What I’ve learned


Dress up and show up. You’ll find reason when you shut your door behind you, sit at your desk and fire up your laptop. A person who works from bed doesn’t yet understand what a pair of brown leather shoes can do to your work morale.

It hurts less when you smile through it.

Never break the promises you make to yourself.

If after more than three years of working for you, your nanny, mama kufua or shamba boy doesn’t leave with some sacco savings or an insurance policy of some kind, then you didn’t empower them enough. They were better off working for the county government.

Tell yourself that for the next three hours, you won’t pick up your phone for anything except a call.

You get a family of your own and realise there’s an order to it: You come first, your person second, your children third.

You don’t get a family of your own and realise there’s a different order to it: Your parents come first, you second, your siblings must learn to take care of themselves.

Have that one song you can karaoke to at a moment’s notice.

The reason there’s an insurance salesman always calling you is because you can never have enough insurance. Get your own insurance for your health, your pension, your life, your education, your kid’s education, your dog and maybe your hamster.

Words have more power when you voice them – moderate the tone and timing of your tongue.

Don’t get married before 30. Because it’s only after 30 that you see why you must have sex with the lights on.

Consider getting yourself a menstrual cup. After three cycles you’ll have mastered the technique of insertion. But this hassle is worth the convenience and freedom of the cup. Besides, nothing you’ve ever purchased for 3gees will last you longer (10 years) than a menstrual cup. Aand… I don’t know if you knew this but unless incinerated, it takes 500 years for all traces of one sanitary pad to completely leave the environment. How many pads and tampons have you used since you got your period?

Anyone can be a legend.

Friendships aren’t built to last a lifetime. You lose friends along the way because you’re growing. If you aren’t losing friends then you aren’t growing enough.

If a shoe doesn’t fit at the shop then it’s never going to fit, doesn’t matter what the shoe guy tells you about how leather behaves – don’t hope for things which will never happen, doing so only sets you up for disappointment (and bunions and cones).

Ultimately it will make for a funny story someday.

You don’t have to suffer through a bad book, a bad movie or a bad album just because you paid for it. End it where you stopped giving it a second chance and go grab a pink apple, chew it out on the balcony as you think about nothing. This doesn’t apply to food though. Always clear your plate. And finish your apples.

If you’re thinking about leaving him then tell him you want to leave. Sometimes the mind disconnects from the heart, voicing your intent to leave restores the connection.

Understand the difference between chemo and radiation.

Give it more time.

Have your jobo here, and alongside it an Uber, some nduthis, a kiosk, maybe a greenhouse. Have them run this rut race of urban living beside you. They’ll take up the baton when life forces you to pause and catch your breath. Besides, nothing beats the feeling of waking up to an M-Pesa from one of these side hustles.

Learn how to deep fry chicken and to bake a banana cake and to tell mozzarella cheese from feta cheese.

Never break the promise you make to a child.

The Bible has all the answers to all your questions.

Know what your genitals look and feel like, inside and out. It’s what they meant when they said, Don’t be afraid to face the truth.

You can’t negotiate with a toddler but you can bribe him. The same goes to cops. Even the one at the airport security check, the one who seemed mature but still threatened you with a charge sheet because you’d absentmindedly driven on before the light had turned green, the one who got into your backseat and asked for whatever you could give.

A bouquet of unopened white roses can’t lie.

Love your children and your person beyond their pain, their handicaps, their insecurities and their stinky farts. Only a person that truly loves you will be comfortable to fart around you.

Watch Netflix without the subtitles on. It forces you to sit up straighter and tune your ear to listen better. There’s only so much chilling you can do.

Write your life’s ambitions down, it starts you on the journey there. It’ll also make for good conversation when you’re 34 and lecturing your nieces about how to dream when you’re not sleeping.

Don’t tithe using your Visa card or M-Pesa. Something profound happens in the moment you reach into your wallet and feel the bills in your hands, before you toss them into the offertory basket.

Throw your underwear away when it begins to stiffen at the crotch centre. Don’t push its life expectancy, it could break and slice you in pieces.

The first choice is always the best choice. Run with it.

Master lines from a movie or from a book. Quoting them over drinks at a cocktail invariably makes you seem more intelligent, more cultured, more witty and more sexy. Frank Abagnale Jr. from the movie ‘Catch Me If You Can’: “Dear Dad, you always told me that an honest man has nothing to fear, so I’m trying my best not to be afraid.” Here’s another one from the book ‘Us’ by David Nicholls: “Nostalgia is a useless, futile thing because it is a longing for something that is permanently lost.”

Comment with some of your favourite quotes. I want to steal them for when I’m hosting this Christmas. Hehee.

They told me I was a broken tool
What I’ve also learned

Comments (11)

  1. Koki

    Love this one Bett and I’ve also hidden in shame bcoz gawsh I’m so far behind on most of these learnings.

    • Bett

      Thankfully you have December to turn things around for you :)

      Hugs to your girls! xoxo

  2. Issa

    “And those who were seen dancing were thought to be insane by those who could not hear the music”… and my all time favorite is from About Time (the movie) “Don’t call too often, your mother doesn’t like to be disturbed”…

    • Bett

      Never heard of that movie, Issa. But I’ve looked it up, it’s a Bri’ish romcom, one of those feel-good flicks I love. I’ll find it for this Holiday.

      I’m sure I’ll sit up straighter when I hear these lines. Hehhe.

      Thanks a bunch! xoxo

  3. Tuape

    This took me to a land of smiles. Thumbs up.

    I’ll need to educate myself on this menstrual cup thing.

    • Bett

      Lol. Make sure to tell me how the experience was for you. I shared a story on my Instagram yesterday, it’ll be a great place for you to start.

      (PS. Don’t let them put you off. Wink.)

  4. Valerie

    I’m really starting to learn the art of mastering movie lines. For sure it does a good job of scaling up your IQ. My favorite one now is from the movie ‘The Equalizer 2’… “Always be kind to the person who has access to your toothbrush”…

    Lovely read!

    • Bett

      Hahha. Good one, Valerie. I’ll definitely steal that one. Actually, if you watch any Denzel movie you’ll leave with one of such lines.

      And thanks, gal!

  5. DB

    I watch badass movies. So my quotes are badass. End of comment. 😂

    • Bett

      I’ll only believe you if you share one. Hahha

  6. Joy Ruguru

    I agree with the menstrual cup tip. Saves the environment and you money.
    Now to practise my karaoke song…

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