Gratitude Memoirs #2: Here’s to life! (Guest Blog)

Written by Cheryl Khuphe
If someone at exactly this time last year had told me that I would spend my next birthday in Harare, I would have looked at them, furrowed my brows and told them to crawl back into whichever hole they came from.

That’s how mad the thought would have made me.

While I am definitely not attracted to easy – I like comfortable.

I was so comfortable in Bulawayo even high water would have cascaded with me to another part of Bulawayo. was a tough 2013; but I learned courage

…it was a tough 2013; but I learned courage

Simply put I was not moving!

Until life happened. 3 days after my birthday, my work life changed. It felt like everything, I had ever known or held dear was dead.

In one day, I lost my innocence and realised that life could change in the blink of an eye, but sometimes even a blink is too long a wait.

In two days the faces in the office changed.

So there I was looking for my sanity, grappling at anything that would give meaning to whatever I was feeling, it was as if I were carrying a torchlight looking for a needle in the dark.

As I turn 26, young to some and old to some, I now know that sometimes we have to be uncomfortable to make life changing decisions.

Sometimes the rug needs to be pulled from under our feet for us to realise we were standing on a thin sheet of ice the whole time.

So it was during that week that I had a light bulb moment.

I realised that I could be comfortable but unhappy.

Does this mean happiness is in far off lands, God forbid!

Happiness is the state of your heart anywhere and anytime.

But my heart wasn’t really pumping in earnest; it was just pumping so that I could exist.

I had no new dreams and was simply immune to the ambition bug.

With no child, no love life, no business, no school I decided to grab life by the horns and move to Harare.

Of course I had to get a job first to make the move. I wonder how I must have looked like, checking in to the bus.

Multitudes of bags, teary eyed and continuously giving long hugs to my mother and brother but oh well, it’s not every day you realise I am leaving everything I know to everything I don’t know.

...I woke up one day and bade farewell to my mum, aunt and sisters...leaving everything familiar to face the unknown

…I woke up one day and bade farewell to my mum, aunt and sisters…leaving everything familiar to face the unknown

Months later, while I don’t have good days all the time, I don’t regret moving. Not because everyone says Harare will give me new opportunities but simply because I took the opportunity.

Simply because I folded item after item of clothing, neatly packed it, loaded my suitcases and presented myself to the City Link bus on a Saturday morning at 7.30am.

I don’t know what tomorrow holds but I know whatever challenges, obstacles and triumphs come my way, I will not shy away from the challenge.

I don’t have it all figured out but if I did then I wouldn’t need to wake up every morning.

I realise that I can’t have made the move, endured the uncertainty and made it through each day without the love and support of my family and my friends.

Since this is women’s month I will roll out the thank yous to the females that have been especially instrumental in the last 8 months.

I am a little apprehensive to do this in case I miss any names but it’s my birthday, forgive me!

Thanks to my mom (who loved me a whole 9 months before I took my first breath), my aunts (Sikhumbulani Mangena, Thabani Siziba, Thobekile Siziba, Medury Siziba, Noma Mangena, Leticia Siso) who never go a week without checking on me.

To my granny who keeps me grounded, my youngens Charlotte Khuphe, Charmaine Mhlophe, Shirley Khumbula and Tabita Dube who make me smile always and to my cousins Cindy Siso, Mpume Siso, Sandra Ndiweni, Khule Siso, one of these days we should all be in a room together mncwaaah.

For my older sisters from other mothers Mucha Ncube, Nhla and my mentors: Lucy Gimane and Karen Kelley who believe in me. amazing mentor - Karen Kelly - thank you for believing in me!

…my amazing mentor – Karen Kelley – thank you for believing in me!

And to my gals: Chele Sidambe, Snqoe Ndlovu, Sile Mathe, Gracious Ndlovu Gumbo, Petronella Nyathi, Nothando Ndlovu, Buhle Maphosa, Nozie Mlalazi, Rorisang Tlou, Wendy Mutema, Snokuthaba Ndebele (lol Snowy), Claire Jones (haha), Sibongiseni Mthwazi, Tapiwa Malaba Ncube – I might be blowing my own horn but I know you will never think twice about picking up my calls.

You have been there through this challenging phase of my life.

While I didn’t really state it outright – my 25th was the hardest year I have ever had to endure!

Thank you God, for all these lovely ladies, in blessing – bless them indeed!

And note to self: have faith, live, laugh, be kind and simply be!

Time flies…regardless of what we’re doing

There is nothing as disempowering as indecision. When you’re undecided about anything you’re stagnant and in a state of paralysis until you figure out what you want to do, where you want to go and how you want to get there.

It should be the easiest thing to know what we want but sometimes what we want might be so lofty that we are afraid to admit it to ourselves, let alone others. The funny thing is that sometimes the only way to identify what your dream is – is to identify the one thing you desire that you’re too scared to tell anyone about.

Our dreams scare us because they seem so unattainable at first and they seem so improbable that we don’t share them with anyone else to avoid looking or feeling foolish.

…time flies while we make sacrifices…it flies while we are stagnant and undecided.

We are all afraid of making the wrong choices, having regrets in the future and of going down the wrong path. So decision-making is at the core of our aspirations but to make those decisions we must be able to admit to ourselves (if no one else) what it is we truly really want deep, deep down in our hearts.

Sometimes we do know what we want but we lie to ourselves and pretend that we want something different because we know that what we truly want would require sacrifices of us that we’re unwilling to make.

Sacrifices are painful to make and decisions are hard to make because they entail making admissions to ourselves and to other people about what we really want. Most of us end up making the easy choice of doing what we’re expected to do even when it conflicts with what we truly desire.

Decisions often get tougher when something important to you is at stake…. The more it matters to you, the harder the decision becomes because the things we care about are the ones we are reluctant to compromise on.

Yet in many cases we choose to cave in, to compromise and to choose the path that seems easiest because we are scared of making the wrong choice. We wonder, – what if we follow the dream and it’s a dead end? Wouldn’t it have been better to just follow the crowd so that even if our lives turn out badly, we can find anonymity in numbers?

Well time flies…. It flies while we’re failing to make up our minds and decide what we want.

Time flies when you make a sacrifice…take the leap and chase your goal…. It flies when you sit around, wringing your hands in despair wondering what you’re going to do.

Time flies…. We can’t change that. But we get to decide what we’ll be doing with ourselves while the clock ticks away. It takes courage to make a decision and stick with it… don’t let time pass you by while you wallow in indecision.