Are we normalizing everything?

Gone are the days when one could distinctively differentiate between what is acceptable or not acceptable. Today’s generation easily makes anything that favors them or looks less harmful to appear normal. This trend was not ‘the normal’ when our parents were young. Moreover, young people nowadays must keep up with what’s trending. This is exact opposite of what our parents did. We as young people are willing to do anything for money, fame, glory and to fit in. Sometimes we lose our morals in the name of ‘But everyone is doing it.’  It never rings a bell that our behavior is as a result of experiences, yet we tend to mirror our peers without figuring out what is making them act in a particular way. As long as, it looks trendy, we are game.

There is no SI unit of happiness, it cannot be graded.

Fortunate to be born in the digital era but let us take a journey through social media. Skimming through what young people are posting online will give you a clear picture of what our current society looks like. You will notice that the youth are comfortably exalting sadness. The current generation assumes that being sorrowful on social media makes them look more authentic. “People label their sadness as depression and their nervousness as anxiety when problems they are facing do not reflect their psychological problems. If healthy people are convinced that they are depressed, they consequently identify with glamorized social media posts exasperating the phenomenon even more,” Jennifer Jadyel.

It is now trendy to be depressed. Although speaking out could be a plus in dealing with mental health, a majority are just doing it for fun. It makes it hard for one to discern who needs help and who doesn’t.

Another noticeable trend is people posting what is viewed to be wrong according to societal norms and principles while making it look like the emblematic way of life. Although some of these posts are done anonymously some young people do not hide their identity. For instance, someone would shamelessly post property acquired in an unethical way and brag about it. It now looks normal to get into crime as long as one doesn’t get caught. If this were in the past, a few us could be reprimanded and stern action taken against us. The youth are motivated by making money without considering if they are rightfully doing it.

There is this new culture of doing what makes you happy. Happiness for the youth is divergent hence we cannot identify a common ground of what makes everyone happy. There is no SI unit of happiness, it cannot be graded. The motto is ‘Do what you like as long as it makes you happy.’ This has affected how we portray our behaviors, whether in public or private. We do not care what other people think of us as long as it favors us. Look at how we entertain ourselves, we have normalized using drugs to escape the realities of this world because everyone is doing it. When you are stressed your friend will hand you some illegal substances to calm down your nerves. Subsequently this is how so many youths have been recruited to drug abuse in the name of enjoying their youthful days. You will find videos or images online of people indulging in drugs, to most of us, it is cool. We are blinded by the idea of enjoying our youth thus forgetting the future is waiting to thank us or scold us for it.

Normalizing bad behavior happens gradually as long as deviance is tolerated. As the society systematically evolves it is crucial for us to reform and only normalize tendencies that will not affect us negatively.

Let us normalize, good morals, decency, healthy habits and rectifying bad actions. If normalization of selfish interest persists, we are going to have dysfunctional society that is rudderless. Similarly, if we take these habits ‘nomareee…..’


By: Stephen Kimathi, LDP Assistant Programs Officer

Two packets of Biscuits; the lifeline!

I will tell the story of a teen girl who was told that she was not enough. She is an average girl in most aspects; neither tall nor short, slim- but not too slim 😊 and her heart might not be big enough to accommodate everyone and everything that the world throws at her. She is just a girl who was never enough for anything. All she ever went through her teenage life was questions on her thoughts, on God’s timing- was it really the best, slight sense of humour and sarcasm, and just how boring and dull life could be.

She grew sorry and confused. She was sorry for breathing fresh air in a space she should have called home and sorry for taking up space that probably would have been meaningful to someone else. She grew tired of how meaningless life had become, she decided the only way out was taking her own life, but just before she did, she decided to talk to her brother about it.

Siz, mind telling me why you are tired?”

“I am just tired”

“Do you know the lord’s prayer” (stupid question, she thought)

“Who doesn’t and just where has God been the entire time?”

“Okay just say it, sleep and I will call you at tomorrow at 6 am”

She never said amen to that prayer. She must have snoozed off like Adam did before his rib was taken. When she woke up, my suicidal plan was off, it had just failed. This was a reminder that God had not taken his time giving her life just to watch her take it unjustly.  When she woke up, her journey to dealing with pain begun, thanks to her brother who offered a leaning shoulder.

If her memory serves her right, those are the exact details of that story. By not closing her chapter, she started taking in lessons. Lesson 1; the strength of a woman is known through her grace to dance even when chaos show up at her doorstep. Later, she set out to join the male-dominated IT field where she recently started an initiative set out to advocate for safe and thoughtful cyber practices. It was around the same period that I came across an ELF ad of the next intake. She never knew of ELF’s existence, but she decided to give it a chance. To date, she has no regrets.

At ELF, she was welcomed with warm smiles, given affirming words by the team that she met and given two packets of biscuits as headed home. At that point she knew this journey, the people in it and everything about it was sacred. True to her expectations, the journey has been amazing.

The greatest lesson from ELF was that sometimes people tend to take away what we hold dearly, we may hit rock bottom in life, but it is such moments that help us realize on what’s important in life.

Since her graduation from ELF, she has refined a few things at in her CyberMakini initiative and she is about to launch the first program that will educate and create awareness to people on cyber offences and crimes.

In July this year, which happens to be her birthday month, she kept thinking to herself what she could do to meaningfully influence her small community of young people that hasn’t grown weary of trying, amidst the pandemic and poor governance in the country. After juggling various ideas, she settled on telling stories of the Millennial generation. Having experienced the cruelty and negative vibes that exist around the generation, she felt it was time to put out stories and clarify on various issues. The program dubbed #31Days31Millennials was to consistently share stories of their works, roles in impacting the society and building enterprises, and passions of different millennials for the 31 days of July. The feedback was amazing at first, this pushed her into doing more and further extending the program. To this end, the program runs every Sunday and Wednesday of the week.

The stories are mind blowing and inspiring. Most of the millennials who have been featured on the platform have been met with unkind words, discouragements, and ridicule. Despite this, they have persistently challenged the status quo and are trying their best to shake things up and stand up to be counted as heroes in this century. All she wants is to tell stories, stories that will change perspectives, stories that will encourage and motivate a generation, stories that will brighten up days and influence change.

You may be wondering, who is she. I am Ann Mercy Wairimu and I am more than enough.

For the longest time, I have tried to run away from my assignments and callings in life, but I have always found myself gravitating towards my purpose. I have always felt a fire in me, a fire that will not stop burning, one that continually defines my current self. But I have not made use of it previously.

Today, I am all grown, I am committed to my destiny and I am working towards fulfilling my purpose in life. I still recall the two packets of biscuits that I got during my ELF interview, this always acts as a reminder that I have a home, a safe place, a heaven for young people with brilliant ideas and burning desires.

In life, blessings come in many forms, mine came through ELF, I found myself, I am alive, I am playing a role, one that I hope will have impact.

By: AnnMercy Wairimu, ELF Cohort 7