This has been a year of learning for me. What makes this learning experience powerful is that the lessons have taken place at birthday parties, with lots of wine, laughter and tears.
It has been quite the ride. Hence it is only fitting that this year’s must buy and read is Susan Wakhungu-Githuku’s Women Over 50.
I have over the years made a deliberate effort to ensure that the women in my life are at least 10 years my senior, not just chronologically, but emotionally, mentally and most certainly logically. I have been quoted often as saying, if you haven’t been to where I am going you can’t possibly give me directions to that place. How would you?
This heavy-weight book, easily 2kgs, is one you present to a friend turning the big Five “0” or one well past that. It is a book you bequeath with a telling wink to that nubile 16, 21 or 40 year-old-woman. I got that from the preamble and I smiled - I had already bought copies for my friends. Yes!
Why do I insist that you selfishly get yourself a copy of Women over 50?
Simple - this is your undergrad on womanhood and motherhood and your masters and PHD in life, love, work, heartache, laughter and spirituality all in one place. The professors (the women who share their lives) are experts - no theory or hypothesis here.
These women are also past the BS and pretentious stage of life, they have come into their own and they make no apologies for who they are and how they have lived their lives.
Women Over 50 it is an awesome book.
Let me borrow a few lines from these women to truly get you signed up for this undergrad, post-grad and PHD course all rolled in one.
I have found myself skipping through to the pages of the women I know.... I’m not even halfway through the book - I bought it on Friday.
I can’t take it with me though because, lord, it is big and heavy. Sigh.
Rose Musau - “Family isn’t always blood. It’s the people in your life who want you in theirs. The ones who accept you for who you are! The ones who would do anything to see you smile and love you no matter what”.
Rose interviewed me for my first job out of university. We met then and she has never left. I would need a book of our own to tell you the lessons I have learnt from Rose. Watching her get past her divorce, raise her kids, start and grow her business and fall in-love with Nduku at first sight. Rose is a gem.
Smita Radia - “I have experienced the death of a partner, my father’s illness, loss of a business, and the death of my mother at the age of four.
You name it, I have experienced it”.
Smita embraced me from the moment she first met me at Zen Garden, I don’t know why but she is a warm amazing, generous soul, who I am blessed to have in my life.
Peggy Mwai - “The first 50 years are for learning and the second 50 for living”.
Peggy has always lived. She laughs a lot and there’s always a smile in her voice even when she’s on the phone asking for the crazy impossible.
Shelina Popat - “Never take anything for granted, value everyone in your life, even the “dull” and the “ignorant”.
I have known Shelina for over 10 years now and I must say, what I have learnt from her is family first, last and always.
She’s also taught me to forgive, let go and move on. Too many women hold on to so much baggage it’s amazing they can even leave their houses in the morning.
Mary Kimotho - “Because I no longer care what people think of me, I have increasingly found myself becoming extraordinarily frank about people and issues - calling a spade a spade”. I guess now you know where I get it from.
She got a second wind from somewhere about four years ago and I truly find it hard to keep up with her.
I find myself avoiding her for fear of being out of breathe and rushed off my feet. I can’t keep up! Bless.
Janice Kimoli - “I am now discovering that being whole and worthy s how we were meant to be.”
Oh Janice. She edifies life. She is salt. Janice is the reason I bought a home. She rattled out some financial advice very calmly with that smile of hers standing outside Chandarana at ABC place six years ago.
She told me to automate and regulate my bills and spending, told me to buy a house and also reminded me to always leave little money aside for nice shoes and sunglasses (basically, the things you love).
I’m sure you get the drift. Buy the book for yourself, get it for a loved one, but please don’t let this wisdom pass you by.
Women Over 50 is all about wisdom. All the things you could never learn in a classroom or from a self-help book.
Susan Wakhungu-Githuku - well done on another wonderful publication and do let them know I paid for my books in case some busy body says you paid me to promote the book.
It is a wonderful vault of life and wisdom and I’m so grateful to you for compiling it and my hat off to every woman who took the time to share her life, her story, her wisdom. Carpe Diem!