The Good Book says that we are born sinners. Iniquity is our default setting. Doing wrong seems second nature yet doing right is a learned behavior. I think that’s where our overall negative outlook on life comes from. I’m yet to meet folks who work hard at being negative. Naysayers are in plenty. Those who see life as a glass half full are the outliers. And they tend to be happier and more content with their lives generally. They also have better coping mechanisms when their glass starts emptying and as a result, it fills up sooner or later due to their positivity.

Most of us desire and labor to replace our half-empty glass view with a half-full view but we often fall short. That’s because training our minds to shift from our default settings is hard work. A lot of effort goes into it with very little to show, at least in the short term. For that reason plus living in an instant society, many give up and revert to their negative outlook of life where it’s all doom and gloom. It becomes a comfort zone of sorts and we console ourselves that better to accept the reality that life is hard. That way we don’t get surprised when things go wrong. But what if we attempt to expect good and it happens? We should start telling more positive narratives because what we focus on expands.

Last weekend was one such example while heading on a hike to Mt Lesatima in the Aberdare ranges. I love these outdoor experiences because I commune with nature, Sir God and myself. And I get to photograph our supu country. I set out early Saturday with fellow Kenyans with itchy feet like myself. It’s advisable to start hiking as early as possible before it gets too hot so we left Nairobi before 6 am.

We estimated our trip to Satima will be about two hours. We expected to start our ascent from 9 am at the latest. Sadly our organizer didn’t do a good job in planning the entire event. Apart from providing transport he didn’t get us a qualified guide or book us a ranger at the Aberdare gate. The worst part was that we got lost. He had described to our driver where we are headed and dropped us a pin. That was it. Initially, none of us gave it much thought as we set off.  We assumed that we will find our way easily despite not being too sure of the exact turns to make.

That was the beginning of our tribulations and the point at which our glass started leaking. It was full when we left Nairobi as we were all in high spirits and pumped up to conquer the third highest peak in the Aberdare ranges. We were on course through the Naivasha – Nakuru highway, onto the flyover turn off and onward towards Nyandarua. The road is nice and smooth all the way so Asante Sana Mr President.

Google is our friend but seemed moody on this day. It was misaligned with the roads we were getting onto so we resulted to assisting google by asking Boda Boda guys and pedestrians for directions to the Shamata gate of the Aberdares park. The rough roads that we had veered into made a bad situation worse. We were officially stranded. Folks in the van got restless and fatigue was kicking in because we were going round in rough and dusty circles. Not to mention the heat. I even started eating my snacks in consolation yet they were meant for the hike. Food is my love language by the way hehe.

At one point we stopped to ask a mzee who looked knowledgeable of the area to direct us to Shamata gate. He asked if we were going hiking and we responded in the affirmative. He looked at his watch (It was 8.30 am) then informed us that we were late if we intend to summit. That dashed our hopes even further. We left him and attempted to go in the direction he pointed us to. After a few more kilometres on a rough road, we got onto the tarmac. It was such a  relief because our backs could take a break from the horrible inner roads and it somehow signified that we are close to our destination. Our hopes rose a bit higher when we met a busload of hikers. At this point, we just wished to follow them and end our suffering. Sadly they were headed to a different location. We were on our own.

We made some SOS calls to our organizer back in Nairobi and got back on google. After a short drive on the tarmac, we turned onto another rough road. It was even worse than the earlier one because there was a steep twelve kilometer upclimb that tested our van. Some of us had to get off for it to maneuver the terrain. At one point we met with a truck full of mattresses coming down the same road. The driver asked if we are stranded and we responded that we are trying to get to Satima. He and his makangas responses stabbed our feeble hearts further. They said that the rough terrain we have just come out of is just a start. It gets worse further up and they are sure we won’t make it. It was now about 10 am and most of us had reconciled that we will not climb Satima. But somehow we didn’t talk about that much. In hindsight, there was some silent glimmer of hope remaining.

Well after a lot of struggle we got to Shamata gate and started our hike. It was a relief to see other groups arriving so that confirmed that we were not too time-barred. We got a rookie of a guide and headed out with fresh determination. If we had made it this far despite all the odds even this mountain we could summit. And summit we did and enjoyed the most beautiful rock formations along the way. The hike wasn’t as difficult as I had anticipated. It was easier than being lost in a van for two hours on rough roads hehe.

We got back safely and were proud of our achievement. Of course, we committed to planning better but a huge lesson stuck out. Be careful who you listen to in the hike of your life. Many more will discourage you than nudge you on. We have to be our greatest cheerleaders as even google maps can fail us. Ask for help if you must but set the pin for yourself on how far you are willing to go and the price you will pay to achieve your goals. That inner drive will help us surmount a lot of obstacles along the way. Your summit awaits you folks.



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3 thoughts on “Glass Half Full.”

  1. David Kimani says:

    So true Lucas, we must beware of allowing ourselves to settle for Glass Half Empty whilst God’s made us with the potential for more-for Glass Full and more…

  2. Kirigo says:

    For sure, we must be our greatest cheerleader.. Nice lesson to go with that adage Lucas.

    As always, the best.

    be blessed.

  3. Mary Muteti says:

    I love the lesson..Being careful who I listen to in the game of life!

    Indeed obstacles come to uncover the hero in us. Reminds me of a quote from Randy Pausch “Brick walls are there for a reason. Not to keep us out but to give us a chance to show how badly we want something”. Great day it was.

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