My done list; Reflections on turning 40 years

Last month, I turned 40. I don’t recall being as excited and as reflective when I turned 30.  So much has happened through those years, I thought I’d put a few words together on the hallmarks that made those years into something I’m truly happy about.

 I was greatly inspired by Laura Vanderkam’s Done list and  I thought I’d create my own as a way to pick the moments and some of the decisions that made me into the person I am today.

Also, I don’t think I have expressed enough gratitude for all the blessings life’s winds have blown my way. I would not have come this far were it not for my family, awesome friends, fellow creatives and everyone that either challenged or inspired me to always keep reaching for the stars.

Here we go…..

I started writing Poetry.  Words and creative expression have made me who I am today. I am because I write how I feel. Poetry has been my inner being leaping out onto pages and onto my lips guiding me through life’s journeys. Words reach out and hug me, wipe my tears and tell me its ok, it will be alright, you are not alone and in them, I find peace and a stillness in my heart. Despite life’s illusions, poetry is my home. I always come back no matter how far I go.

I began blogging. That was back in 2005 when Blogspot still existed and WordPress with self-hosted domains had yet to become a thing.  Fast forward to 2014, I began another blog – Blogging opened doors into spaces and pulled a seat at various tables for me. I saw its power and never looked back. 

I published a book.  Mines and MindFields: My Spoken Words came out in 2010. This was the first time a Kenyan blog had been turned into a book. I’m forever grateful to Nsemia publishers for seeing the potential in my poetry blog and giving my poems a new world they could thrive in. I was so sure I’d have my 2nd book out last year. Perhaps this is the year!

I got married to a great guy. We met in 2004 at Virtual City (Thank you John Waibochi), dated for 6 years and got married in 2010.  16 years later, I am so happy I met him. He has always believed in this bird, watched it fly off far and wide knowing that it will always find its way back home. I am grateful for that.

I have 3 amazing children.  These 2 African princesses and our ‘Colt’ have rocked my world! When I look at our firstborn who is a spitting image of me, I am in awe of how artistic she is. Drawing, writing poetry and playing an instrument.  Our 2nd born is a tinkerer & is never afraid to speak her mind. Her joy and laughter melt my heart. Colt is a charmer and lately, an Optimus Prime fanatic. He has made everyone watch all the Transformers sequels for a third time now. I look at them with pride and hope for what the future holds for them.

I have written a formidable list of articles for great publications.  Al Jazeera, Fast Company, The Standard (Kenya) Business Standard,  Global Voices, Tech Moran, Techweez.

I have written some cool articles for corporate & NGO blogs. (Either as myself or as a ghostwriter) GeoPoll, Cellulant, Kenya Monitor, Future Challenges, ifreedoms Kenya. 

I have authored and co-authored some cool publications. Free Basics in Kenya, Sports and gambling among youth in Africa, African Millennials.

I was among the co-founding Directors of the Bloggers Association of Kenya (BAKE). I went on to become the Director of Training and Outreach.  We launched one of Kenya’s first blogging and social media training and outreach programs that equipped well over 5,000 Kenyans with practical skills in blogging.

I started a poetry & arts podcast.  In 2011, I launched the KenyanPoet Podcast. I took a 10-year break. I am excited to be bringing it back. 

I built a digital folklore children’s app. Safaritales sought to digitize African folklore for a virtual world as a way of passing on the knowledge to a new generation. My vision has never waned and I hope to one day dust myself off and try again.

I have spoken and performed at some cool events. The first TedX Nairobi, Re:Publica, Global Voices Summit, Kwani Literary Festival, Storymoja-Hay Festival, Africa Hospitality Investment Forum (AHIF), Social Media Week Nairobi.

I founded an African parenting publication. began as a personal blog on my parenting journey and quickly grew to become an awesome platform for advocacy on women’s rights.

I taught poetry in Minnesota, USA. In 2019, I got to travel to the US to teach poetry writing and performance to 4th and 5th graders at Still water middle school. In one of the lessons, I used lyrics from Eminem’s Lose yourself to teach rhythm, rhyme and alliteration. I loved the experience and wished I had learnt poetry like that in school. I’d love to teach again.

I’ve lost over 20Kgs and stabilized my weight. After I had our son in 2016, I let myself go. I was breastfeeding and I paid no mind to what I ate.  Nine months later, I was 98Kgs and had a double chin. I looked and felt horrible. The last straw was a photo my husband sent me of myself during a TV interview, I could hardly recognize that woman. I began jogging. Since then, I have done over 192 runs covering a distance of over 2,600Kms. I run thrice a week covering an average distance of 40Kms. When not running, I go on hikes and trail walks.  This has become a lifestyle that has made me more intentional about my health.

I’ve run the Kilimanjaro marathon twice. In 2019, I ran my first marathon outside Kenya. It was one of my most memorable experiences that opened my world to travel-running.  Though the pandemic messed my plans for the Victoria Falls marathon and the Great Ethiopian Run, this will be my new way of exploring the continent.  

I am now working as a writer, editor and communications consultant. I recently transitioned from the corporate world to go into full time writing as I  venture into children’s books. I’ve also gone into editing and consulting in communications and digital storytelling.

It’s interesting how listing all these things felt like I have done so much yet never realized it whilst I was in the muddy waters. I hope to have the same feeling when I am 80 looking back over the next 40 years. Cheers.

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