Lucas Marang'a

A man at 40


I’m still in the No Plan zone from my article last week. That tells you that my mind is blank on what to write about this week. Over the years I have learnt to mask (pun intended) the restlessness that’s caused by having no plan. I thought I was finally comfortable with doing nothing and taking the time instead to order my internal world. The last past few weeks have proven that I’m not there yet and my nails are proof of my nervousness because I end up biting them a lot. I’m panicking in mute. I think though that anxiety in the right doze is good for one to become proactive.

I seem to reflect better at night so I decided to stay up late one night earlier in the week and follow Oyunga Pala’s advice on writing. Open my laptop and stare at it like a weird person until some thoughts surface. Then I start typing. I think that was my sign that I need to visit my cave. Or have I been in my cave for so long that’s it’s my new normal?  We are told men have caves that they retreat to occasionally. Maybe some caves are shallow and others are deep depending on the makeup of the guy. Some of us need caves more than others. It’s a good place to retreat to once in a while, even for ladies I believe. The problem is when we furnish the caves and even install Wi-Fi because we are there too long. Not good in my view as life will pass you by. Caves are beneficial when treated like a pit stop or recharge station then we get back out.

In my late-night cave mood as I stared at my screen, I decided to catch up with the previous Sunday’s Nation newspaper. Chris Hart’s article on men and women is one that I like reading. The bold heading caught my attention – Most crucial trait to help you live longer. I wondered what that was because we need it especially in this volatile season when life seems more delicate. That trait is conscientiousness. It’s a big word that my close Luopean friend, Bob would use with reckless abandon when describing a simple thing. Sadly, we have diluted his Luo ness with the heavy tongue from central Kenya. He is my only high-flying pal from the lakeside who prefers to invest in land and Toyota Premios over high end German guzzlers. But he remains a solid brother.

I looked up this big word on google. It’s described as, “the quality of wishing to do one’s work or duty well and thoroughly”. I went on to read that conscientious people are dependable. They’re much less likely than others to back out of, miss or forget appointments. Conscientiousness people know that succumbing to convenience kills long term goals, and that good things take time and hard work. Maybe that’s why conscientiousness is linked to honesty and integrity.

I’d like this to be how I’m described. The part of hard work and good things taking time is what stands out for me at this season. Plus, the temptation to succumb at times. There’s no major visible achievement yet I feel I’m putting a lot of effort to push through this pandemic and emerge a better human. I’m sure many of us are in a season where our to do list is made of up of activities that we previously considered unimportant and of little value before corona showed up. Many of us have no important meetings and deals to chase or prepare for. We don’t have flights to catch and deadlines to beat that have consumed us in the past.

My daily chores now are buying fruits and vegetables (mostly by the road side), fixing baby sharks bikes, facilitating their online school and the consequent homework and assignments, carrying out small repairs in the house and just chilling. I don’t mind doing these menial tasks as adulting requires that I do so. I also enjoy serving my people so that’s ok.

I’m learning to do things well and finish but my motivation has been because I perceive these things as important and defining to me. On the contrary this season it’s the many small and random things that are on my to do list and they seem to require more effort because they are not exciting or promising.

Chris Hart tells us the reason why conscientious people tend to live longer is because they not only follow through but also make more good choices. They live healthy lifestyles and even wear seat belts. We are hearing that eating a lot of fruits to build our immunity is paramount now. That’s a clear reason why we all need to be conscientious.

So, folks allow me to encourage us to do all our chores well and with dedication, however small or unimportant they may seem. Committing to these mundane tasks will will lead to a happier and longer life and that’s the mindset we need to get us through this storm. And remember to wear your seat belts too as you drive to shop for oranges he he.




Friday, July 31, 2020 | Reflections |

5 thoughts on “Conscientiousness.”

  1. Bob says:

    Lucas, thank you for always getting us back to the place where we stop and reflect on what’s important. As always I am grateful. Premio niliuza.

  2. Annie says:

    Thanks Lucas and cousin Bob on the reminder of being conscientious!

  3. Franklin Manduku says:

    I like your Luopean friend. Remind me of my Luopean wife…I think I’m more Luopean than she is! I thrive in enjoying life in there here and now! Ofcourse not forgetting to invest for my grandchildren, note, not children. Thanks also for reminding about the cave/pit stop. We all need that once in a while, conscentiously!

  4. Mike Eldon says:

    For me, taking time to photograph the flowers and the leaves in our garden, and then laying them out nicely in my journal has been the most uplifting actuvuty

  5. Kimani says:

    The analogy of the cave man is very important to us all to be conscientious

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