. It was tense, I could feel that he was equally as confused about why I would be talking to him, knowing how little regard I had for him.

Truth be told, we clashed over very childish issues which I can’t even remember now. We ran into each other severally after that and made small talk, we exchanged numbers, though neither of us ever called or texted the other. On the fateful day that he met his death, we met briefly and chatted. We talked about the riots in K.U and his frustration that it would postpone his graduation. I sympathized with him because I’m in the same situation as he is. We should have been done with campus years ago, but due to several factors, we’re still in school while our compatriots are well established career wise.

We made plans to hook up over the weekend and have a few drinks, and we also agreed that it was time we solved our differences and moved on with our lives. Sadly, that was not to be.

It made me think about the people that I harbour useless grudges against. I wouldn’t like for something like this to happen to me or to any of them, only for the survivor to live with the guilt that there’s a lot that could have changed if only they had taken the initiative to extend that olive branch. I know it’s been said that conflict resolution is easier among men than it is among, women but the truth is that men have huge egos. It’s not easy to humble oneself and reach out to the other person and make peace. But that’s what I need to do right now.

Making peace with others also includes seeking forgiveness from those who I may have wronged in the past.

I could go on and on but I think I’ll stop here coz If I write any more, I’m sure you’ll fall asleep.

SHUJAA OF THE WEEK

If we have Fokojembe of the week, it’s only fair that we should have the opposite, right?

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Name: Guus Hiddink

Who is he?: Caretaker Manager, Chelsea FC.

Reason: Kicking Liverpool out of the Champions League , and Arsenal out of the F.A Cup in a space of four days, (and getting Didier Drogba to actually play football) this man has completely turned around Chelsea’s season. Under that other ka-fellow (whatever his name was) Chelsea was on the brink of a total collapse, but now we stand on the verge of winning the F.A Cup, semi-finals of Champions League and if miracles do still happen, the Premiership. (though that’s a long shot) Hiddink has restored the confidence in the players, got them firing on all cylinders which has resulted in only one loss in 12 matches.

If Guus Hiddink can deliver just one trophy this season, I’ll be overjoyed.

It’s a pity that he’ll be gone after the F.A Cup final on May 30th.

What’s on my Playlist?

Kidum – Kichuna