Lucas Marang'a

A man at 40

Temporary Structures.

My neighborhood has become more of a construction site than a residential area. We would smell flowers more and wake up to birds chirping in days gone by. Now we are woken up by trucks and the scent of cement. We live in places called gardens yet it’s a concrete jungle. Anyhow, maendeleo has to happen. The time to relocate towards the mountain is fast approaching. Construction sites are messy. One would need a vivid imagination to visualize the beautiful 3D picture on the site board will be the end product from what you now see.

Recently I witnessed a huge four-storey structure being brought down. It was an enormous undertaking and it seemed much harder than putting up a new building. Now that the structure is reduced to a mountain of rubble and twisted metal, the next task is clearing the site so that another building can come up. The cost of that demolition and clearance must be enough to build at least one entire floor or two.

For both building and demolition to happen temporary mabati structures, tents and mobile toilets are put up on site. They serve as site offices, stores or guard houses to ensure that when work starts its all hand s on deck. And that’s how life transitions play out as well. Often, endings in our lives are as chaotic as that site demolition. Letting go of what we are used to is difficult and sometimes even traumatic. Imagine a guy with a family and two mortgages having to leave his job that took care of those pesky bills. It’s quite unsettling and that’s why many of us overstay our welcome in seasons that are over.

We console and convince ourselves that better this toxic and unfulfilling environment with a paycheck than exploring what else could be out there waiting for us. For me, I was left with very little choice because even my business didn’t want me. At least that’s how it felt. There was nothing much left to hang on to plus I felt like I was dying inside. Now in hindsight, I’m glad I was pushed out of that season. I had tried several attempts to postpone the ending in vain.

We all need to put up temporary structures as our endings draw near. We will need some basic necessities during our transition periods. Advance preparation is key so as not to rock the boat too much. My role and responsibilities as a father, husband and leader were not going to pause and wait for me to find myself (that was the line we used when breaking up with a girl in high school or campus. ‘I want to find myself’. Followed by, ‘it’s not you, it’s me’ he he.) I needed to find a way of dealing with my endings, going through my place of nothingness and starting to a new curve while still carrying out my responsibilities that have no pause or rewind button. It’s called adulting.

So what temporary structures should we put in place folks when exiting one season and entering another? That will be determined largely by how aware we are that our current station in life is coming to an end. The best time to start preparing for the next season is when we are doing well in our current season. That way we can process our options bila pressure. Sadly, few of us are that aware in advance so we end up getting caught at the tail end of our endings and have to scramble for a life jacket before we drown in the sea of rapid change.

I was one of those and was forced to build temporary structures when it was too late. And it’s much harder then. Like building in a storm. Past success blinded me so I was caught like a dear in the headlights when my last season came to a screeching halt. Quite disturbing I must admit. I realized that I need to close any taps that bled cash. I scaled down operations in my business and eventually ceased operations last year. When in a hole the first thing to do is to stop digging. I also had a good year in 2019 and most of those proceeds went into reducing debt. That’s important especially when you are entering a season of no guaranteed income.

Some intense conversations with those who will be affected most by our transitions are necessary too. I have over the last few years tried to have such with my clan. It’s only fair. Attempt to explain where you are at even as you figure that out yourself. Some creativity and stocktaking at this point are good. I realized that my transitions gave me more time than I had before. Corona even added to that time so I became class tutor, playmate, advisor and PE teacher to my roles. I must say my baby sharks have benefited from that a lot especially because to them quality time is quantity time. I hope mummy shark has also enjoyed my presence more.

Those are some of the temporary structures I put up as the mjengo of my second half goes on.  What are some of yours? I know of folks who even relocated from the city to create some stability and refocus. I admire their courage and somewhat envy them. With some deep introspection (and some coaching too) we all need to determine what to put in place that will keep our heads above water as we navigate from one ending to a new beginning.

A word of caution though. Beware not to make the temporary structure permanent. While temporary structures are key to the takeoff of the project, they should not last forever. Otherwise, we will be stuck in halftime and soon the temporary arrangements start looking like the main project and you end up with a small life. May the discontent within us and the desire for bigger and better things ensure that we don’t settle for less. Keep an eye on the temporary structure but focus on the main building. And when the time comes please demolish the mabati house as it will have served its purpose. Oh, and ensure to enjoy the construction as you build because the miracle is in the moving (building)

 

 

Friday, May 27, 2022 | Just @40 Things, Reflections |

5 thoughts on “Temporary Structures.”

  1. Sam says:

    ‘It’s not you, its me”, clearly universal and spanning many agree groups and decades. Onwards and upwards to more permanent structures.

  2. Mike Eldon says:

    You never know when that opportunity for the permanent structure will emerge, but with you Lucas, it’s only ‘when’ not ‘if’.

  3. Victor says:

    Our responsibilities don’t have a pause or rewind button 😁, that’s tough during transition

  4. David Kimani says:

    Great wisdom right there Lucas. Thank you for the reminder of taking time to consider where we have come from and what we have built along the way-even in our detours, where we are now and where we expect to move to-and indeed what we must leave behind and the essentials of the next move. Not that easy especially because the temptation is so great to settle in our comfort zones.

  5. Ezekiel kuol Abuk says:

    This is for me Mr. Muran’ga. I’m stucked in small life and I’m trying to raise my head.

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