Making Life Beautiful - Reflections of a Young Man™

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Making Life Beautiful



While wandering through the world wide web some years back in search of a wonderful short story we studied in high school, I came across a thought-provoking blog whose author seemed to be possessed with a rare insight in human nature. I eventually befriended the blogger who occasionally permitted me to plagiarize his stories before I discovered that plagiarism can cause acute foolishness.

The blogger has long since withdrawn his blog from the net and my attempts to cajole him to bring it back online have proved futile because he neither picks my calls nor replies to my messages these days. But I am sure he reads this re-branded website of mine. (Yes, it's you Ngishili Njuguna!)

So I beg to reproduce an insightful short story that he posted in his now extinct blog. I have edited it for clarity which am sure Ngishili will not object because I have acknowledged him as the author of the story. My edited version goes as follows:
"Life is a gift. Like any other gift someone might give us, we are the ones responsible for adding value to our lives.

Take the example of a vase. If someone was to give us such a gift, we might opt to accept the vase and hide it in a private corner in a house to prevent it from being accidentally broken. Or we might opt to put flowers in the vase and showcase it in a prominent space in the house where others will admire it often.

Opting to showcase the vase in a prominent place with flowers in it adds value to the vase. Being the people who received it as a gift, we are the ones who have added value to it.

Similarly, we are the ones responsible for adding value to the gift we call life. And how can we add value to the life God gave us? By making use of our in-born talents as well as the skills we acquire in school and in the real world.

So we ought to ask ourselves: what are our in-born talents and skills? Could it be drawing cartoons, working with numbers, tinkering with machines or counselling troubled people? And are we making use of those in-born talents and skills on a regular basis?

There is a catch here though. Other than knowing our talents and skills, it is important to know what they can be used for. For example, a vase is useful in showcasing flowers and will break if used as a hammer for nails. So we should learn also where to apply our talents and skills most effectively. See?"
That story touched me with its parable-like simplicity and wisdom which I have strived to apply in my life. I may be lacking a university degree but am glad that so far, I have been productively developing every talent God gave me: writing, walking, socializing, singing, web-designing, public-speaking, piano-playing and computer-programming. Like I personally set up this website using the KISS Principle (Keep It Simple, Stupid).

I urge you to also join me in this journey of developing our talents so as to make use of this gift we call life; it's the best, easiest and perhaps the only way to lead a fulfilling life. And let us strive to apply those gifts with some passion, some fashion, some class and some style.

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Benefits of Physical Exercise

This is the legendary 2003 Starehe Boys' volleyball team on the shores of Lake Victoria where we had travelled for national championships. I am the third young man in the front row, squatting and in a cap.


As an ardent reader of History, I have discovered that every great crisis the world has undergone led to steps being taken by leaders to prevent a recurrence of that crisis. Like the World War 2 led to the formation of the United Nations whose purpose was to make the strong nations just and the weak secure so as to preserve peace in the world.

On a more personal level, the crisis I underwent back in 2008 at JKUAT, where I was hospitalized for several weeks, instilled in me a spirit of exercising physically on a regular basis. I just shudder at the thought of gaining too much weight or trembling when unlocking a padlock due to excessive indolence like I did in 2008.

That's why I exercise physically on a regular basis these days. My preferred form of exercise is walking not only because I enjoy it much but also because a health expert wrote that it is enough provided it is done at least three times a week for at least 45 minutes each time (if my memory serves me well).

And whenever I go for several days without walking (like I usually do when I lose my mojo), I eventually find myself jogging all the way from home to a stream two kilometres away near Kiserian Town - like I did yesterday evening after experiencing a lackadaisical week.

I hope to maintain and improve on that spirit of exercising till my last days on earth which I hope will be in my nineties. And that's great because according to Glencoe Health: A Guide to Wellness, exercise:
  • strengthens your cardiovascular system,
  • helps you control weight,
  • burns off unnecessary fat,
  • improves your appearance,
  • improves your sleep,
  • improves your breathing,
  • reduces stress,
  • improves your mood and outlook,
  • decreases your appetite,
  • gives you more energy and decreases fatigue,
  • uses time productively,
  • reduces boredom,
  • provides social opportunities,
  • boosts your self-esteem! [1]
Thinking about those wonderful benefits of physical exercise reminds me of my high school years at Starehe Boys' when I served in the school volleyball team. I would wake up to go for exercises at 6.00am in the morning and then play volleyball in the evening for two hours yet still thrive during class and prep hours - an aspect of me that I lost at JKUAT where I would get fatigued to sleep during the day probably for lack of a balanced lifestyle between studies and play. All work and no play made Thuita a dull young man.

But I am striving to regain the physical vitality that characterized my volleyball years at Starehe especially during these youthful years of mine when I am at the prime of my physical strength. My game plan is to re-read those benefits of exercise that I have listed till I drive the desire for exercise into every fibre of my being. So help me God.

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[1] I have extracted these benefits of laughing from page 17 of Glencoe Health: A Guide to Wellness (Fourth Edition) by Mary Bronson and Don Merki, published in 1994 by McGraw Hill.

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In The Arena



Some time when I was in Standard 5 at the impoverished Naru-Moru Primary School of the '90s, I loved taking part in a boyish football game called Chobo which I am sure must still be popular among boys in village schools here in Kenya. Basically, the main aim of the game was to beat up the boy who happened to have the ball pass in between his legs as we dribbled it past one another. So we all had to be cautious not to be caught off-guard.

Some boys were always extra-cautious not to be caught off-guard by standing still when the ball came near them or idling by the sidelines as they waited for the unfortunate culprit to beat up. But for me, I used to be among the few outgoing players in the arena who dribbled the ball while trying to pass it between some boy's legs. And on several of those Chobo games, I managed to come out of every game unscathed until one fateful morning break-time.

I was dribbling the ball with my usual valour and vitality when it passed in between my legs. And then suddenly, every boy especially the fearful idlers descended on me with kicks and blows on every part of my body except the gonads. After what seemed like an eternity of getting beaten, I must have gone back to class when the bell rang feeling more like a wildebeest that had escaped the jaws of a crocodile. That was way back in 1998 before the current 18-year old teens were born.

On reflecting about that boyish Chobo game as we played it in those days, I have discovered that it bears resemblance with human life in that most people idle fearlessly on the sidelines while waiting for the makers of the world to mess up so that they can descend on them with ridicule, criticism and malicious slander. I have been a victim of such attack especially on social media where I have been blocked, vilified and unfriended in my endeavour of sharing stories that entertain, enlighten and inspire.

But what have kept me going amidst the attack are my dreams, desires and visions as well as the inspirational writings of great men like this one by Theodore Roosevelt:
"It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat."
So I will continue pursuing my dreams with renewed valour and vitality like I used to dribble the ball while playing Chobo in those old days at Naru-Moru. And when people ask you what Thuita does and where he is, just tell them he is the man in the arena.

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