I woke up the other day yearning for some flavor and excitement in my life mainly coz I had kind of elapsed into a sort of routine for a couple of weeks. Some times we go through life just existing… truth is, there’s more to life regardless of whatever circumstances you find yourself in.
If the analogy to our lives is a machine, the routine I had fallen into would be like…flip the switch on… gear 1… gear 2… gear 3… sputter sputter crank… machine slowing down… flip the switch off. EVERY DAY- 365 in a row! How boring!
Life is more than just existing, life is creating memories, life is challenging your fears, life is jolting some adrenalin filled moments into your DNA, Life is going through the valley of shadow of death without giving up! For all it’s worth, there are many things we can do to add purpose to our lives or to simply add colour to what would be an ordinarily plain lifestyle.
Here are 28 things I believe someone must do in one’s life time:
- Live in another country besides the one where you were born. There’s plenty to chose from. Some countries are harder to get into than others…but the truth is that you are spoiled for choice; not with the 196 that we know of, well, maybe if we remove Taiwan, then it’ll be 195.
- Have a diverse collection of friends. I cannot… I just cannot stress this enough. It will change your world view! It will enrich your emotional intelligence (EI is a definite plus when navigating today’s networking arena!). I’m not trying to show off (ok… I am, but just a little bit), but it’s very humbling to be able to form opinions because of the diverse set of friends I have. Let’s see, I have a German Turk female friend, A Jordanian Palestine, A 90 year old sikh male friend, an 8 year old female buddy, a friend who was born with spina bifida, my boda boda driver and the list is endless.
- Plan a road trip across your home nation. I don’t care who you are or where you are from, but if you know very little about your country geographically, that’s just not right. I know that some people do not like travelling, but planning is the key here. Take time to plan the road trip, invite a couple of friends or family to join you and actually do it! Nothing beats the feeling of going across homeland!
- Eat a meal from each of the known seven continents on earth. One of the languages I speak, luganda, is full of witty and wise sayings like this one; ‘Atannayita: y’atenda nnyina obufumbi (okufumba)’ basically translated as ‘The person who has not traveled widely thinks his or her mother is the only cook (or the best cook)’. Let’s bring this back to meals, sometimes we deceive ourselves into thinking that the only great food that exists is that which we know or that which we were raised eating. NOT TRUE! Being able to eat a meal from each of the known continents will enrich your taste buds as well make you appreciate that which is different. I’m still trying to muster up the courage to eat poke and Japanese sushi!
- Carry out a random act of kindness every week for 6 months. There’s no way to roll all the benefits of this into a single post. You don’t have to have tons of money or time to be kind, sometimes a genuine smile and hullo is all it takes to brighten up someone’s day. So, get up today and get on with carrying out random acts of kindness. Please remember to come back and share your experience or what lessons you picked up in the comments box below.
- Tell each member of your family why he or she is important to you. It’s funny that many cultures around the world wait for you to die, then they’ll pull up every nice thing about you and cry about why they never said what you meant to them. So, grab that courage like it’s a thing, then tell each family member what they mean to you even if you hear the bells clanging in your head.
- Give a talk on something you are passionate about. The truth is that not all of are born with the gift of being able to command crowds through public speaking. The misconception is thinking that giving a talk has to be in front of a big crowd, it could be a talk with only five people. Talking about something you’re passionate about is probably 50% of the job done. It will boost your confidence and give you a chance to teach others.
- Look for someone with a need and work towards fulfilling that need. The intrinsic value gained from helping out someone can never be monetized. The other amazing thing about zeroing in on a person intentionally is that it will make you happy, make them happy and it will enhance the relationship between the two of you. And scientific researchers say that helping others leads to a longer life! Fancy adding more years to your life span!
- Write a letter to the president or the governor or mayor about something in the community that needs to be addressed. Making a difference in your community is not only for the politicians or the rich. Being proactive about creating a liveable and safe community is everybody’s responsibility. Taking time to fulfill your civic duty by engaging the leaders is no small feat. It can be about a particular pothole or lack of lighting on the streets. If each of us became proactive about solving problems in our community… about speaking up… imagine the ripple effect of positive change this would cause!
- Laugh aloud in a public place until a couple of people start laughing along with you. The coolest thing about laughing is that it’s effortless… it costs you nothing! I could go into a rhapsody about the benefits of laughing, but I won’t. Not now anyway…it’d probably be a whole blog post. But I’ll say this, laughing keeps you young, that’s been proven scientifically and laughing also boosts the immune system by decreasing stress hormones. When you laugh, this triggers the release of endorphin (happy hormones) in your body which is great for your heart. Here’s the crazy thing though, laughing burns calories (in addition to your gym routine) and when you burst out into that loud boisterous way, every one around you will join in and the world be happier place!
- Take part in a triathlon. A triathlon in simple terms is a multiplex stage race that comprises of three extended and successive stamina disciplines. Taking part in one is a life changing experience.
- Volunteer to baby sit for a single parent just so they can have a break. We all know that being a parent is a full time job, and the load even gets heavier when one parent does all the care-giving. This kind gesture goes a long way.
- Own a pet. I know. I know what you’re all thinking. TOO MUCH WORK! Having one teaches you responsibility and will ensure you will never be lonely again.
- Sell stuff at a car boot sale or flea market. Besides making a few extra bucks from stuff you don’t need, selling stuff like this helps you clean out your life. Many a time we pile a lot of junk in our homes (usually referred to as hoarding). IT’S HIGHLY LIKELY THAT 3/4 OF THE STUFF WE BUY, WE DON’T NEED. The funny thing is that there’s always someone out there who needs it, but probably cannot afford to pay full price for that item. Selling at a flea market is also rewarding because you get to meet people from all walks of life. I remember once setting up a stall at a flea market with my sister. We sold some random items that included hideous clothes (in my opinion) and dvd’s.
- Create your own garden and be sure to eat from it. The size of the garden does not matter. Just be creative about it. Nothing beats organic. there’s all kinds of hacks these days in optimizing small spaces when growing your own food that space should never be an excuse not to grow your own food. One of the things I admire and love about my dad is his ‘green hands’. He’s always been able to grow food around the home without the place looking like some kind of bush. Growing your own food is definitely a huge step towards making excellent choices about what goes onto your plate. Besides, you get to harvest food that hasn’t had bad fertilizers or pesticides used on it.
- Learn how to play a musical instrument. Besides looking cool, learning to play an instrument will enhance your creativity, build your patience and whether you believe it or not… will reduce your stress levels!
- Clean out your house (closet) thoroughly and give out any items you haven’t used in a year. Some people refer to this as spring cleaning, but whatever you call it, the benefits remain the same. The action of cleaning itself will make you happy, promote healthy and minimalistic living as well as boost your charity giving.
- Save up for a luxurious item that you’ve always dreamed of owning. (… it could even be a trip, or even a hotel room). We work so damn hard every single day of our lives. There’s no harm in rewarding yourself with a feel good gift! The truth is we live only once and we carry none of the stuff we accumulate with us when we die… so go ahead and save towards that one thing you’ve always dreamed of.
- Take part in a public demonstration to exercise your civil rights. If you have the liberty to do this, you must! Many before us sacrificed much to win this right; many still struggle for it; and too many in the world are still denied it. Add your voice and contribution to creating a better ideal of democracy.
- Plant 100 trees in your life time. Y’all, climate change is real! It doesn’t take much to plant a tree. Imagine if we all made it our mission to plant 100 trees!
- Start a family tradition. You can even think up a name for it… it will probably be carried on for years after you are long gone. Many of the traditions that we celebrate today were actually started by someone or a group of people. Who says that you cannot do that for your family?
- Write a book and get it published. We live in a knowledge based era where people are hungry for information. There’s so much you can share about your life or skills. Publishing has been made easy with platforms where you can self- publish like on amazon. Go ahead and write that book!
- Go mountain climbing. Besides the fitness and health benefits, the views up there are to kill for. This is on my bucket list and hopefully, it’ll be a mountain in Africa.
- Stand up for the voiceless or disadvantaged. There is great satisfaction gained from doing this. Nothing beats the feeling of being able to help make someone’s life better! Think of all the freedoms we enjoy today because someone somewhere was not afraid to stand up or to be the voice of reason.
- Sing at a karaoke bar or party. You don’t have to be a gifted singer to enjoy letting go and singing your heart out. Do it with friends or alone – the benefits are the same.
- Turn your talent or skill into a side hustle. If you have any hobbies or special skills that have earning potential, think about turning them into income-generating opportunities. For instance, if you enjoy cooking, you might be able to find catering gigs locally or among your friends. This gives you the opportunity to explore your talents without losing the stability of your day job.
- Go to therapy. Generally, many people have a hard time talking about mental health issues. Some societies still consider depression and anxiety as shameful to have. As we grow through life, it’s inevitable that we will encounter traumatic experiences, grief and losses which have an impact on our mental health. Thinking about therapy now…just do it!
- Write your will and update it annually. A will tells everyone what should happen to your property and riches after you die. This is what is called your estate. If you don’t leave a will, like what happened when my mother died, the law decides how your estate is passed on and this might not be in line with what you want for your children or family.
Changing the narrative. Telling my African story