Once upon a time, I was a hip-hop head.
I have a record that makes me cringe anytime I hear it to show for that period of my life. In that time, two of the choc boys- Jesse Jagz and Ice Prince released a song Take Over. While I don’t know what Ice Prince is doing with his life right now, I am still a dedicated Jesse Jagz fan, but it was one of Ice Prince’s lines that has stayed with me even till now: You think say we come Lagos to count bridge? He asked in the song
I was a young thang, so in my mind I would reply: No Baba, we came to make money, and we will die trying. We are young, smart, cool and we will be fine. LOL.
Lagos will teach you lessons in slow prose. You gon’ learn that nobody kept money for you to come and collect in Lagos. You will be ready to break your back, then half the money you make will go to house rent and if you have kids, school fees will drill a hole in your pocket while the rest will go for ridiculous NEPA bills, LAWMA bills, fuel, thieves (please make allowance for thieves, you will be robbed) and many other random wahala Lagos will throw your way so that at the end of the year you will ask yourself where is all the money I made this year? What was this all for?
By 6am you’ll see coaster buses filled with dozing men and women going to work. These are people who probably got home by 9/10pm the previous day. The (un)lucky ones with little kids who have to check school work, tell bed time stories, sort out lunch for the next day etc before they sleep are the real MVPs. If you are lucky, there’ll be light for about two/three hours at night so you sleep well a bit or run on generators and before you start snoozing it is 5am. Get up baby, rise and grind.
I used to take on many freelance jobs when I was still reasoning on the same line with Ice Prince. I’d get home by 7pm, start on another task, sleep by 10pm, and wake up by 2am. On top what? It was even worse because I lived with workaholics, who also saw nothing wrong with being awake by 2am ghost writing/editing books, doing new graphic designs.
We were just taking up gigs upon gigs so that we could wear pretty clothes, live in almost cool houses and people would think our real lives are like the Clarendon filter on Instagram. Meanwhile, the truth was that in real life we were sleep deprived-tired people who once in a while found time at the weekeneds to sit with friends at Freedom Park and talk about how pathetic the human condition is while eating fish and drinking beer.
Now? I am learning. If you fall down and die today, your replacement will be at your desk in less than a week. Life will move on; the sun will rise and set, rain will fall, harmattan will come, children will be born. You are not that important in the grand scheme of things
So while you are not in Lagos to count bridges, take time off to take care of yourself.
You don’t have to work every weekend. Take a break from indomie and pasta and cook (or buy) food with vegetables, pepper, fish and orishirishi.
Take hot baths, chill in the tub. Eat some more again (don’t worry about them calories), watch a movie, laugh with your friends, be silly. Eat some ice cream or yoghurt. Not every time hand wash sometimes send your dirty clothes to the laundry.
Pick up your phone and call people you love. I have a whatsapp group with my friends titled ‘amebo’, yup you guessed right all we do is gossip and share funny videos and laugh in a safe circle.
It is not that serious.
This life really is one, all we have. Having money makes it softer and easier, but please fellow Lagosians, remember you cannot come and go and die. Live the life. Laugh. Be happy.