My grandmother is a special one. Meaning she is brutally honest.
She will call situations as they are. No sugar-coating.
No kind words where they are not needed. And certainly, no dilly dallying.
I think she is too old to give any more undeserved f’s.
She does not need to be politically correct because she is in a place where truth and facts matter more than admiration and small pleasantries.
That is precisely why she is my favorite person. Well, that and the fact that we have been so close for so long that most people actually think we look alike. To be fair, we do look alike – just a little bit.
She has been there ever since I first started nursery school in ‘94. I remember looking forward to each day of school, and sharing my 10 o’clock snack with her. The other toddlers in my class must have seen me as a teachers’ pet. I did not care because one of those teachers was my grandma. And it cannot get any better than that. Can it?
But that was so long ago. Now she is long retired, and am long done with school. And we live a few hundred kilometers apart. From time to time, she will call to pick a fight with me for ignoring her. Which I don’t think I’d intentionally do. Or to ask me the toughest of questions. God, she asks very very difficult questions. Often times I have no answers for her, and the minutes will be filled with uneasy laughter (from me), and hesitation markers (from her) as she waits for me to tell her why am not yet married. Or when I will take my kid to see her. Or why she has not heard me mention any special person in my life. Or why I feel I’ve grown too big to talk to her on the phone or to even visit her.
To this very day, however, the one question she has ever asked me, for which I did not (and still do not) have an answer is what I plan on doing with my life. I could not answer because I did not have the answer. And I did not know where, when or even how to get the answer to that query. I mean, how does one know what their life will be like? Well, the much I know is that I have to do something meaningful, and fast. Other than that, I don’t have the roughest idea how the future will turn out. Because am a millennial, and millennials like me have a hard time because our existence is more of a quick sand. Life is filled with so many uncertainties; like last year, I thought I was all settled and comfortable, then one day I woke up and sold everything in my house then travelled to the farthest end of the country. And before I could even say “Thank you God” I was back to where I had so hurriedly left. So when my grandma asked me what I plan on doing with my life and I told her am still working on that, she surely must have thought I was crazy.
Am sure am not the only person who lives life one day at a time. Because most of the people I know are either misfits or outliers – often times both. People that society does not really understand because like me, they shade outside the lines of normal life. They do not conform to any specific descriptions or titles. Grandma has complained to me on more than one occasion how disorganized our generation is, and how the technological advancements have made us think we are special creatures. She has cried about her friend’s grandchild who spent seven years in medical school training to become a surgeon only to end up deejaying in clubs around Nairobi and Mombasa. She also complains of my twenty-eight year old cousin who still lives with his mother, or of the distant relative who managed to drink himself out of three jobs in under two years.
It therefore must have been extremely strange to her when she asked me what I do for a living and I told her ‘a bit of this, and a bit of that.” She often looks at me like am crazy – wonders how one day I was actually employed then the next I left my work to go and hustle. Am sure so many people from the older generations look at my generation and wonder who cursed some of us (actually, the majority of us). Because the lives we live are very strange, and the decisions we make are very odd. But we are individuals, each living their own lives. Many times those lives are funny and weird.
But such is life. Each generation is weirder than the last. Because this life we live is not easy to understand. It is not static, but very fluid. It is hard to achieve stability because sometimes stability is too normal. Or to conform to societal norms and expectations because conformity is the jailer of freedom… So everyone of us just does their own thing as best as they can.
Am sure that just like me, many in my generation were cut from the cloth of misfits and outliers.