You Only Live Once. Life Is Not A Dress Rehearsal

By Okang’a Ooko
© 2015. All rights reserved

You only live once. This line was uttered by that very famous writer known as Unknown. You only get the full impact of its meaning when you come of age and suddenly find yourself pressed for time as you race against time into retirement. Old wise Solomon said There’s A Time for Everything. Ecclesiastes 3. Meaning you should do your things at the right time BEFORE YOU GET CAUGHT UP.
Every day here in Kisumu, we are confronted by the following vices that reveal in us a laissez faire approach to life.

  • Carelessness.
  • Mistakes.
  • Complacency.
  • Boredom & Tedium.
  • Procrastination.

We know well and understand that life's full of difficult situations and making the right decision isn't always easy. But everything has its time. Time is like a river you can’t step on the same water twice, because the flow that has passed will never pass you again. Everything God made has its sell-by date. Each soul that walks upon the earth surface have their shelf life. Take women, for example. Like a lily in the field they sprout, blossom with youth and vigour, and burst with sweet feminine beauty…. then they become wives to men and mothers to children and they explode and lose shape and grow big tummies and become round and coarse and flabby. Then life takes them into ageing and decline. You cannot take yourself back to your youthful prime. You can only look back and reflect and regret.

Fellow Kisumuans, life is not a dress rehearsal, I daresay. This IS the main event. The longer you leave it to make your run at success, the harder it becomes.

It’s a great reminder that in the grander scheme of things, there are no second chances and we only get one shot at it. We only have a limited period of time on this planet and we’re not practicing for something else. The lights are on, the curtain is up and the audience has bought their tickets. This is the real thing. That’s why doing things and repeating them makes no sense. Like marrying a second wife. Do you even have time for that, for crying out loud. They say one woman is too much for a man. So where on Earth are you going to get energy for another woman? Viagra, one may say. That simply means you’re admitting that you need extra energy. I mean if the energy God gave you was enough for one woman, why do you trouble yourself. Was God a fool to give energy enough for only one woman? Let me tell you, a new wife comes with her own new set of arsenals and demands and stuff that she bungles on you including shifty in-laws who will rip you off your money. Besides, she creates a new world in your kingdom and puts new demands and responsibilities. Man, oh man, a second wife is disaster. In the first place she is not the “real” wife, she is not the ideal. All power and honour belong with the first wife because that’s the only wife. So this second one is a raider. Suddenly you find yourself running two governments and there is too much heat in the kitchen. Ever wondered why a man will marry a second wife and even a third and then scuttle back to the first one? Folks, a second wife is a by-the-way. A second wife is just what the words says: SECOND. A second wife is the beginning of your troubles. A second wife brings competition and a division of your wealth. Everything is shared including sex, and you know what? There is now greater demand on you and you’re required to share even sex on a regular basis. And since the pair of them are competing, they drive a hard bargain and you’re required to play the part and play it well. And don’t forget that there are always those randy womanizer fellows who specialize in married women standing on the wayside and they will stick around stalking you and some of them are your wife’s exes. These are professional wife-seducers and marriage breakers who will give your wife a shoulder to cry on and will listen to her rantings and complaints. They will sneak into your bed and do the job if you sleep in the driver’s seat. And they will gain favour of your wife and extol into her virtues which you do not have, and even father kids for you if you joke around. You know it’s interesting: women are always looking for excuses to accuse you and justify their infidelity. That’s why men resort to Viagra. I have a friend who was once upon a time happy with his wife and three boys. Then he decided that he needed a second wife. I was like "Is this guy nuts?" I told him DON’T EVEN THINK ABOUT IT. The fool went ahead and did it. He used to be a high-spirited South Nyanzan and he is still loud and abrasive and flamboyant and loves to brag all over the place as if Kisumu belongs to him. Only that these days when I look at him, he is the saddest man I know. All bonhomie is gone and his face is a mask of worry. I love chiding him about his first wife living in Lower Milimani and his second wife living in Okore. Call it what? Modern polygamy? I call it madness and foolishness. The guy is always driving back and forth across town in the oppressive Kisumu heat to deal with his two angry women and dysfunctional families.

Do we potter away at meaningless activities or do we live with purpose? Each moment of your life is a picture which you had never seen before. And which you will never see again. When you’re thirty-five, you have a chance. But when you’re fifty-five, the party is over, mate. When you hit forty-five, you’re suddenly on a race against time but when you’re fifty-five, it is over. You’re on a backward roller-coaster towards retirement. The wise thing to do is work on a retirement plan early enough so that you wouldn’t harass your kids all over the place. If you do that, they’ll hate your guts.

Do we live on a treadmill or do we make progress towards meaningful goals? We all have but a short time to live. Do we choose to be controlled by our fears or do we act with boldness? If you haven’t done stuff in due time, woe unto you, poor little man. Ever seen those old-guy busybodies? Don’t be like them. They say you can’t teach an old dog new tricks. That’s why you find yourself so rusty and incompetent and irrelevant. You have expired and your sell-by date has passed. You find that your college knowledge has been taken over by technology and those brainy know-it-all pretty young things the age of your son can do the job better than you. You didn’t invest; you didn’t bring up a family… too bad bro. You can’t do anything now, can you? You’re an old machine with worn out parts and you’re old and gritty. Just sit, wait and die. Nothing you can possibly say about it. It’s easy to talk. You’ll talk long and loud and grumble and curse and swear but you know what Holy Bible says? Talk is cheap. Ecclesiastes 5 : 7. Two rules to mark here: one, plan well and; two, do everything at the right time. Life is not a rehearsal and you cannot gamble. Be wise, be smart and plan your life. Life is only traveled once. Today’s moment becomes tomorrow’s memory. Enjoy every moment, good or bad, because the gift of life is Life itself. Get the best out of formal education, get a college education, get a career, start working and marry at the right time, buy, build, and sire, raise kids, invest and retire at the right age. The decisions you make are yours and the mistakes you make should make you smarter. Therefore any association, any relationship that adds no value but wastes your time should be terminated. Work on excellence and you will get honour and be a good example to the young.

Live a purposeful life and let’s grow Kisumu. Because this isn’t a dress rehearsal.

Past is Experience.
Present is Experiment.
Future is Expectation!

Experiments to get your expectations.

Make your life the main event. Get yourself a standing ovation from other achievers for your own success. There is so much opportunity and so little time. Your time is NOW!

There are no second chances.
The stakes are high.
How will you live your life?

Let's cap it all. Only the Almighty God can give you a second chance. 2 Corinthians 11 : 12