Does this blouse make me look like a magician?

I turned 30.

It’s been over a fortnight in the space between that sentence, and the remainder of this story. That’s what being 30 does to you – it allows you to pause things, gives you space to reflect and act only when you’ve made a decision to. To some degree, time gives you time to catch your breath. I like that.

I wanted two things for myself before I turned 30. Just two: I wanted to be a millionaire. And I wanted to have toured New York on my own account.

Neither came to pass.

I don’t remember much about being 29. Being 29 was about being in a gap year. Sharpening my axe. Setting my ducks in a row. Positioning myself to receive, I don’t know, the magic for when it landed in my laps. Preparing for things, and preparing for things to happen. It was about getting ready. I needed to be prepared to be ready.

In retrospect, I was being safe-sighted and unwise. Being ready meant that I didn’t really live in the moments of being 29. I spent the present readying myself for what would follow this moment. I lived in anticipation of the next, ahead of myself – a month ahead with my bills, with my pruned and perfected pieces waiting for their turn to run, with my growing list of story ideas, with my month’s plans, with my quarterly goals. It meant passing over unexpected opportunities because they didn’t fall within my plans.
It worked when I was younger. Doesn’t anymore. Because being ready meant being exhausted in meticulous preparation half the time, and missing out on the sense of accomplishment in the other half. Get this, I had to explain to myself when/why I fell short (That reminds me of a story. In early April, I had my end-of-quarter-two taking stock meeting. Don’t ask. And the conclusion I made was this: You are a lazy, poor woman. When I turned 30, I found what I had written to myself. I circled it with a red pen and directed it to a smiley face as a speech bubble. Right next to it, I scribbled ‘LoL. Calm the fuck down!’ I thought that too hilarious). Such a stiff, man. Stop clenching those butt cheeks so tight.

I had an episode from late July that was pivotal in shedding off this burden of preparation I had draped around my shoulders. It was a Wednesday, late evening from jobo. I caught sight of my reflection in the bus window on my way home. I didn’t recognize myself. Who is that sad, little person? Fatigue had etched burrows in my forehead, edges of frowns around my mouth. I wasn’t doing too well, and I seemed to be losing touch on the things that were most important to me. I was constantly in deep thought. That evening, it’s as if my reflection turned its head to look straight at me, worried. And it spoke to me in desperately pleading whisper. “You have to stop this, fra.”

“What are you talking about?” I said.

“You know what I am talking about. Just stop. Stop.”

I stared into my own eyes but said nothing.

“Look at yourself,” my reflection said.

I did. I was dressed like a 23 year-old but I had the weighty thoughts of a mid-life civil servant.

My reflection carried on, “Stop having everything under control. Chill bana. Stop putting too much thought into preparation. Just do it already. Stop having such high standards for yourself. In fact, have no standards. Live on the edge.”

Living on the edge means being ready, not prepared. You take the ball and run with it. You are ready for whatever the day throws at you. It’s a gritty lifestyle.

Like I told you, I wanted to be a millionaire and to have toured New York before I turned 30. But as 2014 checked in, the harsh reality of the days pushed these further away from me. I was stuck at my desk dreaming. Somewhat helpless, somewhat suffocated. Somewhat frustrated with the lack of, and slow, progress.

Some chap on Entrepreneur.com, I don’t recall his name, wrote about his journey to becoming a multi-millionaire. He said that when he started off, he had no plans to become a multi-millionaire, “I wanted to be just a millionaire.” I rolled my eyes. Please. Such a show-off. He said you have to dream bigger than yourself. One of those clichés, heehe. He also said that he begged the Universe to make him greater than a millionaire. How? “Every day for an entire year, I wrote this down: I want to be a multi-millionaire.”

And that’s what I now do every morning. I beg the Universe by writing this stolen sentence: I want to be a multi-millionaire. Every morning without fail (except on the weekends when I make up for it on Tuesday). ‘I want to be a multi-millionaire’. ‘I want to be a multi-millionaire’. Some mornings I feel silly doing it, like I am wasting my time. Pray tell me, how is this ever to happen at the present rate? ‘I want to be a multi-millionaire’
Other mornings – on most mornings of late – I get over-excited and write it down four, five times. ‘I want to be a multi-millionaire’. ‘I want to be a multi-millionaire’. ‘I want to be a multi-millionaire’
I feel my cells, every fibre of my body align and realign itself to this one goal. It’s as if my heart pumps my blood to hand, through my fingers and straight to the pen. My blood becomes my ink. My burning desires sprawl out naked in those words. My soul is bared, left to the mercy of the Universe.

New York will be a consequence of becoming a multi-millionaire. As we speak, a return ticket to New York is 3,000dollars. Give or take. 3,000dollars to JFK Airport. (I have paused for half an hour to imagine what it will be like to see the Statue of Liberty from across the Hudson River. I wonder what New York smells like, what kind of energy the city thrives on. What determines the mood of the day, the pulse of its streets? Imagine the amusement of reading The New Yorker in New York. New York. New York.)

As I write this, it is Tuesday 3AM in New York. New Yorkers are turning over in their beds, deep in sleep. Let’s dream together now, shall we?

In response to your earlier question, yes, that blouse does make you look like a magician. It looks like something the blonde from the movie The Prestige would wear. Maybe if you shut your eyes and rub your arms hard enough, the magic of your blouse will come alive and you will wake up in a street in New York. Try it. New York, New York.


On the other end of this stick, Patrick Modiano became a multi-millionaire when he won the 2014 Nobel Prize in Literature. Modiano is a writer from Paris. He’s French through and through, right down to his ear lobes. He’s 69. He’s been at this since he was 22. He has two kids, one wife.

On the Saturday after Modiano’s win, my boy and I were having a conversation about literature. (How sexy.) In his opinion, non-fiction writers don’t deserve to win the Prize because they are neither creative enough nor are they really writers.
“It’s hard to take them seriously when they don’t create a world outside what we already know. You don’t see fiction writers calling themselves creative fiction writers, do you?” He paused to sip his beer before he blasted on. “Reporters and journalists aren’t writers. And non-fiction writers don’t write books. If they ever did, what would there, I don’t know, ‘novels’,” he air quoted in sarcasm, “would read like? An autobiography?”
The hell. I guffawed in disbelief.

Gay Talese, heard of him? He’s an Italian writer. Creative non-fiction. I found him through his 2006 interview with the Paris Review. He’s one of those chaps who tells a storo as I said, And he said, Then she said. I could tell then he has a thick Italian accent, even his interview seemed to have a few extra vowels to give room to it.
Talese is famed for his ’66 piece, Frank Sinatra Has A Cold. It is from this piece features writers like myself sprouted – in many ways, we all trace our beginnings back to him.

Know this, if Alice Munro won the 2013 Prize –for the first time in Nobel history ever – for the short stories form (find her collections by the way. Never before have I encountered stories with such graceful pace and prose), then it won’t be too long before creative non-fiction writers make the short list.


Remember this name
Warning: this is not a toy

Comments (11)

  1. Aditnar

    Congratulations are in order on your thirtieth Fra.

    An easy witty read, kinda like watching a short yet seamlessly edited wedding video (they can be long and boring when not yours, haha)…

    Nobody likes Mr. ‘Tightass’ at all, at all… thank goodness for that clean enough bus window, otherwise you’d have probably gotten deeper furrows like some bitter middle aged civil servant with broken dreams…
    Ps. I do believe you’ll be a multi-millionaire, don’t even apologise for scribbling/saying it a billion times ;-)

    • fra

      None whatsoever, Aditnar.

  2. Reuben

    Great read fra, beautifully written.
    Reminds me of the gift card quote, “Take the ball and run.”

    • fra

      What was that verse again?

    • fra

      :) Glad to see you back, CAA

  3. Wanjiku Ngare

    Happy waaaay belated birthday Fra :). I love your writing and I concur with “your boy” Reporters and journalists aren’t writers. Keep up with the good work.

    • fra

      Thank you Wanjiku. Today, I needed to hear that.

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Florence Bett-Kinyatti


Columnist Saturday Nation Writer Craft It Author of best-selling ‘SHOULD I?’ and ‘HOW MUCH?’ ~ Guiding word: Overdrive Subscribe to our Newsletter👇🏾 eepurl.com/igmN8P
  • Dear God, 
It’s me again.

I don’t pray as often as I need to, You know that. I don’t kneel by my bed in child-like humility, as Muna does. I don’t whisper a prayer in the morning. Or at noon. Perhaps just in the evening. 

This going-to-church habit is a constant false start. So is reading the Word. 

I’m often guilty but I also know: You and I have a language only we can understand. 

I speak to You through this gift You bestowed upon my Kale shoulders, this gift to write in colour. It’s a gift that sometimes feels like a curse, a burden I have no choice but to pursue. 

Yet other times – most times, actually – it’s the very breath of my essence. Everyday I sit to write, when the words flow from my head and heart through my fingers to the page, I feel You next to me. 

You are here, Lord. Hovering. Lingering. Swooshing about in Your regal robes, like a character from Bridgerton.

Sometimes You get so close I can feel You breathing on my neck and I’m like, ‘Err, God, do You mind, personal space?’

And You chuckle uncomfortably. ‘He-he, of course. Of course.’

I’m here to tell You, Thanks!

I hosted my first in-person event last March, Lord, thank You to all the lovely ladies who granted me their time and full attention. 

I’ve carried them in my heart since and every day, my prayer is that You bring them closer to the life of abundance they each seek. To their own version of wealth. 

I always call them by their name: Becky. Purity. Lindsay. Wangui. Naomi. Shiqow. Mercy. Liz. Winnie. Polly. Nduta. Lynet. 

And Mike. 

Dear Lord, I’m prepping for my next in-person event in June, Inshallah. 

Walk with me as I get there. 

Love always,

  • Highlights from our first-ever in person event hosted by Craft It and @financialfitbit 
Thanks to all the lovely ladies — and gent, hehe — who honoured us with the privilege of their time and attention. And colourful energy. It’s been weeks since and it’s only now that I’m coming down from the high. 

Thank YOU!

🎥 @mikemuthaka 

#craftit #author #MakeYourMoneyMatter #personalfinance #money
  • I am a woman.

I’m strong. I’m brilliant. I’m like a comet shooting across the sky, I’m so bright you have to put on shades to see me.

I’m almost 40, I’m almost fully realising myself as a woman and the power of womanhood I possess.

I’m so powerful that if KPLC connected me to the national grid, I’d power up this country and we’d never have another blackout.

Ho! Ho! Ho!


To recognize and celebrate International Women’s Day today, I’d like to recognize and celebrate eight women.

I have eight things to give away to each of these women:
a) Two tickets to my upcoming event on March 18 with @financialfitbit Theme is ‘Make your money matter’
b) Three autographed copies of my book ‘Should I?’
c) Three autographed copies of my other book ‘How Much?’

To participate:
1. Like this post
2. Tag women who deserve a win of either event ticket or book (tag as many women as you like)
3. Tell us what you’d like her to win and why she deserves the win
4. Make sure your tagged women follow @_craftit and @financialfitbit 

Here are the rules for the giveaway:
— One woman, one win
— Winners will be contacted via DM
— Giveaway closes at the end of this week, Inshallah, on Sunday 12 March
— Only open to people living in Kenya

All the best!

(Swipe right to see the women I’m celebrating.)

#craftit #internationalwomensday
  • My 2022 word of the year was Wholesome. 

Wholesome meant engaging in moderation and in pursuits that didn’t leave me feeling yucky.

An example: there’re weekend nights I’d go out then have too much to drink. On the drive home, I’d tell GB to stop the car every half mile so I could throw up on the side of the road. Then I’d take three working days recovering. 


No more of that nonsense.

Now I have only two doubles of Singleton whiskey and chase it with water. I eat less food and I eat better. I take my supplements. I treat myself to an early bedtime and arise with my body clock, no alarm.

I spend a lot more time hanging with my kids, Muna and Njeeh. 

I buy fewer things. 

I play the piano. 

I created a disciplined routine for my work and take Thursdays off. 

You catch my drift…

Wholesome has become my lifestyle. 

(By the way, I was asked, ‘Where does this word-of-the-year come from, Bett?’ I don’t know about other people but for me, the words present themselves when I’m journaling. My spirit tells me what it needs; I must be still enough to listen and brave enough to obey.)

My word for 2023 is Overdrive.

My two books have unlocked new opportunities for me as a writer and creative. As an urban brand. I’d honestly not foreseen them. 

I know that if I adjust my sails to where the wind is blowing, these opportunities will translate to wealth.

Last Friday, I listed all the work I’m already doing and all the new opportunities – potential and realised – knocking at my door.

I asked myself, ‘What am I taking up here and what am I dropping?’

The response, ‘None – we go into overdrive and smartly pursue them all.’

#craftit #urbanguide
  • Years ago, my best friend said to me, ‘Bett, we’re almost 40 – forget makeup, let’s take care of our skin instead.’

I had to laugh because this was coming from Terry. Terry my Kisii pal, this fine gyal with skin the colour of honey, the only practising SDA in my circle. 

Terry had spent her 20s and early 30s sleek with Arimis. That’s right, the milking jelly with a lactating cow on its logo. 

Arimis addressed all her skin pickles back then. It was her problem fixer. Her Olivia Pope. It’s the one thing that always said, It’s handled.

Now here she was preaching to us about a consistent skincare regimen in the AM and PM.


It wasn’t until Terry shared her selfies on our girls WhatsApp group that I stopped laughing. It wasn’t until we stood next her – and took these selfies – that I reeally stopped laughing: Terry’s skin was youthful and toned, plump. Hydrated. Moistured but not shiny. 

It looked like it had been kissed by the Greek goddess of radiance. 

So we gathered around her feet and said, ‘Forgive us, master. We are ready now. Teach us everything you know.’

She did. 

Terry and I now spend plenty of time before work and before bed squeezing out little portions of expensive skincare products from expensive tubes, we layer them on our face in a calculated measure.

This serum here is for the circles under my eyes and the fine lines around my mouth.

Turns out I’ve been giving away too much of my face: I’ve been looking too hard, laughing too easily.

I’ll have to spend the next year into my 40s with my eyes half shut and laughing little. I'll have a resting bitch face.

Don’t blame me, blame the retinol.

And age.

#craftit #urbanguide #urbangirl
  • I’m Bett. I’m the author of your favourite books about money. I’m hosting an in-person event in March, Inshallah: This is my personal invite to you.

#craftit #moneymaker #moneyinkenya
  • I am hosting my first money event this March, Inhsallah. It’s the first of quarterly events I have planned for the year. 

(Give me a moment here so I pull myself together long enough to write this. I’m smiling very hard right now, ha-ha, I look like a donkey.)


The event will be in-person. On a Saturday morning, a loose three hours which, I am certain, you’d have burned on some other pursuit you couldn’t account for later. (I’d probably be oiling the hinges of a squeaky door or decluttering my sock drawer.)

My guest host for this edition is Lynet Kyalo. 

Lynet is a personal finance coach under her brand @financialfitbit She also hosts @getyourbagrightpodcast 

Buy your tickets from our Market.

Early bird tickets are discounted until the end of this month.

Limited slots available. 

#craftit #millenialmoney #moneyevent #moneymaker
  • Sometimes I sit down and read my own book. 

Odd, huh?

Reading my own stories is like an out-of-body experience. Or getting introduced to myself again. An outward journey inward.

It’s fascinating.

I also read because I need to improve my writing for my next project.

We call them the Elements of Craft: things like sentence structure and punctuation, word placement, story length etc, they all inform your reading experience.

This is what makes the book easy to read, and has you turning the pages.

Cop your autographed copy and #betteryourmoney 

#craftit #howmuch #millenialmoney #moneymaker

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