They say elsewhere in the World that age matters not unless it is about cheese, wine or whiskies. I read somewhere last week, from my age-mate that 50 is the new age when life begins. I cannot not contest that, but I want to use this to look at some things happening around us from a new prism.
There has been another gruesome murder, this time of a sixth-year university medical student, in Eldoret. A man, either feeling jilted or just a psychotic stalker, attacked her with a machete as she walked from class to do her wardrounds. She is now one of the statistics of heinous murder in the category of what the French pour a little obeisance as crimes of passion.
Too many murders
Last year, Kenyans were on the edge of their seats following the blood-curdling melodrama, involving TV personality Jackie Maribe and the ‘bad-boy’ sensation Joseph Irungu alias Jowie in the suspected murder of Monica Kimani in Nairobi. Then there is that of Sharon Otieno, a young university student whose murder, Migori Governor Okoth Obado has been charged with.
When they killed elections IT guru, Chris Msando, probably as collateral damage, down went 21-year-old Carol Mumbi. The cases are endless including several university girls killed or young campus boys committing suicide. As I write another story is developing, that of Nakuru’s Prison Warden Caroline Jepchirchir Chesire. Her body was found in a thicket after she went missing days earlier. Being held or sought are two of her male colleagues.
The cases are many and depressing. In another case, Nyeri magistrate Pauline Omung’ala has been charged with the murder of her husband, Robert Chesang. Assa Nyakundi says he shot his son accidentally but police don’t buy his word. Both the lawyer and magistrate are in the older category.
As you grow old as I have learnt, you start mellowing on issues that used to chew your heart. You quickly realise life is short, and that career life is even much shorter. On the country’s life expectancy scale, you are approaching the cul-de-sac. So you start cherishing each day that comes your way. You reflect painfully on your siblings, friends, colleagues and relatives who didn’t make thus far.
You also- if you have children- start living for them more than for yourself. The family also tends to be where the emergency brakes of your temperament lie. You may get grossly angry, but hardly would you take a weapon. Unless of course you are helplessly a boiling emotional volcano or are under the influence of something.
Taking stock of life
You start taking stock of the bad and the good decisions you have taken in life. You recall the tears that flowed when the girl or man- now married to someone you know- ditched or double-dated you. Then, you would have killed him or her, but now you ask yourself if it would have been worth it. And had you killed yourself, you would only be remembered through a tombstone.
Recently, I was joking with an age-mate about his ex. “Do you love your children?’”, I asked and he answered absolutely. “If you married her you know you would not have the children you have now.” This smacked him on the face. I told him it is the wisdom of the grey hairs sprouting everyday on us.
The other lesson we have leant, even those who didn’t marry and so don’t have children of their own, is that it is indeed true as Collin Powel taught; situations aren’t as bad as they seem the first time. Sleep over them and the next day, they will seem lighter.
Also as he teaches, remember, however bad a situation is, just never forget it could have been worse. And that you aren’t the only one afflicted or hurt. Also, that someone out there is dying to have you and you don’t know.
Then we have also learnt that life has a way of emptying our hearts of the memories of crushed hopes, replenishing our lives with people who will give you fresh experiences, and changing our thought patterns. If only you give life a chance to take you down this path, in no time you realise there were other men and women worth dying for in life.
We could go on and on, but let it suffice for today to say that other hobbies in life and convictions such as religion, as well as seeking help when depressed, go a long way in stopping us from doing the things we would.
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There is the theoretical framework taught in schools and then there is sage wisdom that makes those older than my agemates even laugh at and move on when years ago they would have killed or taken their own lives. Let us let our girls and boys be.
Let us teach them it isn’t yet the end of the world. Let us widen their horizon to value themselves and life.
Mr Tanui is Deputy Editorial Director and Managing Editor, The Standard