We had just finished the watch night service that ushered us into the new year. While seated with my lifelong friend, overwhelmed with sobriety, emotions and seeming conviction, I told him I was done with all our escapades. I wanted to lead a new life in the new year. My friend could not understand the sudden soberness that came over me. But he respected me enough to give me benefit of the doubt.
For the few days that followed, I felt like I was living in the Holy of Holies, wining and dining with the archangels while every other person was a mere mortal condemned to rot in hell.
But, like a one-minute man, it didn’t last long. After about 2 weeks, I was back from the holy mountain to the company of men. My sobriety had worn off. I couldn’t keep up with resolutions rooted in emotions but lacking true conviction. And that was the year I bid bye to “New Year Resolutions”.
The euphoria of festive periods has a way of being deceitful. It makes us feel we can go to church as fornicators and liars by 11:59pm on 31st December and leave as winged angels by 12am on 1st January. Yes, there is grace and forgiveness available. But it is the same you who walked in by 11:59pm that will walk out by 12am. Magic won’t transform your orientations, your outlook, vulnerabilities, genetic make-up, character etc, within the space of one minute because you tag it as a new year.
Rather than fall for the facade of “new beginnings” every new year, be committed, as I am, to a lifetime and lifelong plan of getting better as a human, a man (or woman), a husband-to-be (or wife), a father-to-be (or mother), a colleague, a professional etc, either it is on 31st March or 31st December.
Then, you can live above the skin deep emotions of new years, when all we are doing is moving from one day to another while life continues in its usual locomotion. At least, God is not bound by the concept of Gregorian calendar.
Don’t judge people by their choices. Everybody has a personally valid reason for the things or people they choose. The validity of personal choices is subjective. It doesn’t answer, for instance, to such immutable rules like those guiding the validity of legal contracts.
By illustration, Biola, a friend, asked out a girl. She, in response, told him she couldn’t go out with him due to his low financial standing. Biola resorted to name calling and shaming. Too bad!
Everybody is entitled to his or her choices without being made to look bad for same, no matter how seemingly crude or preposterous they may appear. The best option is to accept that they have a right to choose what they feel is best for them. Aren’t we all looking out for our personal interests?
People have histories, notions, and reasons behind their choices. Unfortunately, these things can be inexplicable or incomprehensible at times. It doesn’t make the choices invalid. There is an outcome for every choice.
Do not judge people by their choices. Assess them only by their straightforwardness or otherwise in declaring same. You don’t want to associate with people who call you “baby” to your face but “maga” before their friends.
It’s okay, really. It’s okay to have shortcomings. It’s okay when people regard you as a model but deal in closet with flaws you can tell no being. It’s okay to struggle. It’s okay to climb and fall. It’s okay to try and fail. It’s okay to strive to be a better person but fail as many times as you try. It’s okay when everybody expects you to be this way but you are that way. It’s okay to be a work in progress, as long as death is your only retirement plan.
I was a very self-seeking person. But I learnt self-sacrifice from friends who showed me unimaginable selflessness and crazy loyalty. I am (was) a very impulsive person. I crave(d) and learn(t) patience from people and situations around me. I used to be a bad boyfriend (lmao). Maybe not really bad. But in hindsight, I could have done more. I did not know better. Little by little, I have learnt how to treat a woman like a good man is supposed to. And that is exactly the point of this post. Life is not about the one who denies his shortcomings. It is about the one who admits and acknowledges his weaknesses and strives daily, competing with no one, to be a better person.
It’s okay not to be perfect. It’s okay to be human. Humanity is imperfection mixed with empathy. We could as well be aliens. Do aliens kiss and hug? Thank goodness we are not.
As long as you do not give up on the quest to become a better person; as long as you do not allow your imperfections become a burden; as long as you enjoy the process while looking forward to the result, it’s okay to fall and fail, daily. Falling and failing is part of the process!
A man wakes up one day with severe pain in his groin area. He visits the hospital and voila! he has cancer.
A family reeking of love and affection suddenly loses its positive vibe. Why? The mother dies!
A happy and loving father suddenly loses his job. He is unable to fend for his family. Despondency sets in. He becomes suicidal.
The list is endless. Life is unfair. Life is difficult. Life’s troubles are inevitable (and at times preventable). It is guaranteed that each person will to go through one difficult period or the other on the surface of the earth.
I have had my own share of some of these difficult times (inevitable and preventable) and I foresee more to come (I see difficulties as a sign of progress). With depression and rate of suicide on the increase, I feel it is necessary to share some of the tips that have helped me in dealing with the difficulties I have faced.
•Love someone other than you.
Love, whether platonic or romantic, is a good platter upon which to weather the storms of life. Love, not the battered and pervasive human conception hinged on deceit, gives you a reason to live to fight another day when life tells you otherwise. It keeps pumping blood in your veins when life threatens to suck it dry. Life beats you down, love raises you up. Life tells you it is difficult, love responds ‘I’ll go through it with you.’ Life reminds you of your seeming incapabilities, love says ‘I choose you nonetheless.’ When you find such, don’t let it go. It has the potency to give you strength in your lowliest days, if you allow it.
• Build meaningful relationships with people around you.
If you do not have an exclusive or a small circle of friends with whom you can be vulnerable and share your depth and hurts, life may really be more difficult. It’s easy to have people around to slay together when life makes you feel like Neil Armstrong. But when life catches up with you at your lowest and you have genuine people around to pour your heart and soul to, you are a lucky human. Such relationships don’t come often in this Twitter age. If you don’t have such, make a genuine effort to build it. Meaningful relationships are like umbrellas in showers of rain. They cannot prevent the rain from totally not touching you but they can provide a covering to keep you from getting soaked.
Meaningful relationships are like umbrellas in showers of rain. They cannot prevent the rain from totally not touching you but they can provide a covering to keep you from getting soaked.
•Associate with people better than you.
Asking people who have gone ahead of you for directions can make your journey less strenuous and more direct, especially when you get to the rough plains. So, to make difficult moments in life bearable, we need mentors, either spiritual, professional or in other spheres of life. They may not be able to make it go away but they can help mitigate the harshness of the situation with their experience, wisdom and guidance. I got into a somewhat messy situation recently. I had my pastor advising me from the spiritual perspective. I had a senior friend taking things from the professional angle. I had another senior friend looking at things from the familiarity side. Truthfully, things did not go as planned but the fact that I had these people to lean on and run to made life more bearable for me.
•Lead a plain life.
Aside life’s inevitabilities and inexplicable occurrences, some of life’s difficulties are self-inflicted and avoidable if we can learn to lead a life rooted in ease, integrity, honesty and far from shadiness. A determination not to get one’s hands soiled can ward off preventable difficulties. Learn to be patient. Practice contentment. Even the Holy Bible says: “But godliness with contentment is great gain.” [1 Timothy 6:6 (KJV)]
Plain in this context may also mean observing a healthy lifestyle in order to prevent a breakdown in health.
• Contribute to a cause bigger than you.
Either in philanthropy or in volunteering, contributing to a worthy cause bigger than one person has a way of diverting your attention from your difficult situation to another person’s more hopeless circumstance. In turn, it energizes you to live life positively and gives you a sense of fulfilment. Try this today and come back with the testimony.
• Believe in ‘something’ bigger than you.
This is partly an allusion to religion and partly a reference to a personal relationship with God or a god or whatever you believe in, if that’s possible. I have come to realize that belief in a “supernatural being” tends to give one a sense of security in the most insecure of circumstances. Whether that supernatural being is capable of saving you is another story entirely and beyond the scope of this piece. The thought of a divine force capable of suddenly pulling off a miraculous stunt in your favor in a tumultuous life situation can infuse your fainting heart with “hope for tomorrow and strength for today“, in the words of a song I have come to really like. In fact, haven’t you heard of people who never believed in the existence of God but still said a word of prayer in a difficult situation? It is a testament to the fact that human nature always longs for something bigger than it to hang on to when life’s billows roll. So, when life gets inexplicably difficult, don’t hesitate to call upon your G(g)od.
These 6 tips have in one way or the other helped me in times past to deal with the questions life has thrown my way. However, one noteworthy thing is that they are not things you pull out like a magic wand in the thick of difficulties. They are things you would have developed over time but become handy when your share of life’s difficulties is tossed to you.
So love that man or woman, invest in that meaningful relationship, find a mentor, lead an unpretentious life, contribute to your community and have a supernatural backbone. They will bail you out when your lawyer can’t!
This is an unusual subject for me. But whenever inspiration comes running, I embrace it like an average man would want to hug a 34D-endowed woman.
But then, that is exactly the issue. We segment and discriminate against the female folks based on their bodily features. We do not hesitate to taunt them for what, at times, they may have little or no power over.
“I don’t like your name“. A girl I had never seen and will never see said this to me. I was in SS3 in a boys’ only school. Our self esteem was largely dependent on how much attention we got from girls. But here I was, in Abuja, far away from home, representing my school and State in a national conference, and a girl just crushed the last piece of coldstone-esteem I took pride in.
I have tried to understand the concept of body shaming of women from my perspective. Anytime I don a cloth that is not as smart on me as I want, or I am not comfortable in it, my confidence level wanes by some inches. For the rest of that day, I will be too self conscious to the extent that I can keep looking into the mirror to give myself some assurance: “it’s not that bad“. A five-minute intermittent confidence-boosting assurance. Yet, unlike yeast, the confidence hardly rises. It’s worse when I have to speak to an attractive woman.
However, the advantage I have is that after looking into the mirror first time, I can switch clothes. Or if I change my mind after leaving my house, I can return and wear another one. Or in some instances, if it’s a work shirt, I can easily put on a jacket and not remove it till the end of the day.
But really, what is the fate of a beautiful but insecure plump lady whose confidence has been bashed multiple times by people who believe and do not refrain from offering unsolicited advice that a beautiful woman must have an hour glass shape, flat tummy, tiny waist, shapely derriere and round breast?
How does such a woman suck the fat from her Cup-DD boobs in months, or weeks or a day like I would change my cloth before leaving my house? Or how would a petite lady whose boobs do not even need a bra for support embiggen same after being taunted for having breast as small as a mustard seed?
When the girl told me she didn’t like my name, it was with the hotel phone. My room and school mate who made some random calls had called her room. In the course of their conversation, he told her my name is Sunday. The girl did not hesitate to offer her unsought opinion. I never saw her. Never will I see her. But she made me become conscious of telling people my first name thenceforth.
In dealing with the confidence-bashing seed the lady unknowingly sowed, rather than tell people my name is Oluwaseun or Ola or the others, I had to deliberately tell new people I meet that my name is Sunday without giving it a second thought. It was easy dealing with since then.
I have nomenclature options. Does a woman on the fat side have same? I can easily change my cloth. Can a woman switch her tummy?
Definitely, you are not compelled to like everybody. But you are also not compelled to offer your debasing opinion. If you do not like some features in a woman, except she asks for it or you are closely knitted, keep your words to yourself.
Do not be the reason a woman will embark on a neck-breaking voyage of conformity. No one defines the ideal. In fact, the ideal is subject to subjectivity.
We are all hustlers. From the street hawkers, to the ones who don the archaic wig and gown even in hot weather, to the woman who displays her wares by the roadside and dozes off (this is always profound for me when I see them). Sadly, our realities are different. But we are all hustlers.
But, are we meant to hustle every day of our lives? Are we meant to lead a life of work and then slip into eternal exit? What kind of life is that? I know people who literally bury themselves in work and hardly have a life outside it. But I know there’s a greater essence to life than this.
Both my deliberate and casual readings about work-life balance have greatly shaped my outlook to life and living to the extent that I feel I may be lazy at times. But the truth is, life is meaningless if its trajectory is to be born, go to school, get a job and then work one’s asses out till death.
In the relentless pursuit of security, we most times end up neglecting the most important things that give meaning to life and essence to existence.
We sacrifice family. We sabotage relationships. We neglect our health. We underrate the efficacy of taking a break.
When the energy is gone, when strength gives way, when the reality comes to the fore, no one remembers the deadline missed or met; no one remembers the overtime worked. Only the priceless moments spent, the ineffable memories had and the beautiful people met remain imprinted on the hearts of men.
Admittedly, these things may be hard to observe in the early years of an individual’s voyage in the ‘hustle class’ or for one who has never moved to the next class after enrolment. However, with deliberate attempts to not lose ourselves in the quest to make a living, we can develop habits and attitudes necessary for this daunting journey of life.
However, for those whose life’s meaning is tied to their work, it’s a different ball game. For them, the priceless moments spent, ineffable memories had and beautiful people met may be in the course of their work. For these, work is not making a living stricto sensu, but the fulfilment of an inexplicable yearning and hunger.
But no matter the case, I do not believe because life is a hustle, hustle must be life!