"How does one become a butterfly"…she asked? "You must want to fly so much that that you are willing to give up being a caterpillar".
Lately, I have been thinking a lot about dreams and ambitions. I used to pride myself as an ambitious person who dreamed big and pursued those dreams relentlessly. I used to set goals, put myself out there, take chances and refuse to quit. I have to say I lived some of my dreams; some which I never thought would become a reality either because they seemed too unrealistic, too silly and crazy – but come to pass they did.
To be frank it has been a long time since I sat down and re-evaluated my life, where I am, where I want to be and where I am going. It’s like I have shelved some of my dreams for one reason or the other. Yes, life it too hectic, there is always so much to do and sometimes this busyness runs me down leaving be too exhausted and lazy to do much. Then there is the issue of procrastination – it never seems to be right time or the right way to do it. Then lately I have been thinking that it is simply too late to do some of the things I have always wanted to do – for instance simple things like learning to swim or ride a bike. Making too many excuses that is the problem.
Then a few days ago I watched this film called the First Grader, which is based on a true story of Kimani Ng'ang'a Maruge a Kenyan man who holds the holds the Guinness World Record for being the oldest person to start primary school. The story of this man stirred something inside of me and lit again that fire and zeal I used to have when it came to my dreams. He reminded me that it is never too late to pursue a dream or desire. Marunge at the age of 84 in 2004 enrolled to be a first grade student after an announcement by the Kenyan government about free elementary education in 2003. One of his dreams was to be able to read his letters himself; he wanted the empowerment that came with education. This man faced much opposition but he refused to be denied the opportunity which had represented itself in the announcement of free elementary education for all (his argument being that no age limit was given). In the remaining 5 years of Marunge’s life he achieved things he would not have done so had he just accepted that he was too old and it was too late. He was appointed head boy at the school he was going to as he was a model student and in 2005 he went to New York where he addressed the United Nations Millennium Development Summit on the importance of free primary education. It was also the first time that he boarded a plane. I believe that when Marunge died in 2009 he died a fulfilled man having lived his dream and so much more.
Thank you Marunge for leaving behind such a powerful piece of history that reminds us who are on the verge of giving up thinking it is too late or what is the point . How wonderful it would be get to the end of our lives and be able to say we lived a full and fulfilling life – either having chased our dreams or lived them or at least having had a go at them.