Being 20 was perfect. Fewer things to worry about, just focused on completing the semester and hopefully getting good grades. As I approached my mid 20’s things changed. The straightforward path of life suddenly came to a stop after graduation. Sometimes it feels like many things are happening at the same time to me. I view it as little dots trying to construct an image. Some of my age mates have decided to pursue a graduate degree, some got married or even some started a family. The options sound overwhelming. At the same time, they require prioritization.
Some days, one wakes up feeling fulfilled and happy, ready to conquer the world. Some days, the exact opposite, feeling lost. In the former days, I figuratively see that the dots have connected to a beautiful image I can relate to. The other days, they form a complex piece of abstract art, which I can’t seem to figure out. From my experience, this seems to happen more when I am 25. Feelings of being obligated to have a more concrete career path, choose better and meaningful relations with friends and family. Being at PACE makes 25 feel much better. So I turn 26 in January 2021 there are various things I have learned this year.
Covid_19 has impacted our day to day operations. Our fellows were unable to continue volunteering in the under-served schools we work within Kisumu and Nairobi. However, we found a way of adopting the use of digital platforms to not only conduct their training sessions but also host their graduation ceremony.
I am involved in the Street Business School Program, which targets parents from partner schools. The participants,‘coaches’, are taught ways to start and grow their business. The economic recess caused by the novel virus has affected their small business, especially the coaches who ran hotel businesses. However, from the field visits, some coaches have adopted new businesses to support their families.
We mostly work with young people who have just completed high school. I get particularly excited when I see them scale the heights of academic success and come up with social enterprises. It brings a sense of the African ‘ubuntu’ feeling of ‘I am because we are’. The PACE family has created a close knit community whereby through empathy we can understand the passions and the struggles of each other and the general community.
I have made a lot of adjustments this year like renting an apartment, making new friends, and getting involved in programs such as Future Females Business School. These experiences have pushed me to be more comfortable in finding my styles in home decor, fashion, food and to even determine my BHAG ‘big hairy, audacious, and scary goals’.
As the year comes to an end, it is difficult to refrain from imagining alternate universes where I have different career choices, friends to even apartments, LOL! What keeps me grounded is the feeling that I have not figured out everything yet. I once read that you cannot connect the dots looking forward; you only connect them looking backward. So you have to trust that the dots will somehow connect in the future. So you have to trust in something- your gut, destiny, life, karma, or whatever.