I am of the opinion that a well-balanced human has more than one source of fulfilment and meaning in order to live a well-rounded life. A lot of these different sources are formed by default, at least for me. I don’t think we sit down and plan that our lives shall consist of three or four segments. As life unfolds, the segments form, knowingly or unknowingly. However, we need to look out for circles forming that are to our detriment.
As I look back on my life, I can identify areas that have contributed to the sum total of who I am. I call them stones in a jar. I have heard that it’s advisable to have consistency in all areas of our lives. I agree with that but I wonder whether it is also okay to have levels of consistency depending on where we find ourselves. Or will we be considered imposters if we change? A chameleon changes colours depending on the environment it finds itself in but it remains a chameleon. There’s a scripture in the Good book that quotes Jesus as having said that he sought to be all things to all men so as to win them over. I like that outlook.
I recall the surprise 40th birthday party that Mummy Shark threw for me in 2014. I tend to take things at face value and I prefer the what- you- see- is- what- you- get approach to life. I even set up tents for my own event without having a clue. That approach to life seems not to serve me well sometimes, especially when dealing with cunning folks who thrive on agendas and scheming to have their way.
I was taken aback that evening to see folks from various circles of my life in one room (read tent) coming together. I was unaware so I had no control but it did feel odd for a second. Close pals and family all in one place. It was like the sum total of my life represented by the 40 or so people mama had invited. Several circles overlapped that evening. Folks I do business with, church folks, my golfing buddies and my family.
Oyunga Pala once told me that we belong to more people than just our immediate families. That a man who takes care of his family alone is a selfish man. I agree with him, especially now in light of the public service future that I seek. I consider family to be one of the biggest stones in the jar and should go in before other stones go in. It is the source of heavy duty support as my mum often reminds us. The jar represents my life.
I was happy to facilitate a Halftime Institute workshop last week. I was doubly excited to have my good pal Chris in attendance. He had come with another pal George. Chris and George form part of my golf circle and here they were now seeing me in action as a Halftime facilitator and off the golf course. I felt a little pressure before the workshop began wondering if I will disappoint them because they know me differently. I was letting them into a circle they have not been part of previously.
I quickly had a meeting with self and decided to be authentic. To my surprise my two pals (and others in the room) followed suit. They quickly relaxed and opened up about their midlife struggles without hesitation. The realisation that followed was powerful. As I was wondering how two circles of my life will fit in, so were my pals wondering the same.
Sometimes we go through life thinking we are alone in the thoughts or struggles we are experiencing. Until we open up and discover tuko wengi. Does having a close relation in one circle of life hinder our believability in another circle? I feel like it does sometimes. I find myself struggling to convince my close pals to consider this tried and tested process of helping folks transition into their next calling. Maybe we might get more out of life when we allow the different circles that form our lives to meet once in a while and have an AGM. The agenda would be on how to improve us in totality as well-balanced, healthy and productive human beings.
I had a blast interacting with my pals in that two-day workshop. They admitted that it was an eye (and ear) opener. Once our guards of feeling awkward (which dwell mostly in our heads than in reality) came down, we were able to have an uplifting time together. That left me challenged to get over the hang-ups that familiarity brings and work on being real in all the circles of my life. This way most folks will respond the same to us I believe. Besides, at 40 we make for lousy pretenders, so having varied consistency is in order I suppose. Just as Jesus did ama?