I never thought that I would leap from bed one morning right into the arms of the year 2020. Yet that is exactly what happened that bright, first morning of this unique ‘double 20 year.’
Twenty years ago during the dawn of the new millennium in the year 2000, my mind had never wrapped itself around the reality of 2020, which seemed to be far off on the horizon at the time. Yet here we are, in the bosom of 2020.
I shared the final lunch of the year with Lenny and Sunil, the young couple that has now been sailing in the ocean of marriage for a year. As I caught up with Lenny who had just returned from Hungary for holiday, Sunil stirred a pot of divine beef gravy as she sneaked in and out of my conversation with her husband.
“Traveling opens one’s mind,” he said as he forked a piece of meat on his plate and thrust it into his mouth. He told me about a professor of his who had challenged him to think harder. The Hungarian professor had a habit of looking into his eyes and posing provoking questions like the real origin of Christmas day and why many African countries wallow in poverty despite the religious strength of citizens of those countries.
Such is the deep conversation that accompanied every bite that we took. Almost one hour later, empty plates were dispatched to the kitchenette adjacent to the living room then we sank deeper into this conversation for the entire afternoon and early evening. Then I drove home and switched off my phone. I always love to cross into a new year alone, in the deep embrace of silence.
Just like that, we are twenty years deep into a new millennium. People like my friend and little sister Glory, who were born at the stroke of the new millennium, are now twenty years old. Adults. People like me, who were born when the seventies were screeching to a halt, are now on the right side of forty. Time is flying much faster than the Kenya Airways Boeing 787-8 - Dreamliner jet. But where exactly is time flying towards? What drives time? Answers to these two questions may not be crystal clear, but one thing is certain - we should all be the focused drivers of our time, not just passengers. We should steer our days towards our goals, not just sit there and see where our days will lead us to.
Leo Tolstoy, the bearded nineteenth century Russian writer once said that, “The two most powerful warriors are patience and time.” This means that time is a warrior that can fight either for or against you. In November 2019, I flew on a Kenya Airways dreamliner from Johannesburg to Nairobi. Our Pilot was Captain Kimani. He flew the 118 tonne bird (the weight of 80 cars) to Nairobi, not Dakar or Dubai. When you are the captain of your time who knows where you are going, time will fight for you, not against you.
More than two hundred years ago, Benjamin Franklin, one of the founding fathers of USA declared that, “Time is money.” This means that wasting time puts you in the same category with a bank robber. In the US, Kirk Radke a private equity and corporate lawyer charges clients 1,250 US Dollars per hour. Think about that the next time you waste a whole hour. But more than money, your hour is your life so when you waste it, you are literally wasting your life. Don’t waste your life in 2020.
Theophrastus the ancient Greek philosopher declared that, “Time is the most valuable thing a man can spend.” We may not all have much money but as long as we are alive, we all have time, which makes us equal. Life hands us all twenty four hours in a day. How we spend those hours is what differs. Eliud Kipchoge, the greatest marathoner of all time, spends many of those hours running in the dusty, scenic paths of the Great Rift Valley. No wonder he is the greatest long distance runner of all time. Jimmi Hendrix often spent more than twelve hours practicing the guitar. No wonder he was the greatest guitarist of all time. Invest your twenty-four hours wisely and consistently. That investment will lead you gradually to greatness in whatever you are investing that time in.
Stephen R. Covey the famous American author elaborated further, “the key is in not spending time, but in investing it.”
Bwak the Bantu Poet, put it plainly, “yesterday is gone, it’s no more. Tomorrow will come, it’s not yet. All you have is now. Give it your all.”
2020 is here and it’s all we have because 2019 is gone and 2021 is not yet here. Let us use 2020 as our very own dreamliner jet that we shall fly into realization of our dreams. May God help us to do so.