2018 Was The Worst Year For Me : How A Mud-Walled House Made All The Difference

It is around 2 PM. Everyone is minding their own - or it appears so. The age difference is apparent. Young boys and young men.

Some are having conversations. Others are just quiet, thinking probably. A couple more are taking a bath in the stream a few paces down the farm.

But then, the evidence of a previous few hours' undertaking is all over the place.

Muddy bare feet. Dirty clothing. Visibly tired male youth. A shallow pit behind the house. And tools- hoes- strewn all over.

Most importantly, there it stood. Magnificent in its own right and perspective around here. The object of my friends' desire and the only reason we were here on December 28. A three-roomed tin roof mud-walled house. The job was over - at least on our part.

In a jiffy, food was served. Within the next few minutes, a good number were on their way heading back to whatever they had come from. I included.

Back to my place I noticed the feeling. A good feeling. A feeling of accomplishment. I could say there might have been a spike in dopamine levels but then how could I prove that ? You know, you can’t just throw around these scientific terms and making claims without backing them up. But I hope you get the picture.

And just then I thought to myself about putting it all down.

This piece is about it all. A year full of turmoil and a simple deed that calmed it all down. A few wins. And, above all, an invaluable lesson.

Join me.

The Darkest Time

I’ve had pretty rough times in the past but the year 2018 was a new limit - both on the higher and lower ends. It was like a double-headed serpent with each of the poisonous ends bringing in an almost equal amount of anguish - in two different ways.

Firstly, one end brought with it a barrage of pure fails. Never felt so much a loser in my whole life. It was like my tiny castle of past achievements was getting pulled down in a whim. To say the situation was tough would be an understatement. The rate of failure hit a new high.

And with that came the lower end - the second catastrophe from the serpent.

I felt my spirits dip to the lowest level. What was I to do? Everything I touched was going against my expectations. I had to battle a complete lack of motivation. I felt so useless - a piece of sh*t - to put it more crudely.

Small Wins

But in the midst of all this grim, I still managed to snag a few wins. Granted they weren’t as many and grand like my failures, still they re-ignited a sense of drive in my life.

Think of you trapped in an underground tunnel. The darkness is so thick it’s tangible. Probably a reduced oxygen concentration so breathing isn’t as smooth as it should be. No food. No water. You could be counting days to your ultimate demise but then you can’t tell day from night. You can’t do anything but wait for the Grim Reaper.

And then...

What was that ? You’re not sure if it is your eyes playing tricks on you. So you look more closely with every part of you concentrating fully. No, your eyesight is still intact. You saw a sparkle of light.

Imagine the renewed will to live.

That’s what my small wins awakened in me. May be I was clutching at straws. But the truth of the matter is that it felt good to achieve something even though on a minor scale.

Enough with the tales though. Here' the first part of this post...

2018 's Biggest Failures

I’ve said no more tales. Straight to the list of all the agents that made 2018 a dark year for me:

#1 Failed My Exams

I know it is hard to admit it but, I’d say, this was the root cause of all the abyss-like life surrounding. So it’s only natural that I include it.

Well, this is would have been for the previous year except that I got the results in 2018. This is a test I undertook in 2017 in my third year of study.

And I flopped.

The previous tests results hadn’t been all peaches and cream but these made wish for (and appreciate) the past ones.

The consequent outcome of the failure was the most crushing though. It meant

# 2 No Graduation

You see, the fact that I didn’t meet particular set scores meant that I was not eligible to proceed to the next year of study - which happened to be the final.

And that, by extension, automatically scrubbed me off the list of probable graduands.

I was devastated.

Not just by the prospect of spending an extra year in university and paying more in fees. But also by the fact that I was going to face, for the second time, concepts I had no remote chance of grasping.

Call it a negative attitude but this was all clear to me.

But I had to suck it in and see if I could get out alive - and probably with a degree. That also meant making new friends. Another tall order for me.

I still went back though, amid hours long pep talks from my old folks.

The first semester was rough - as expected. No friends. Same head-spinning concepts. And the same exams.

So I spent the better part of the second one mostly doing nothing. No classes. No effort to get the latest developings about my course. Just bad old bumming around.

By the time I was convinced by counselors at the university to give it one more shot, it was too late. There was no way I was going to catch up with what had been covered.

The only viable option to take was

#3 Deferring

I had to take a step back from my studies to the chagrin of my old man.

This meant several more years before I could be eligible to drape myself in the much celebrated graduation regalia. And hopefully live happily ever after.

At the time of writing this, I’m still on deferment and I’m expected back in September.

All these failures culminated into one big f*** up

#4 I’m Now In The Bad Books Of My Old Man

The most unfortunate occurrence in my opinion.

Each time the hits kept coming, the wider the rift between my dad and I became. To this day, there isn’t even a father-son small talk. Most of the time he’s grumpy and his answers, if I happen to ask him anything, are snappy or sometimes they aren’t there at all.

I can’t blame him at all. He had sacrificed so much to make sure I reach this level.

But look at me. I just kept on failing him (and myself) in every way that could suffice.

I don’t know. May be that affection towards me is lost forever. Only time will tell.

Whew. That was all about the bad times for the year.

The Wins

Remember the small wins I had mentioned earlier? Now it’s time to talk about them.

Being a freelance writer, all the achievements here are tied to my career. Well, they aren’t achievements. It is an achievement. The biggest I could wish for. And I’m sure it is something any service provider can hope for.

Can you guess?

OK, I’ll just go ahead and tell you:

Landing my first paying client. And another.

This was huge for me on two fronts.

First of all it really validated the idea that I could write something someone would be interested in reading and paying for. At least now I was sure that the trust I had in my writing capabilities wasn’t some delusion of grandeur or Dunning-Kruger effect at play.

Secondly, a few of the dollars flowing provided a proof of concept for me. The pennies, if I could call them that, showed that I could actually make money online - a goal I had pursued for long with nothing to show for it. It appears I was looking in the wrong places all this time.

That would have been just the only positive about my rather miserable life.

Until the house mentioned above happened.

And when it did, I was thankful that I took up the beck of lending a hand in putting it up.

I had always read about doing small things that could make a whole lot of difference in life. But to say I fully grasped the underlying idea would be a lie.

That simple act of taking part in helping my two friends ( they are brothers) put their bachelor pad affected me positively in ways unimaginable.

It made me ponder about how the year had been. Not that I hadn’t done it already. The inspiration here pulled me to the brighter side of things. A side I could talk about and cheer up someone this story will reach.

It even gave me an idea and a push to publish something after a long sabbatical.

What’s the takeaway from this ?

Do something that will impact someone’s life no matter how small.

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SaaS Content Writer For Hire. https://www.themusundi.com/

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Oscar Musundi

Oscar Musundi

SaaS Content Writer For Hire. https://www.themusundi.com/

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