When I hit 20 years I was panting out of breath from the peer pressure of teenage hood. I was honored to go to one of the best schools in the country – Alliance Girls. I brushed shoulders with the high and mighty, girls who came from serious money and being from a poor family and on the list of sponsored students didn’t make life for me easy. My mother visited me once a year, I didn’t go for half term and my shopping list was always painfully short. And so began my journey of learning how to be happy with who I am.
Campus life didn’t make it better. From the moment you arrive, fitting in seems the easiest thing to do. Anyone who doesn’t behave in a certain way is queer and oh so strange. But I fought the good fight and was often accused of being too focused. Can you imagine? You refuse to cheat, attend classes, show up for CATs sober, actually research for your assignment, hand in your project on time and instead of being applauded, you get labeled as the weird. Twisted society huh? It’s the story of my life. Then again I got a first class honors (round of applause please) and that made me feel a whole lot better.
So I hit 24 years and thought that peer pressure would give me a break. How wrong I was! What was I thinking?
Here I was planning for a wedding and seating for my final semester in Campus. The pressure was too much! People had all these ‘helpful’ suggestions and outright opinions on what I should do on my big day. Once again, I had the choice to go with the crowd or make my day just the way I wanted it. Thank goodness, the latter won.
You see I’m a pretty simple girl – probably has something to do with my upbringing. I don’t see why I should pay sh. 70,000 for a gown and spend less than 12 hours in it. When we went to check out wedding rings, we came across this set of rings that went for sh.120,000. What? You see, at this point in our lives, my fiancée didn’t make that much money and I was just about to finish campus. It would be ridiculous and I dare say irresponsible of us to want a wedding that costs a fortune. Plus, even if we had that kind of money, there was no way I was buying the 70,000 gown, It is simply bad stewardship of money! Long story short, the wedding was beautiful and even got featured on Standard’s Eve Bridal Magazine and Kenya Weddings online wedding feature! See, you don’t have to immerse yourself into debt to have a good wedding 🙂
Now I’m 25 years (for heaven’s sake don’t clap-am still terrified by this realization) and peer pressure doesn’t seem to want to let go. I look around me and my age mates are driving good cars, climbing the corporate ladder, investing into great homes, having children… These are all really good things, things I would love to do in the near future. But I have decided that we will do them at our own pace. We won’t buy a car just because everyone is driving. Can we afford it? Do we really need it? What are our financial priorities right now? These are some of the questions we have to consider before we rush out to go buy a car. And when we are ready, we will buy a make that fits our needs and not just because it’s popular and makes us look good.
Hopefully I have many more years to live and I’m sure peer pressure will continue to keep me company. I’m however gratefully that I have learnt to live with it. I have learnt that my friends and I will never be equal, we will never have the same things, drive the same cars, live in the same neighborhoods, take our kids to the same schools… And I’m OK with that because I have learnt that we are all different and we’ll always be in different levels of life.
Every now and then peer pressure mixed with envy and inadequacy shows its ugly head and for a moment my life doesn’t look so great. But then the bible in 1st Timothy 6:6 reminds me that “godliness with contentment is great gain”.
Don’t let peer pressure get in the way of enjoying life and prevent you from realizing just how blessed you are and how grateful you should be. You have so much to be grateful for so be content and don’t let your decisions be influenced by what others have.