Five years ago, still a 14 year old teenager, I wasn’t abreast with the bona fide essence of healthy well-being. In fact, I remember preferring fizzy energy drinks over water, hovering over the notion that it had better to offer, anyway. This took a sudden turn in 2014 when I launched my first startup as a teenager, Greenpact, a for-profit social enterprise in Kenya that works towards a mission of serving 9 million Kenyan households which lack access to affordable renewable energy and proper sanitation. I lost touch with some of the things I really loved, like drawing. All of a sudden, I had no time for that and some of the things close at heart.
I was in a position where everything — good or bad — I did as the CEO would cause ripple effects on what would happen, both to me and Greenpact’s future. Any startup founder who began his entrepreneurial pursuit in their teenage years will attest it is no easy experience; where you flare with undying vision and zeal with little experience in your field and the conventional hurdles that come with managing employees who are 10 years older than you. You borrow heavily from your mentors and advisers for the better part of the whole journey as a trade-off for experience. Without realizing, you lose your social grip.
A year into working on Greenpact, work got so intense that me and my team would work overboard; I wouldn’t sleep, I couldn’t afford to. In a bid to get a grip on this, I made a conscious move to spend more time with people and causes I cared for, like family and social justice. I have an autistic 8 year old cousin, *John, whom I spent more time with. It was a very intriguing point in time. The fits of genius he portrayed in the course of our interaction drastically changed the way I viewed autism. During this time, I remember offering to volunteer at his school, where special attention was given to people with autism. A sudden twist towards humanity, which I am always looking forward to.
Also, l had a friend who suffers from PTSD after a scathing experience of sexual assault. Nonetheless, she possess an un-imagined writer’s/poet spark. In this month of April, she published some of her poems on her Twitter which are gems in themselves. More often, she blogs on her blog-site, which I found pleasure in reading. On some occasions I re-read them to rekindle my writing aesthetic. From her posts and works of literature I have come to appreciate life’s purpose — of gratitude and reflection.
Through a trait I have adored over time but not certain of how much longer is my strong connection with nature. I am yet to find another platform for reflection better than this. From listening to the trees’ conversations disguised in shuffles as they dance to the wind; birds swaying graciously in packs; the seducing sunset as she sinks to into the far horizon, promising tomorrow. It’s during nature sessions when I come up with great starts to stories and great endings. Re-connecting with nature is the perfect refuel most people, especially creatives, will ever need.
Another valuable practice I adopted was setting up a digital downtime, which I still stick to religiously. This entailed checking social media at my set prescribed times, mainly to deprive myself of dopamine tendencies. However, starting was the uphill task. So most of the time I will end up using my phone mainly to keep up with news and checking mails with minimal use of multimedia. Something I haven’t come to regret. Scheduled time for social media is mostly to connect with friends back home. On this, I prefer more interactive sessions as opposed to passive texting. Digital downtime, for me is an opportune moment to catch up one with my monthly reads. Not only is it refreshing but also an opportunity to travel to many places I had never thought of.
Just with adopting these, I feel pretty less like a blank word document — with a needy cursor and more like a thousand ideas. At times, all it takes is to appreciate the small things that come with life’s package.
Originally published at medium.com