Excerpt from upcoming book "Euphoria"
By Gathoni Njenga
Sept. 30, 2020
As an author, businesswoman, and all-around life-loving human, I have been truly blessed to live an enormously fulfilling life. I get the chance every day to live and work with folks from all walks of life. I must say that I am, at this moment in my life, exactly where I want to be.
I am doing what I love. I am filled with joy and tremendous optimism for the future of mankind. I believe that in spite of the many challenges we face as a species – whether global warming, food insecurity, disease, racism, and so on.
I think we still have the ability to turn things around in the areas of life that need improvement. And continue to be kind towards one another while we work for a better future for ourselves and for future generations.
This book came about as a result of various discussions I have been having over the years with many of my friends and associates. I have often try to explore what it means to be happy and the basic pillars of happiness.
My favorite things
I try to uncover what this word means: Happy - to me and the folks around the world. As I get older and try to understand the world as well as myself, I find that the aspects of life that I once expected to hold value simply did not and do not.
My younger self figured that financial success, status, acceptance by my community, these were what I needed to be happy. I never imagined that my whole world would change as I approached my forties and that I actually knew nothing about life. Like the man said: " the more I know, the less I understand". And I guess the constant evolution is what makes life fun, right?
I find that I have to take a step back and redefine myself and what my goals, wishes, and wants are as I transition from one phase of life to the other.
Meeting my “other” for the first time
Getting older is strange. No, really! It’s like teleporting into this new bizarro world where you get to meet your OTHER. Your other: That guy or gal who lives in the accidentally discovered parallel universe.
The one who kind of started off just like you but whose life was altered by some small event. She looks, thinks, talks, and acts like you but upon much closer examination, you can tell something is off about her. You feel as though there is some secret that she is hiding.
You know there is something she is not telling you about her life and what’s to come. Oh, by the way, if you have no idea where I am getting this from, or where I am going with this metaphor than I can assume you have never seen the show Counterpart on Starz with J. K Simmons. Check it out. You will love it.
I learned so much watching the show. Sure, there is the whole global annihilation angle and that is loads of fun to watch. And I am a big fan of Simmon's work. Always have been. I also explored the deeper symbolism and parallels of life the show unpacks.
How just a simple event or act can be the thing that leads you towards a life of happiness or one of pain and suffering, and everything in between. As we (all) age, whether you would like to admit it or not, you start to rethink some of the choices you have made in your life - From the cradle to the grave.
The paths you wish you took. Maybe at that point, you start to wish you had lived a little. You know? Maybe you should have explored the concept of risk-taking a little bit more. You start to deal with the idea/feeling of regret. The thing is though, these are normal feelings.
I can tell you from personal experience that getting older is not for the faint of heart. It (aging) is like a hangover after a wild night of partying. Sure, you feel like crap, but you know you had a good time and you wouldn’t change it for the world.
The only thing left now is to use all the wisdom your experiences have afforded you, work towards a brighter, more focused future, and try to extract as much joy out of life as you can.
At this point, it is ok to become the person you always suspected you were meant to be. It is ok to enjoy the simple pleasures in life. My take is that as long as you are not hurting anyone, it is fine if you enjoy a glass of whisky every now and then - or whatever your poison is. I am a tequila kinda gal myself.
It is ok to want to spend more time getting to know who you have become and to find ways to be happy. It is ok to look back upon some of the not-so-great choices you have made and try to lean on what you learned as a result of some adverse outcome to shape how you move forward and more importantly, how you guide those who depend on you so they can avoid some of the more permanent pitfalls in life.
Mutually Assured Productivity (MAP)
The resilient nature of mankind never ceases to amaze me. It's easy, with all that constitutes our current existence, to think that our species is one destined for self-annihilation. Easy to predict that our story will indubitably climax in some cataclysmic event.
Certainly, we are bound for some macabre end. As we stare at those eerie photos beamed to us by the various mars rovers, it is easy to assume that our planet, this bluish-green, full of life ball that we live on, will someday meet such a precipitously lifeless end.
Frozen in time to serve as a visual warning for future civilizations. Will we meet our end as a result of our thirst for energy, conflict, and all that make us human?
Many predict that we will certainly follow in the fading footsteps of our cousins, the dinosaurs, or the late great saber tooth. I guess this is just how it was always going to end. We were not meant to occupy this land for long.
I have to say though that I, for one, am not sold on this idea just yet. Sure, there are days when I can't help but predict that we will cease to inhabit this earth sooner rather than later. And for self-inflicted reasons.
Who among us hasn't considered the possibility that mankind is just some sick experiment that was never meant to be. Who among us hasn't gazed upon the majesty of the cheetah and thought " now, there is a creature worthy of the bounty the earth has to offer" The whale, the gazelle, the leopard, these are the rightful owners of this blue wet planet of ours.
But then there are days I feel differently. Days when I feel like in spite of all the issues that plague us today. We still, as humans, have the ability - when faced with common existential threats - to come together and take the tough steps needed to ensure that we preserve the earth and our species for future generations.
So I say, fear not! Do not let the news headlines of the day cause you to lose faith in humanity. Do not start to feel hopeless for there still is hope in all of us.