I once read an old fable about a wise man that lived many years ago attributed with the exceptional ability to discern the truth from lies. He solved many mysteries in his time and was acclaimed to be the wisest man on earth. People from far and wide consulted him to get solutions to their problems. He became adjudicator, the judge of all men; both young and old.

However, the wise man’s fame attracted jealousy amongst other men who also claimed to be wise. One day, his enemies gathered together and sought to challenge his status as the wisest man on earth. They called all the people together to witness the fall of this wise man. One of the plotters approached the wise man and said: “I want you to answer a simple question. I am cupping a small bird in my hands. Is it dead or alive?”

The wise man pondered his dilemma. If he said the bird was dead, the young man would open his cupped hand and let the bird fly away. If he said it was alive, he would simply squeeze it to death. He thought deeply about what to do as the spectators waited anxiously to see if the wisest man on earth would be shown up that day. The man looked up at the spectators, then looked intently at the young man and paused for a moment before responding “the answer is in your hands.”

This profound truth draws my thoughts to the issue of our destiny which is, to a large extent, in our hands. We can embrace our dreams and make them happen, or we can cup our hands tightly and kill our dreams. The answer is in our hands.

The day that marked a turning point in my life was the day I picked up a book and nonchalantly flipped through the pages. My eyes suddenly locked in on one line. It was a question that jolted me from my reverie. “What would be your one big regret if you realise that you have a few months to live?” I knew without any shadow of doubt that I would have one big one – allowing my God-given talent to stagnate. I have always wanted to write. In fact, I have piles of manuscripts in my cupboard, upwards of six uncompleted novels. Sometimes I start the novel from the middle; sometimes I start from the end. My greatest regret would be that I never wrote or put my thoughts into writing in a way that it would be shared with others. Most of my manuscripts are in my closet, probably being read by inanimate objects.

How the years have flown by since the day I started to write my first book at the age of eight? A James Bond- type thriller, no less! After I’d painstakingly written it in long hand, my dad’s secretary graciously typed it out with the noisy, manual Epson typewriter they used for all their correspondence. It took her about three months to finish the work with marks of tipex correction fluid where she had made mistakes probably due to my childish scribbles. And, where did the book end up? In my father’s cupboard.

Today, I step out and make a decision. I will dust out my cupboard, break all boundaries and move forward. It is another year, moving further from my childhood days when I penned my first ‘thriller.’ More than two decades have passed without doing anything about my dreams. Now, it is time to move forward, to step out and face my fears. It is time to remind myself that I don’t have just a few months to live. I have many years to live but every day I live brings me closer to my grave. I want to live my dreams. I don’t want my talents and vanquished hopes to add to the riches buried in the graveyard. I am stepping out of my closet and taking my books, manuscripts, writing, hopes and dreams with me.

Have you got a vision you’ve kept in the closet for too long? Do you make the same resolution every year to achieve a particular goal? Do you want to make a change but feel you don’t have the zeal to do so? Are you ready for the adventure of your life? If you answered yes to any of these questions, then join me on this journey. Invite the ‘real you’ out of the closet.  FOR WITH GOD, ALL THINGS ARE POSSIBLE.

Step out, Young African Women, with courage in your hearts and a determination to achieve good success. Step out, with faith in your heart. Step out, Yes, Step out, NOW

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