Ever have days that take a toll on you; days when you feel a hundred years old and the energy to keep striving is gone? I have had my share of those days over the years, and when I do, I like to remember this story.

About 10 years ago, I sat in my office, discussing a book project with a very special lady. She was clearly an exceptional person – intelligent, poised, warm-hearted and purposeful. Her eyes shone with the passion of her plans for the future. Then she dropped a bombshell that hit me like a ton of bricks.

“Waweru, I am seventy-nine years old now and…”

The rest was drowned out.


Seventy-nine and still going strong, still writing books, still running a company, still making major plans for the future! And this in addition to everything she had already accomplished so far.

The lady was Muthoni Likimani, celebrated freedom fighter, writer, broadcaster, public relations consultant, and social activist.

This outstanding woman had lived 40 years more than I had. Yet here I sat, feeling disenchanted, perhaps even terrified, that I was on the verge of turning 40, with several of my life’s goals still unaccomplished. Absurd!

“I am seventy-nine years old now and…”

In that moment, my perspective changed dramatically. I was suddenly excited and hopeful about what I could accomplish – with some staying power.

I learned an important lesson from Muthoni Likimani. When we feel the fight is gone out of us, we can still get up, dust off, and fight on.

Amazingly, ten years later, the lady who taught me this lesson is still as active today as she was ten years ago – writing and speaking out about the causes she believes in. My most recent encounter with her was at a TV interview shoot a few weeks ago. She is still making plans for the future. Are you?


Adapted from Champion by David Waweru

©2014 David Waweru


22 Replies to “Get Up, Dust Off, and Fight On”

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