Have you guys noticed how we increasingly desire a simpler life as we grow older? Folks in their 40s and older doing life at full throttle appear more harassed than they were when younger. Not sure if it is our capacity for endurance that reduces or our to-do list gets longer. The more meaning we seek in life the shorter our to-do list should get. Maybe it should even disappear altogether and we remain with just one or a maximum of three sticky notes that describes our entire existence. After all, We are told that if we have more than three priorities then we have none.

The more self-aware we get the more restless we become. I have often noticed that when coaching folks going through transitions. We discover that we need to declutter our lives and the cry for freedom (or significance) is getting louder. We can longer ignore the urge for a simple yet meaningful life. One that is lived more from our core and less from demands thrown at us by life. That is the constant struggle I find with folks at halftime, myself included.

There is a certain urgency to do something impactful with our lives. Something that will outlast us. But many are clueless about how to achieve that. We tend to feel that life as we have always known it is leaving us behind and that’s scary and uncomfortable. We have been leading in the marathon but suddenly everyone is overtaking us. If we are not careful we will be picked up by the stragglers’ bus that follows the slowest runners during the Stanchart marathon in Nairobi before the roads are opened to vehicles. That was my target the first time I ran that marathon. Not to get on that bus

Some years back a mzee pal of mine shared jokingly how he would form a support group of men whose wives have left home temporarily to go on work assignments. His wife has always been a high performer and has attracted global opportunities that have required her to travel frequently. At the time he was sharing this with me, my mummy shark was on those kinds of jobs. Talk of problems of men with clever wives hehe.

We laughed with my mzee pal about how we would be required to run the home and take care of the totos. Gladly that season is over and we have our wives back home. That’s how it always seems when we are searching for meaning and direction in our lives. Everyone around us seems to be focused and driven apart from ourselves. That just adds to the discomfort of our cluelessness.

But having inquired for a while in this neutral zone of life, I have made a shocking (it feels that way) discovery. Some of the people who appear driven and busy are actually not that way under the surface. Behind that screen saver could be someone screaming for help and wanting to pause but feels not allowed to do that by life (or bills mostly).

Being left behind in our 40s is a beautiful thing. I have called it many things in previous articles here. Tactical withdrawal, planned abandonments, pit stop, recharging and so on. This may all be kizungu mingi but all I’m trying to say is that sometimes we get to a point in life where we will have to pull over and allow others to overtake us. After all, we may be on the same road but we are all headed to different destinations.

The danger of keeping up with the speed of others is that we may arrive on time but at the wrong destination. That would be costly especially now when we are suffering from a fuel shortage. Running out of gas in the wrong place sucks. It may even endanger your life.

So slow down folks. Let others pass but try to be present at the back of the line (is there a line though if everyone is on their own journey?). Once the pressure to keep up is off us then we give a chance for beautiful things to unfold and we can see more clearly. That’s how purpose starts coming alive. Claude McKay put it well when he said, ” If a man is not faithful to his own individuality, he cannot be loyal to anything”. Being loyal to self at this age is key.  Join the WhatsApp group of the left behind if that will help you chill but for once in our existence let’s pause long enough to discover what we should speed up for in the next season of our lives.



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5 thoughts on “Left Behind.”

  1. Franklin Manduku says:

    Way to go Lucas!

  2. MG says:

    Until 200 years ago, the word priority was singular. One had only one priority. Therefore one only focused on one thing. The word priorities was then accepted into the dictionary, and as far as I’m concerned, that’s when things got interesting and since then, we have been trying to morph ourselves into omnipotent beings. Messiah complex anyone?

    A few years ago, I was invited to speak to a group of women on how to manage life. I told my audience that on any given day, I’d aim to do three things only and the look of irritation on their faces was palpable. What planet was I from? Apparently, according to the feedback I received, I was insensitive to how many priorities they had, and I was talking from an ivory tower!

    Perhaps this is why at midlife we pull over because the things that we thought were priorities was chasing after the wind after all. At this moment in time, my only priority is to love well.

  3. Chris K. says:

    Knocking on my door … Feels like you are describing me

  4. Creans says:

    Thanks Lucas for this beautiful article. Indeed we all need to slow down

  5. Matata munyeke says:

    Very said, Lucas. I am enjoying my pit stop! I do not know how long it will last!

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