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Stuck in the Mud

May 01, 2016

If you are in the region, then you must be experiencing the one season most people dread; the rainy season. It has been raining elephants and lions lately and the roads have taken a major beating owing to the frequency of the rains. But the worst hit areas are not even the main roads but the in-roads that lead to most residential areas, except of course if you leave in Masaki, Oysterbay and the environs. For the rest of us who leave elsewhere, lets just say most of us are swimming in mud puddles since the “all weather roads” no longer exist.

You must have been seeing photos of vehicles stuck in the mud, others in very awkward positions. Some of them look like they took a nosedive while others look like they were drunk before “falling” in the mud and deciding to just lie on their side. It is funny when you see the images but I can tell you it is not funny when you are going through the experience yourself.

Then comes the tough part of getting people to help you. Things are no longer what they used to be and by extension, even people are no longer as humane as they used to be. There are some areas where youngsters in the hood have decided to dig deeper trenches on the roads so that unsuspecting motorists can get stuck in the puddles and since most of them (the motorists) would be in suits going to the office in the morning, then they would have no choice but to call those youngsters to push their cars out. Of course the pushing would not be free, friendly, neighborly assistance but a chargeable service. With conditions attached. In deed like I did say in a previous article I wrote a few years back, there are those who take advantage of the times to make money while the rest are just there lamenting and complaining. They are not afraid of getting into the mud and getting dirty. That mud is their cash-cow.

So it is that someone close to me nearly got stuck in the mud but thankfully, he was driving quite a powerful car and being the skillful driver he is, he was able to nicely get out of that sticky situation without assistance from the younglings who were waiting like vultures for the car to get stuck. It was not until after he had gotten out of the mud (much to the disappointment of the younglings) that he got to know that just before he arrived there was another vehicle that had gotten stuck right at the same point. However, none of those guys felt it necessary to warn him about that road ahead but instead, they wanted him to go get stuck so that they can make money out of him.

Yep, and that’s the world we are living in today, where people look for opportunities to make money out of others even if it means hitting them while they are down. It is sad but that is the fact. Times have changed. Human beings are becoming fewer and fewer every day even though we have 7 billion plus people roaming the streets of this world.  They are not becoming fewer because they are dying, but because the humane side of people seems to be dying daily. Yes my friend there is a very distinct difference between people and human beings nowadays. In my world, human beings are humane meaning they treat others like they would like to be treated. They treat others like they have a soul, they are mindful of their feelings and wellbeing. The contrast between human beings and people is that people live by the selfish principal of “everyone for themselves and God for us all”. But that is not what I want to talk about today so let me drop that subject right there.

Going back to what I was saying, the rains have caused quite a lot of havoc in the region and as a result lots of drivers have found themselves stuck in the mud either because the roads have been genuinely damaged or the damage has been stage managed by some strategic hoodlums for their own benefit.  Many people I know have had their cars damaged by the roads (or lack of roads) and I know by the time the rains are over, most will be investing in mechanic fees and repairs for their cars.

This whole issue of getting stuck in the mud has made me think of the many ways we as human beings (figuratively speaking) also get stuck in the mud. The mud could come in different ways such as being in a bad relationship, or working for a bad employer, or being heart broken, or dealing with a terrible health condition, or being stuck in an addiction that seems to not to want to let go, or being in a financial rut, etc. Whatever the situation, I can almost bet that each one of us has been stuck in the mud at least once in this lifetime.

So what do you do when you get stuck? Let’s assume the sticky situation you are going through is a real mud puddle. If you were to find yourself in it, what would you do? Would you decide to stay in the puddle like a pig and play with the dirty water? Would you decide to just sit there and do nothing, while feeling sorry for yourself and having a pity party? I would like to think you wouldn’t unless there is some loose connection in your brain. The one thing anyone normal would do is to try to get out of that mud as fast as possible, and if possible ensure no one else sees them coming out of the mud. You know how people are, instead of helping, some will start laughing at you for falling in the mud, and especially in this era of selfies and social media, your photo would be on Facebook even before your behind lands on the mud.

In the same way we try as much as possible to get out of the physical mud, we should also try to get out of sticky situations as fast as possible. So how do we do that? First and foremost we have to accept that it has happened. No need being in denial because the more you are in denial, the longer it will take you to get out of the mud. So what if you have broken up with your fiancé of 9 years? Make peace with that reality and find a way of moving on. If you have lost your business or your job, then make peace with that too and find a way of getting up on your feet again.  If it is an addiction problem, face up to reality and admit you need help. Don’t let your ego get in the way of your redemption.

Once you have made peace with the facts on the ground, the next thing you should do is evaluate the situation and see what went wrong where. Sometimes you may not even have contributed to your falling in the mud. It may have been engineered solely by external factors that you had no control over and you just happened to be part of the collateral damage. Well, look beyond this unfortunate circumstances and move on. Learn from your experience and apply the lessons in your next move in life. Like Kenny Rogers said in one of his songs, “pick yourself up, dust yourself off and start all over again”.

I know it is not always easy but you cannot stay in the mud forever. You have to get out of it, go get cleaned up, put on some clean clothes, take a hot mug of chocolate and as you are mulling over what happened, look at all the angles of the situation then make a conscious decision to bury it and move on. A cautionary word though; don’t take too long thinking about what happened because the longer you do, the longer it will take you to bounce back. The fastest way to bounce back from a muddy situation is by facing the facts as soon as possible and making a decision to move on no matter what happened. I like this Japanese proverb that says, “fall down seven times, get up eight”. In other words it doesn’t matter how many times you fall, in the end you have to get up on your feet again.

I don’t know how many times you’ve gotten stuck in the mud since the year began, or just within this recently concluded month of April. It doesn’t matter. What matters now is that you have a new day and a new month to start all over again. Have an optimistic attitude that even though stuff didn’t work out in the past, this time round things will work out. Remember, your past is in the past and today marks the beginning of the rest of your life. You can decide today to get up and do things you never did before in order for you to acquire things you never had before.

I don’t know about you but this is what I have purposed to do starting from this minute going forward. Care to join me?

Wishing you courage, determination, strength and a hunger to succeed as you lift yourself up to start all over again. May (pun intended) this 5th month of the year 2016 be a major turning point in your life. 

 

PS: Article originally published in Tanzania's Guardian on Sunday on the 1st May, 2016, under my weekly column "Thoughts in Words".

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