Unlearn and Relearn: Un box your Mindset
I have always prided myself in being an open minded man – a guy who does not put things ‘into boxes’ and of the firm belief that people should plant themselves where they thrive best.
It is often said that if you judge a monkey by its ability to swim, it will forever think it is foolish. This world is not made of shades of grey – It is made of colors… like azure, coral, emerald and marigold (I know men pride themselves in being colour blind and all, but hey, it is what it is).
A lot of us may be comfortable with painting everything in black and white, and fitting it all into boxes which we all want to understand. However, I don’t do that to myself. My personality exudes itself in a million different colors, though despite my strong “unorthodox” beliefs, I found myself recently passing judgement on a friend for their life choices.
You see, my friend Sam* decided to “date” a woman who is already engaged in another relationship. For the life of it, I could not fathom why a successful banker would choose to play a supporting role in someone else’s story, when they could be the main star in their own.
Without judgement, I have been conditioned to believe that monogamy is the only way to go. That has been my ‘box’ and I am slowly coming to realize that I have to come out of that box. And the question whether it is possible to love two people at the same time has been vivid in my mind over the last couple of weeks, thanks in part to Sam’s revelation.
A story recently ran in the Daily Nation, of a woman in a happy marriage with two husbands – what is commonly known as polyandry. She had married the two men at different times in her life. The men had been there for her at times when she was most vulnerable and needed a companion. The woman said that she loved both men and was happy, a view which was reiterated by the husbands with whom they have 11 children together.
The social media keyboard warriors were the first to throw stones at the lady for going against the “norm”, while in reality, three quarters of men are in polygamous unions which they are just unaware of. However, I digress.
Millennials have a life motto of ‘doing what makes you happy’, but admittedly, we never really interrogate what that means. For many of us, we often mean it, so long as it fits within the ‘box’ we are accustomed to. People have become slaves of norms, unwilling to push the boundaries for just an inch of happiness, to the point that they become complacent.
I personally don’t want to wake up one day and feel as if I have never lived. Regret is the kind of death you hear about, and until it happens to you. You really have no effying idea how to reverse it. I don’t want to wake up one day and not have the strength to change my mind, when I know that getting out of bed earlier will lead me to more ideas and experiences. I don’t want to wake up and not have the chance to get into my vehicle, and drive where the world meets crazy with open arms.
I don’t want to breathe in stories from someone else’s nostrils, when I had an opportunity to do the same thing from my own. We put value on things which without money, we could never afford, but there happen to be free memories we pass on, simply because we say we are too busy, or we will get to them later on. There is no later on… there is only now, and I hope I make it out of my comfort zone to know what it feels like not to miss anything.
To Sam, at this moment, he is in love and happy, and that is enough for him, as it should be for me as part of his support system. That love is not mine to understand or to approve of. We all hope to have our eyes open long enough to feel the piercing impact which love can have, once you give yourself a chance to roam as far as your wings can take you; saying no to what ignites our soul only leaves us crawling around looking for more excuses.
So stop embracing ‘boxes’ and unlearn and relearn. That’s what life is all about – getting out of your skin to experience the impossible and the inexplicable, to know that something greater could be out there for us.
*Sam is not the gentleman’s real name used in this piece.
The writer of this article is Kevin Mwangi, an Advocate of the High Court of Kenya, a 2018 Young Kenya Lawyer of the Year nominee and a 2018 fellow of the Young Africa Leadership Initiative.