When we moved back to Malawi some years past, I remember my parents telling us we were going to be living in the house they had been building. We were excited to move into our own home, something we had looked forward to for years… until I remembered that the house wasn’t done. The house had no floor, no ceiling, few doors, no fence, and it wasn’t painted. It was a ridiculous idea.
“The house will finish quicker when we move in,” they said (a lot of people tell themselves this comforting lie lol). We did move in, but the house took ages. Our clothes were kept in sack bags because it was so dusty and we had no closets. When we had to sweep, we had to sprinkle water all over the floor before we started, otherwise we would be covered in dust by the time we’re finished. Our bathroom door and was my chitenje (cloth). Then there were the old curtains that we hung using strings and pegs, and the driveway that would turn slippery during the rainy season. Some days, we had to ask our neighbour if we could park our car in their driveway because it was impassable.
Then there was the veranda. During summer, the house would turn into an oven because there was no ceiling yet, so we would usually spend e time there. The veranda too was far from done. It needed flooring, rails and paint. But we loved it there. It had a good view and that Zomba Mountain breeze cooled us off. When the day started, my family would lodge on the veranda. Everyone had a spot there. We didn’t even have chairs then, so we sat on a nkeka (mat) and we would spend time together. When it was time for our meal, we would eat on the veranda, and chat away, sometimes till very late hours. I have very fond memories of those ‘veranda’ days.
Now, the house is done and I am very proud of my parents because they have been through the most to finish it. Their dream came true. The veranda is still there. But now, it’s not the same. The house is cool enough to stay inside during summer so we don’t lodge on the veranda like we did back then. My sisters moved out and work somewhere else. My brother is hardly home. My other sister is usually at school. We all just grew up and it’s not a full house anymore.
But life was happening while we were waiting for the house to be done. Although the goal was for us to live in a finished house, life didn’t stop. Life was passing us by and I didn’t know it then. I usually thought, “life will be more enjoyable when we start living in a complete house.” But in between finishing the house, Charity, Honest and I were cleaning the dishes outside together because we had no sink. Mum and I were cooking outside on the mbaula because we had no cooker, and dad and I were walking to the road together because the car was parked elsewhere. Life was happening then and memories were being made.
Since last year, I took it upon myself to pursue the things I am passionate about (which I explained better here). At first, I thought it was going to be an easy ride with life going my way: rainbows appearing in the blue sky and birds joining me in a happy chorus early in the morning; but it’s been crazy! I mean, I knew the world wouldn’t understand and it wasn’t going to be easy, but I honestly didn’t expect this kind of crazy! It’s been life giving me lessons on patience, pulling up my socks and being content.
For a while, I have been obsessed with reaching milestones I have set for myself. But I could see myself slowly getting uptight as I postponed my joy till I reached my goal. It’s taken me a while to tell myself to slow down, and enjoy the journey too. I’ve noticed that a lot of us think true happiness will come when we get that money, that qualification, that job or finish that project. Yes, there will be happiness (victory tastes sweet y’all!) but do we really want to go through life waiting to be truly happy ONLY when we tick something off our to-do list? What about now?
So, let’s cut ourselves some slack and let our little broke, unqualified, ‘unfinished’ selves appreciate the journey to our goals. Things will work out! Make great memories and seriously, be easy on you! Don’t let life pass you by.
–Too many people miss the silver lining because they’re expecting gold.
P/S: It’s been such a while since I put up a new post and I am ashamed… Saying I’ve been too busy seems like a lousy excuse, so all I’m left to do now is to apologise. I’m sorry, dear reader. I will, once again, get back to writing and putting up new content. I think you deserve that. I did finally get round to uploading my videos on my YouTube channel. Check it out :). Until next time!