In Summary
  • I will be turning 75 early in 2019, and that is quite a few years to have survived in this unpredictable world.
  • I have been in the business of making New Year resolutions for almost as long as I can remember.
  • But, unlike you and a few other people who faithfully observe and fulfil their resolutions, becoming better people in the process, I invariably break all of mine, even forgetting what they were, within the first few weeks or months of the year.

We are only hours away from yet another new year. I will be turning 75 early in 2019, and that is quite a few years to have survived in this unpredictable world, is it not? I have “consumed a lot of salt”, as the Waswahili say, and for that I should be grateful.

I wonder how you compare with me. From the general profile that I have of my readers, I imagine that there is a handful of my seniors, venerable elders in their late 70s, 80s and even 90s, and these are absolutely adorable. Please join me in hailing them with a humble and heartfelt New Year “shikamoo”.

The temptation is strong on me to mention a few truly distinguished names. But I know that once I start, I will risk either charges of favouritism or the indulgence of using up all our available space on a roll-call. Like the Rwandese umusigi griot, I risk burning the strings of my harp with the zeal of my song.

As for my rika, the group down from the mid-70s to the mid-60s, I say, “let us show us brave”, as Claude Mackay told us, and always continue the struggle. My undying dream, as you know, is of a “shenzi-less” society, where we all respect ourselves, respect one another and respect our environment.

That, anyway, is the legacy I would like to bequeath to the bulk of my readers, the age sets ranging from the 50-60 seniors, through the 40-50 “middlers” and the 30-40 “yuppies” (young upward mobile people or professionals), down to the most precious young adults. We elders should not tire of instilling into the new generations the need to build a truly “deshenzinised” society.

But, in the end, it is not the years under our belts that matter. Rather, it is the value of the experiences that we have garnered from those years that makes us truly the characters that we are. Another popular Kiswahili saying is “kuishi kwingi ni kuona mengi” (living long is seeing a lot). But the litmus test is the meaning of the lot that we have seen.

It is generally presumed that older people are wiser than younger ones. But it is quite possible that some elders are less wise (as shown by their behaviour) than when they were younger. I will take myself as an example.

RESOLUTIONS

I have been in the business of making New Year resolutions for almost as long as I can remember. But, unlike you and a few other people who faithfully observe and fulfil their resolutions, becoming better people in the process, I invariably break all of mine, even forgetting what they were, within the first few weeks or months of the year. Simple wisdom would dictate that I abandon the whole futile exercise. Yet I never give up on solemnly resolving, year in, year out.

Indeed, I am already resolving for 2019. But this time I am quite cautious, maybe the signs of some age-donated wisdom. I am making absolutely sure that I will keep my New Year resolution. I will ensure this through three main tricks. First, as you have already inferred, I am making only one resolution.

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