Diaspora Advice:Your Top Five Diaspora Regrets
I left Kenya for the first time 15 years ago and have lived in three different continents outside Africa since then. I compiled a list of what your biggest regrets will be one day…not necessarily on your death bed but throughout your living abroad journey.
Not managing your money wisely. This has been my deepest regret and will be yours. Money will come into play over and over again in numerous ways on your Diaspora journey. Your money regrets will include, starting a relationship with credit cards, living beyond your means, not learning to live frugally in all areas of your life (including fashion), not learning to save your money, and not opening a bank account in Kenya and saving even a minimal but consistent amount. If I opened an account in Kenya when I left and consistently put 10 dollars in a week, I’d be on ‘A Little Young and Rich’. He He He
Not understanding the time you spend with your close friends or relatives may be your last interaction with them. Death is a truth you will have to embrace in your journey. I’ve lost my Dad and Sister and my deepest regret was not realizing my three years after leaving home were my Dad’s last years. If someone had given me the hint I would have called him daily. Not being in a position to travel to their funeral is the worst thing you will go through. That will be because you do not manage your money wisely (See one above).
Not being careful about the friends you have. Take a minute, think of your top five friends, write down their names and look at that list. Think about their accomplishments and position in life. Now turn to yourself and say, “I can only be similar or a little greater than these people.” In short, this is who you are or you can become. Be prepared to be unpopular and lonely if you decide to choose them wisely, but I’d rather be lonely and do something great with my life. If you want to be mediocre then never mind…continue being mediocre. it is the path most chosen, after all.
Being alcoholic. Yeah, I’ve said it…… the truth has to be told. When I lived in the USA, my first boyfriend was a drunk. He tried to be good to me, but alcohol is a monster you can’t compete with. He was constantly jailed because of drunk driving and when he was not in jail, he was making my life a living nightmare. One time, I went home to find we had no lights. There are no power outages in the USA so I was puzzled by the state of darkness. Come to find out my ex had not been paying the electric bill and I had to pay double to have them turned back on. Eventually, he was deported from the USA. I learnt my lesson. I can’t marry or date a drunk. I watch the drinking habits of my suitors like a hawk because to me drinking heavily means having no lights and not paying school fees for my children. Which is a crime worthy of being sent to ICC. Plus we will always be broke:( One day in the course of your life as a summerbunny, you will regret befriending alcohol. Alcohol is wonderful to block out the reality of your life and make things seem better. However, it is really deceiving because you start having a glass of wine daily but there is no one to tell you when you have started going down the path of no return. There is no indication that you are going too far. You will lose control, it will take over your life, and once it’s taken the number one spot in your life, everyone and everything you love will be relegated to an insignificant position. And that is the truth, no matter what you think or do. This alcohol intervention message comes to you with a lot of tough love.
Not curving out your own path and doing what everyone else does. I’ve seen this so many times, in the USA, in Dubai and now in Sweden. You have to date this kind of person, you have to have these kind of friends, you have to do this course in school, you have to sell your kidneys in order to get a different colored passport, you have to go to an African church, go to an African club etc. When you first leave Kenya, you will of course want to do what you are advised to do, and it’s good to listen to people who have been there before. I think I followed this advice for the first years while living in the USA, but it got to a point where I realized it wasn’t tailor made for me. For instance most of my girlfriends were dating Kenyan men, so dating my ex was deemed OK. But after the hell he put me through I started dating American men who were wonderful to me. So I go with the flow that I dictate….. You need to do the same.
For those of you who have been abroad for long, what are your regrets? Tell me in the comments…I’m not sure the ones here are working, if not use Facebook. Share this article so maybe someone living Kenya now can see the list and start doing something about it. Don’t forget to like the Facebook page!