A Letter to Your 28 Year Old Self

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Bhajia and Paneer 

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Chicken Lollipops

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Meatballs

One week into the start of my new job, my new employer took us out for drinks at Urban Eatery in Westlands, Nairobi. I was, and still am, glowing with the excitement of having gotten a job after two months of a lot of time and not nearly enough television series, morning jogs or kitchen experiments to fill the ten to six void. Ten because I am not a morning person, but I adjust for the things that I count as important – breakfast, watching a sunrise, some phone calls and morning exercise. Six because like the song I come alive in the night time and therefore often prefer to get home at sundown.

But I digress. My new colleagues and I were throwing around polite small talk, sipping slowly and chewing with our mouths closed, when the boss lady asked something. I forget what it was, but I instantly thought: A Letter to My 28 Year Old Self.

Disclaimer: I have been thinking around this question for a while. And though it started off as a borrowed idea on writing a letter to my 20-year-old self, I have recently come across many people who think I am still young and there’s yet a lot of figuring out to do.

So I asked her, “What would you tell your twenty eight year old self if you could travel through time and talk to her from the future?”

In summary, this is what she had to say:

Cherish relationships. Make time for family. Visit often, make those calls and simply make time for your family. Endure the awkward or costly Christmas holidays, family dinners and little traditions at home. Relationships are a big deal and we often forget to relish our relationships with family members until it is too late – where we sometimes get out of touch and cannot repair the wear of time or when our loved ones pass on or we move away and wind up with regret for not having spent more time with them.

Save, save, save. Don’t waste your cash on too many shoes you never wear and purses you don’t need and an expensive apartment you’re constantly struggling to pay for. In the long run, it is never worth it. Buy only what you need. Spend wisely; enjoy yourself on a budget but only after you have paid yourself by saving some money (your income) before you start spending it. Save at least a third of your net salary.

No experience is a waste. Sarah von Bargen  of yesandyes says that regret is a useless thing. She is one of the most open, real and honest people I have encountered online. I cannot, for the life of me, find that post, but 31 Things I’ve Learned in 31 Years was also pretty relevant to the whole idea of life lessons.  I agree with Sarah on many things so… I’m starting to see it myself. How useless regret is. I hated serving tea and cold calling to confirm appointments and handling petty cash reimbursements until all this came in handy long after I had quit my first job. Making a good cup of tea is a chance to bond with a colleague after she has had a rough morning. Good tea or coffee often calms down impatient client when they arrived early, but someone who outranks you is stuck in traffic. The ability to reconcile monies helps you stick to your monthly expenditure and help out with transactions at work even when you have no history in finance or accounting. A work history with customer care and cold calling makes you a lot better at handling various issues in client relations, public relations, protocol, public speaking and marketing. So it’s important to stick it out and glean all the lessons you can from whichever life experience you have tossed at you.

I hope someone find this helpful because it definitely made me take fewer things for granted and allowed me to celebrate what I have been doing right.

Cheers to you all!

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