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Dear <<Preferred Name>>

I hope you have been keeping well.

In my last letter to you, I shared how I was making space for both grief and gratitude. I was so glad that I got to share lessons from my late Gogo Tete with you. I hope her life continues to inspire yours as much as it does mine. In this letter, I would like to reflect on my 26th year. A year I would describe in two words, disruption and pleasure : From heart wrenching deaths to transformational learning experiences to discovering shattering truths to finding the sweetest love... Here are the lessons I learnt!

1. The dust will settle

If you had told me this a few months ago when I was deep in the throes of winter sadness and job search depression, I would have called it toxic positivity and angrily asked you, "You think I asked to be in this desert?!" But it is mostly true - the dawn will break, the storm will pass. So walk on and when the sand becomes too much to do so, get on your knees and break down. Call your sister-friend and tell them how utterly hopeless it all feels. Stuff yourself with sweet and salty popcorn at 2am. Bury your head like the proverbial ostrich...Do what you need to but try with all your might to remember (or believe those who remind you) that the dust will settle and clarity will come.

2. Routine is an anchor in uncertainty

My 26th year revealed my inability to hold a routine long enough which in turn affected my mental health and productivity. The last time I had maintained a routine was in my four years of high school. However, 5:30 a.m mornings and full days of study were too rigid to get back to. However, writing my dissertation was a crash course in getting a nice work rhythm going but in the name of rest, I tossed it all out right after. I've been re-learning how to stick to a routine. The first thing I had to do was make one that works for me, one that includes 8am wake ups, my favourite exercises, short focused work times and loads of time to cook, catch up with loved ones and rest.  I also had to stop getting mad at my accountability partner, lol! I'm still getting a hang of it all but I'm already experiencing more calm and success despite being in an uncertain season of my life,

3. Return to your joy

The realisation that the things I enjoyed doing were not going anywhere gave me great comfort in my "desert". As soon as I was ready and energetic enough, mailchimp and instagram were still there for me to continue creating content. As soon as I had saved enough money my flower subscription was ready to be renewed. As soon as I could hold space for other people, my friends accepted my hosting invitations. When I could pray again, God was right there to listen to my meditations. So I will always return to my joy for there my purpose lies waiting, calling. 

4. Let your loved ones hold you

I spent the weeks leading up to my 27th birthday berating and shaming myself for not yet being financially independent. The mere thought of being with people drained me because I felt that every encounter meant I had to defend why on earth an accomplished 27-year-old had no full-time job. But I'm slowly learning that while becoming an adult increases one's capacity to support more people, that doesn’t mean that the adult no longer needs support. Most importantly, journeys are so unique and individual that we will all need different forms of support along the way. So now I'm embracing having to work from the safety net of my parent's support; listening to the wisdom of those who've gone before me; and stepping into the pockets of joy and safety that my friends provide. I'm shamelessly letting them hold me with deep appreciation for how that creates a launching pad for the rest of my career and life.

5. Adulting is easier when you prioritise

26 was all about understanding what is important to me. I had spent most of my early twenties understanding and pursuing what was important to others and this contributed to my anxiety and sadness- it simply had to stop! I am getting better at identifying and pursuing my priorities. For example, once I decided that I wanted to return to my content creation joy , I committed to writing this letter over the month in between bus rides to my swimming sessions and tube rides to my adulting admin errands. I have also learned that owing to opportunity cost, priorities will shift according to the different seasons I will be in. Presently, landing a full time job and making a home for myself in London are my key priorities. What that translates to is that 80% of my time, emotions and energy must be geared towards this. This realisation feels so freeing because it rids me of decision anxiety. It is quite simple now, if something does not contribute to achieving either of those priorities it can absolutely wait.  

6. You have done this before

I was afraid of leaving Nairobi for a second time to pursue my Master's. I was so set on leaving the UK as soon as I was done that it is only after I received my graduate residence permit that I accepted that this will home for a while. I think the fear was valid, it is not easy to build a home afresh in a new place. However, I realised that many of my life’s experiences had been preparing me for this. From being born in Mombasa then moving to Nairobi for school to spending holidays in the different national parks my mum was working in, to moving to boarding schools first in Kiserian then Kikuyu then Johannesburg... I have absolutely done this making a new home and building new networks thing many times before. I can and will thrive in this new place. 

7. Make yourself as comfortable as you can

I learnt to use tools such as boundaries and saying no to make myself more comfortable financially, mentally, emotionally and mentally. An unexpected comfort tool that I learnt especially for the situations beyond my control is knowing how to complain. I'll be honest, I used to find people who complained annoying. In my mind things were running as they should and if I couldn't directly do something about it my response was just to stay silent about it. I think this response actually made me more likable especially with people in authoritative/administrative positions. I was the pleasant girl who would just smile and accept when told nothing can be done about it. But the more I live and realise just how much things are not running as they should, the more I get inspired by the greatest complainants around me.  So here's to using complaints (and all the other tools within your reach) to make yourself as comfortable as you should be! 
Watch of the quarter

I'm only starting to enjoy music again so instead of a favourite song, I'd love to share Waringa's YouTube channel. The Mental Safe Space has taught me how to take better care of my mind. It has also been a great reminder that I'm not going through this alone, I  hope it can do the same for you especially during life's dusty times!

I know it's been a minute (a minute I fully needed) so I'd like to invite you to get even more comfortable here! Write back to me, let me know what life is teaching you as well. I’ve now made the newsletter quarterly so I'll write to you again in October 🎉Until then, keep well!

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