Are They Any Different?
In the African setting, it’s a common habit that when you go for a get together with family and friends, that the mothers gather on one corner, the fathers (aka wazee’s) in another and the children, preferably out of sight. And in their separate groups, they enjoy each other’s company as they catch up on what’s relevant to them. It’s been like that for years on, that it became a way of life.
As is the norm, everyone taking their corner or being out of sight, strangely, things have been changing up of late. We’re slowly starting to sit on the same table and share our experiences and learn from each other during these events. This past weekend was one of them. We had the privilege of having a lengthy chat with our fathers – not biological, by this I mean the older generation, those our father’s age.
What caught my attention is that when my friend’s father introduced his friend, he said that they have been close friends for over 20 years. They started out when they were in campus. Thing is, even my biological father and his friends have been at it since their formative years. And over the years, they’ve worked around their situations and circumstances such that despite how it turned out at any one point, the one thing that remained stable/constant, is their relationship. It’s admirable.
My impressed self just had just one pressing question. What’s different? What’s different between their generation and ours (the young gen x and y)? Because for some reason, we struggle with commitment, we struggle with holding down our relationships, we generally struggle with ourselves. How are they able to hold it together for years? Are they any different? And he broke it down into some simple pointers. Nothing new, but something you definitely need to hear from an older person.
- Strive for progression not perfection.
Young people are easily influenced by the illusion of perfection (ever wondered why IG and Pinterest are just the IT thing now?). We want to get to the future even before dealing with the present. You want to snap your fingers and a big house with a picket fence appears, or that car – the one you saw in that magazines zooms by. Yet, the older generation mastered the art of
- Focus your energy to that vision.
We are blessed with the ability to dream, and to work towards making our dreams turn into our reality, regardless of the time it takes. We young ones, are known to scatter our resources in different directions – trying to achieve many unrelated goals. We invest in so many different things and in the long run, end up confused and unfulfilled. But if we focused on the vision – so that all our energies worked towards it, it’s fulfilling and you feel accomplished.
- Approach the fast lane cautiously.
We young ones are exposed, more than they were then. The amount of information we have or the amount of money we earn in our formative years is by far beyond what they used to get then. For this reason, we’re forced to live our lives on the fast lane. On the downside, we want it all fast, quick, multiplied, and if possible, now. That’s how we fall smack into the open hands of cons, or schemes that deplete us of our resources.
In addition to that, we want to share everything we are doing. We want to show others how we’re doing and every time, we want it to look perfect. The pressure that we think is coming from the outsiders, is fueled by ourselves – they are just spectators. Is that necessary? No. The old generation, they know how to keep their things private, so the pressure to impress is almost eliminated.
- Take stock and manage your resources.
As mentioned above, we have been exposed to so many resources, that sometimes we have some at our disposal and we don’t know how to distribute or use it. For instance, you have so much money, and instead of thinking of saving or even investing it, we want to go spend it things that we don’t need – whether it’s the parties, the leisurely travels, the retail therapies, the flashy things.
- Don’t live beyond your means, live within them.
If you can’t afford it, it’s not a sin, you can just deny yourself and wait a little longer as you work towards making sure that you can afford it. Rome wasn’t built in a day, and neither will you. Don’t go into debt for things you don’t need, if you really have to, be smart about it. So that you don’t live yourself bare and helpless in the name of impressing other people, who don’t matter.
- Don’t define your relationships on things that can be transformed.
Things like status, money or other material things. Don’t dump a friend because you’ve been promoted or because you earn more money than they do, tables could easily change. Over time, people grow, people change, so just because they don’t have things going for them now, it doesn’t mean it will stay like that forever. It’s important to look at other intangible values in people you want to build friendship/relationship with. Are they loving, caring, genuine, supportive, and loyal?
- Don’t compare yourself to your friend, because you’re definitely different.
And no, you can never be the same. The sooner you accept and appreciate that, the better your relationship is. We tend to think that because someone is doing this, you also need to do the same. But you can be two different individuals, with different interests and visions, but still be friends and support each other.
- A lifestyle of appreciating simplicity.
This is the one that made me smile. He said, “Fancy restaurants, sandy beaches and safaris in the wild are absolutely amazing and also look great in pictures (my mind just kept wandering to IG, ‘it’s IG perfect’). But when you’re with your friends, you can have fun anywhere.” Even when you just go for a picnic or visit the country side, eat and drink together, chat, that’s also a lot of fun. No need to spend all your savings on some fun, which you can get while on a budget. Of course, you can take a few trips, but don’t break a bank.
Having yourself a lovely week I hope. Keep warm!
Signing Off ~~~ *Kawi*