When you think you have it all figured out, it throws you a curve ball and you stand wondering at how finite you are and how you are so not in control. I have become more reflective with age and I cannot but help but marvel at how things are still the same although they seem to have changed. Things that seem to be farfetched not too long ago are mundane now and those that seem to be everlasting and permanent are eroding.
I look back at my school days and it’s amazing how people have evolved and changed through the years. I see people who I wouldn’t have given much time in those days now becoming leaders and persons of repute in their chosen profession. I see guys who looked so cute in school and wonder what the heck happened to them as they are now shadows of themselves today. I see men whom I wouldn’t have given a second glance in those days looking handsome, well-groomed and attractive making me wonder why I didn’t see all these attributes in them before .
I know of people whose parents couldn’t pay their school fees and who were dependent on the benevolence of their course mates now bestriding their industries whilst some who had all they wanted then- the girls, money, fame have nothing much to show for themselves. I see ladies who were ugly ducklings sudden blooming into swans and those who wouldn’t date outside a certain social circle, with men they don’t seem to have anything in common with.
As a young Christian on campus I see those we looked down on as hell bound sinners become pastors and dedicated Christians whilst the most diligent Christians (SU’s) as they were then called, have nothing in common with the faith they once professed.
When we are young, we tend to think we know it all, have it all laid down but alas we grow up and find that Life is a big mystery and not one of us knows what path lies before us and the journey, twists, detours we will walk on in this path called life. In my musings a few things have stood out namely-
- Our social connections are very, very important and they will make or mar us. A friend once told me of how she happened to handle some big government briefs. She was assigned to an office during her youth service year and in that office, there was this young member of staff, he was poorly dressed, didn’t speak good English and was generally looked down upon by all the staff and workers but my friend always gave him his due respect as her senior at work and treated him courteously. Fast forward 15 years later, my friend went to bid for a government job and it turned out that that poorly dressed worker was the head of the agency and of course he remembered her. There is a reason why old school associations thrive and it’s because our earliest and oldest social connections are formed in school and each of us remember the sometimes mundane but important things about our class or school mates that can either put them in good or bad stead with us.
I have gotten jobs based on referrals from my school mates and many a time especially in Nigeria where who you know matters, it has taken just a phone call to get things I would otherwise wait eons for without a hope of ever getting them.
2. People are in our lives for seasons. Some will start a path with us but wouldn’t complete it, some will join us on the way and may or may not complete the walk with us, some will join us at the last lap and finish with us. No matter where people join us we must be alive to the fact that someday they may leave us and we should be prepared for that time when it comes. Sometimes they leave not because they want to but events make it impossible for them to be with us eg death, sickness etc, other times, they leave because either they or us have outgrown the friendship or the dynamics of the relationship has changed. I have had very close friends who have become distant not because of any issues between us but because we grew apart and although we hardly ever talk about issues that are dear to us, we pay homage to the relationship we once had from time to time.
3. Our attitude to life matters. This is one thing I really wished I knew about in my teenage and formative years because it would have made such a difference if I had maintained the proper attitude to life. You see, for years I thought mostly negative things about myself and my circumstances and It took years and a lot of disciplined thinking to get me on the path of controlling my thoughts and choosing the right attitude.
4. Life is what you make of it. I have discovered to my surprise that life is really simple but we make it difficult mainly because we think that it’s too simple to be true. Sometimes in life we should go with the flow rather than fight it, accept the inevitable rather than deny or ignore it. We should not sweat the small stuff but concentrate on the things that really matter. Lately especially with the ongoing pandemic, I have learnt to find my sweet spot at all times and I truly marvel at how easy it is to get me to the place of contentment, fulfillment and peace with myself God and man.
5. Love is beautiful and we should not hold back our feelings for people for fear of being seen as weak and vulnerable. I do not suggest that we feed our pearls to swine but that we tell people how we feel about them and leave them to do whatever they wish to do with the fact aside from hurting us of course. I have found peace and liberation in following my heart in my professions of love to the people that mattered to me and although I have been hurt and betrayed at times I have found great peace and satisfaction in having followed my heart at all times.
In the long run, the most important lessons I have learnt is that Life is in cycles, men are in sizes, change is constant and the more things change, they more they remain the same. Because of this knowledge, I have learnt to appreciate the people in my life and the seasons I have with them, I have learnt to enjoy this journey called life and look forward to the things it brings my way. I have learnt to celebrate my victories though they may be small compared to others and to see my achievements in the light of my obstacles and not in comparison with those of other people. In all I have learnt that I can never understand the mystery that is called life and I have learnt to be okay with it.
I invite you to do the same.