Reflections on my 22nd birthday

Today I turned twenty two.

I don’t think I have ever written anything as stupid as this, or as pointless. But it is my birthday and I guess I will be excused

I have the misfortune of celebrating my birthday on a day best known for the terrorist attacks on the twin towers in 2001, Pinochet’s bloody coup and, the now notorious, Bashar al Assad’s birthday. Ironically Pinochet was backed by the USA.

Here in Zimbabwe the 11th of September marks the anniversary of the MDC’s formation which was formed in 1999.

In the din of the discussions of these historical events and their consequences I quietly turned 22

It wasn’t a remarkable birthday anyway, just a couple of drinks with two friends. And I spoke at length with someone I admire who’s been demonised in the private media because he decided to join ZANU PF. He was taking it all in a stride, he taught me something- never let the voices of the world pull you down, he said. I only wished we’d met three years ago.

Twenty two years may not seem a lot given the ages of our leaders but I am grateful for every second. God had been good to me. Very good.

They have been an eventful twenty two years. By my reckoning I have done a lot in 22 years and though I’m not where I should be I’m proud of myself.

The Chinese curse to “live in interesting times” must have been for me: I have a president who’s almost 90, ministers who believed the Chinhoyi diesel hoax, pastors who produce miracle money and babies and ehh…a Minister of State for “Liasing on Psychomotor Activities in Education”. Interesting times indeed comrades.

I hope though that the second part of the curse (this Chinese curse is traditionally in three parts), which goes: “May you come to the attention of powerful people”, never comes true. I don’t want to be noticed by anyone.

A year ago I started this blog, tomorrow my blog turns one (1). I have mostly not kept my promises to write “at least twice a week”, and the resolutions in my post titled “Resolutions” are largely unfulfilled. Makes me wonder how the comrades in government handle their broken promises.

But from today onwards I will write more. Twice a week on this blog, and on other sites where I have become contributor. Without fail.

Last year I made a decision to start serious exercise but I have only exercised when I felt like it, or after a particularly lazy stretch. Not anymore, this year I will stick to my goals.

I also didn’t read as much as I’d should have, I procrastinated, I delayed and I failed.

But I have also had some success and I’ve learnt a few things. I discovered great books and authors: the stoic Roman Emperor Marcus Aurelius, the Lebanese poet Khalil Ghibran, the Marxist Otto Rene Castillo, Steve Biko, Malcolm X, Frantz Fanon, Lin Yutang and many others. From them I have learnt. I’ve grown.

I have also come to understand fully the power of choice. A year or two ago I made a couple of terrible decisions. I didn’t realise it then, I was young. Now I see the fruit of my mistakes. And again, I am learning: Every decision, no matter how small, is important.

Now I have to work extra hard to rectify those mistakes. More than extra hard. A punishment for my sins.

They say life begins at forty, others say at sixty. I think they are all wrong. Life begins when you start accepting your situation, whether good or bad and work to improve it.

Mine begins at twenty two. It begins now and I dare you to watch.

This time I will choose wisely, I will listen to advice. I will study, write, exercise and spend time with my loved ones.

I will keep my promises and stick to my resolutions.

I will knuckle down. I will grow. I know God will be with me.

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