She turned 30 last year and to celebrate the milestone, Diana sought some ‘me time’ at the beach—away from the fast pace of life. She wanted to think of the future, but most importantly, to reflect on the life she had lived so far.
Sadly, her memories weren’t so appealing. She observed that she had cared so much about other people’s opinions, feared to make mistakes and badly worried about what the future held.
Is this how she wanted to carry on with life? She didn’t think so. And with that brief revelation, Diana consequently vowed to have things change.
“I knew I had to let go and learn to live life in the moment. I made myself a promise to live my life the best way I know how. And with this, I have learnt to forgive myself and above all else, be comfortable in my own skin.” At 30, her life started, she says.
There is no user manual for life; this is why it is not always an easy journey.
Novelist Samuel Butler once said, ‘Life is like playing a violin in public and learning the instrument as one goes on.’
Yves Ujeneza, an entrepreneur, agrees with this. He says the best way to live life is to ‘move with the flow’. “Live in the moment; do not have too many expectations, appreciate what you have and be optimistic that the best is yet to come.”
He also believes that the best approach to life is to let it happen to you, rather than fight to be in control of everything.
“Allow situations will unfold in their own time. And in the meantime, appreciate your current moment; I learnt this the hard way,” Ujeneza says.
Allen Nambi, an office administrator, says she was the kind of person who used to worry so much about stuff, well-knowing that she couldn’t do anything about it.
This caused her anxiety and worry over the possibility of something even worse happening. She now says she wishes she had known better, for it would have saved her a lot of heartache.
“I wish I had known earlier that worrying and stressing was affecting my health and not changing the situation,” Nambi says.
For Lyna Nyamwiza, a college student, her lesson from life is that time is the only thing that can never be brought back, no matter what.
She observes that at times, people feel like they have enough time and end up postponing their duties, which delays success.
“I wish I knew sooner that each second counts and each wasted is a loss in our lives. I remember in 2016, my goal was to represent my country worldwide in public speaking and poem writing, even though I still have this ambition, the time to act on it is long overdue yet bigger responsibilities come every day,” she says.
She, however, says that with this mishap, she has made it a point to reflect and think well on how to best improve.
“I learnt that it was all due to lack of proper planning for my crucial activities, whereby I just did what was near or even postponed important activities,” she says.
She had to learn that timing was everything. “I now lay down my activities, prioritise what is crucial and try to follow my schedule and I believe there will be a better change because respect of time leaves success in your hands,” Nyamwiza adds.
Juliette Karitanyi, a communications person, says she wishes she had known that growing up is hard.
She expresses the endless responsibilities that come even when one doesn’t want them to.
She also wishes she had known that education is not enough and that one needs to add on great connections and constant learning.
Karitanyi says she has come to learn that its life that chooses one’s destiny.
“I wish I had known that there isn’t a timeframe for everything and life doesn’t happen in a certain protocol. You can be jobless and married, married without a child, single and jobless and many other unpredictable things because life chooses otherwise,” she says.
She also wishes to have known about her body and having learnt about sex at a young age. “It is not something to shy about. It is part of life and plays a big role in our lives.”
Love and let life be
Stella Tuyishime strongly believes that to live fully and help others have a better life is to love yourself and others as well.
Love is the only language I speak. It is the only thing I know first-hand that makes the world a better place, she says.
“I have promised myself to always let love lead the way, to love others and love myself as well. I always ensure to see good in others and let others see and experience only positive vibes from me,” she adds.
Rafak Nara agrees with Tuyishime saying that since life is already complicated, the least humans can do is to be as simple as they can. “Why hate when loving is the easiest and most noble thing to do? We can all make this world a better place if we choose to respect and appreciate each other,” she says.
Gillian Mugisha, however, disagrees, saying that with his experience in life, humans should be kept at a distance.
“I would advise to be very careful with the people we meet because most of them generally waste our time, or they can instead make you a bad person because of what they make you go through with them, and this can affect your personality,” he says.
He is also against expectations in life, especially if they are from people.
Mugisha says he lives by this mantra and he does his best not to expect a lot from people.
Karitanyi says that her experience with life has taught her that to love and to be loved isn’t just about feelings, but a commitment to another human being, and doesn’t guarantee a long lasting relationship.
The sadness and grief of losing a loved one has taught her another side of life, she says.
“Living without that person and sometimes not understanding why they are no longer with you can be hard,” she adds.
According to The Ladders, a US-based company providing career news and advice, good things don’t come easy. If you want to have a good life with a successful career, emotional satisfaction, and trustworthy friends you have to work hard. Luck can take you only so far and the rest is entirely up to you, the amount of effort you put in every day, and the ability to learn from your mistakes.
WHAT DO YOU WISH YOU HAD KNOWN SOONER IN LIFE?
Never to procrastinate, for procrastination is a killer of dreams and results in life changing consequences.
Knowing this has helped me reflect on all my missed opportunities, and also realise that there are sometimes always new opportunities to take up or look forward to.
Titus Gitonga, Programme manager
I wish I had known that time doesn’t stop. I would be quick and sharp with how I handled some things.
Plus, there would be things I wouldn’t be patient with.
Gadi Habumugisha, Photographer
That people’s opinion of who I am doesn’t really matter, and that what they think doesn’t have an impact on me unless I allow it to.
I wish I knew this; life would have been much easier.
Maureen Katushabe, Businesswoman
I wish I knew that life is not as complicated as it is perceived.
And that it is humans who try to complicate it by over analysing every detail of anything we come across.
Lillian Mutesi, Administrator