Taking Stock: 2016 In a Few Words

One day, in retrospect, the years of struggle will strike you as the most beautiful. – Sigmund Freud

2016 has been an interesting year for me. It was the year I stepped out and did things afraid. I can only see this in retrospect now because they didn’t feel like that back then. I took a lot of steps and made a lot of decisions especially with my career that I had somehow always just wondered about in 2015. (more…)

Danfo Tales

Interesting things unfold in a Danfo (yellow commercial bus) everyday, ranging from strange to weird to downright LOL moments. So I have decided to put down a few of my personal favourites.

The weird: This one right here is by far my weirdest bus experience (oh wait, no it actually isn’t the weirdest. There’s another one, but it’s more disgusting than weird. Maybe someday soon I will have enough courage to write about it, but until then…). (more…)

Why Won’t You Read?

Recently I have been trying to understand my obsession with books. I can’t remember a time when I did not read; from the worn M&Bs and Harlequin books that made the rounds back in secondary school, to the excited chatter among my friends and I, my taste buds grew and evolved from there to more meaty tales — crime thrillers, hardcore police procedural to sci-fi and everything in between. (more…)

Confusing Street Names

For a Lagos JJC like myself, I have gotten lost one too many times majorly because I am terrible with directions and I sleep off in the bus and pass my bus stop (thou shalt not judge me). But I don’t appreciate when external forces contribute to it. Okay, let me explain… Some months back (yes, months because this has been sitting in my laptop, unfinished, for a while now. Sigh*), I had to attend a bridal shower in Surulere. There was a mix up with the timing and I should have gotten my facts straight before I left the house but I didn’t so I set out on this journey (factor in traffic) all the way from Egbeda.

So after wading through traffic, I got to Ojuelegba. I called to get proper directions to make sure I was right on track. I was told I was going to Muritala Animashaun Street, so I should take a bus, stop at Masha cross to the other side, take a Keke (tricycle) and stop at Muritala Animashaun and then walk to the end of the street. Pretty straightforward, yes?

No. That was the beginning of my woes on this bright, sunny Saturday afternoon. So I got to Masha, told the Keke guy where I was going and after waiting for more people to fill up the keke, we set off. After driving for what seemed like a century, he announced that we had arrived. I got down and looked up to see Thomas Animashaun written on the arrow pointing towards a street. I started to wonder why this said ‘Thomas’ instead of ‘Muritala’. Maybe it’s the same thing? So I called to inform them that the keke dropped me at Thomas Animashaun.

“I doubt I am at the right place o”, I said. “Or are they both the same thing?”

“Ah, you are definitely at the wrong place o. I don’t even know where that is. Try to see if you can get a bike and ask if they know Muritala Animashaun. It’s around NYSC secretariat”, she said.

I was a bit upset that I wasn’t told this additional info about the street being around NYSC secretariat earlier. At this point, I was already having the mother of all headaches. My head was throbbing like there was a carpenter at work in there. So I stopped a bike and asked if he knew where the street was and he was looking at me like I had suddenly sprouted another eye in the middle of my head and was speaking in an unknown language. I stopped another and then another, until I finally found one who knew where NYSC secretariat was but didn’t know where the street I was talking about was.

“I no dey go dat side but I go drop you for Mobil filling station, you go see keke wey dey go Bode Thomas, dem go fit carry you go dat side.” He said.

Tired of standing, I hopped on and he dropped me at the filling station where I saw a cluster of kekes. I proceeded to ask, for the umpteenth time, if anyone knew where I was going. The Keke guy, who was very nice by the way, had no idea what I was talking about. He then took his time to explain to me that there’s a Babs Animashaun street, which is the one after NYSC secretariat, there’s another Animashaun Street and then there’s Thomas Animashaun. (WTH!) I told him I was just coming from Thomas Animashaun Street.

“Are you going to get to the NYSC secretariat?” I asked. He said yes. So I got in since I had been told that the secretariat wasn’t far from where I was going.

We got to the secretariat and I called to ask what next.

“Are you at the secretariat?”

“Yes, we are parked opposite it. So where am I going next?”

“Just keep coming down_”

“Down where? I don’t know what direction you are referring to as ‘down’…”

“Did you pass any open market?”

“What open market? I wasn’t looking out for any open_”

“Yes there’s an open market. We just passed it two minutes ago.” The driver said

“Apparently we passed it two minutes ago.”

“Okay, walk back towards the market, you’ll see bike men parked there. Take a bike to Muritala Animashaun. It isn’t far from that place at all.”

So I paid the keke guy, thanked him for being super helpful and walked back towards the market, crossed the road to the other side, hailed a bike and told him where I was going. I asked if he knew where it was and he was positive. Finally! I thought.
Then he said the fare was hundred naira and I was like for what? So I told him fifty naira. (I was operating on the knowledge that it wasn’t far).

“I go park for the gate o, because bike no dey enter inside.” He said.

I didn’t understand that because I felt of course you will park outside, I’m not expecting you to drop me in the living room. But at this point, my head was aching unbearably so I just got on the bike and I kid you not, that was the shortest bike ride in the history of time! And the dude wanted to collect hundred naira simply because he knew I didn’t know where I was going, so he wanted to take advantage of that. Shame, shame on you people who prey on other people’s ignorance.

Anyway, I gave him his fifty naira and lo and behold, the famous Muritala Animashaun was an estate. Not a street people, an estate! It was boldly written there: “Alhaji Muritala Animashaun Estate”. I then understood why the bike guy said he couldn’t enter inside. I stood at the gate, shook my head and walked in. Guess what? The showers had ended. I had journeyed seven mountains and seven seas, battled obstacles only to discover that the whole thing had ended. Sigh*

Would a prior knowledge that the Muritala Animashaun Street was indeed an estate have prevented me from getting lost? Maybe. But my question is; why are there so many bloody Animashaun streets within Surulere though?!

 

Image: pixabay.com

 

Coming Of Age

So I celebrated my birthday some weeks back, and by ‘celebrate’ I mean I went to Church, went out for lunch and spent the rest of the day indoors with a movie (just like any other regular Sunday) not gyrating my hips to the melodious sounds deftly delivered by a DJ, with cocktails and small chops (Ah… small chops) flowing nyafu nyafu.

Anyway, I remember how upset I was a few days to the big day. Why? Because adulting. Yep, that was the reason for my malaise. Growing up is hard and totally not what I had thought it would be like. Moving away from home, getting a job was supposed to be fun! Adventure! Freedom to do anything. But honestly, it isn’t all that fun. Plus, I never thought I would be where I am right now. Which is… I almost want to say nowhere, but that would be a lie because I am somewhere. And just like a sweet friend of mine said, I may not be where I thought or imagined I would be but there are things in my life that I am proud of. I am not where I used to be, thank God, and I don’t plan on staying where I am today forever.

So I am making a list. A list of various things actually but today, I am making a list of the things I have learned and still learning in my 20 something odd years on this planet. They are a lot so I’m just going to limit them to the few that are sort of defining who I am right now.

  1. Adulting. Yes, this goes without saying. As the years go by, even without wanting it, I am growing older. I have decided to accept this because let’s face it, whether or not I do, it’s going to happen so why worry myself grey when I can just accept the inevitable and rather decide to make every moment count? And like I said, adulting is hard. Lawd! The responsibilities keep piling up. You have to work to buy stuff. That sucks. Gone are the days when you got pocket money to do with as you pleased. Now, you have to break out the calculator because if you spend anyhow, you will suffer for it.

    And then all of the pressure that society places on you especially if you are female. That’s when the pressure to get married starts mounting. You begin to get non-subtle cues every time your mum calls. God forbid you say you want to build a life, build a career, and be sufficient in yourself before you get married. Something must be wrong with you if you are 27 and you are not seriously considering marriage. Sometimes you just want to scream so everyone would just shut up! Including your head too, because somehow, you have let the chatter get into your head and yes, it begins to screw with you.
    So I have decided that I will do what I will do. I will grow. I will build a career. I will live my life and enjoy every moment. I will get married because I want to, not because all of my eggs will shrivel up and die! They will shrivel up anyway so, kini big deal? Procreate, yes, I know. That’s the big deal abi? Meh. Every good thing will come.

  1. Faith. I have learnt that this is a rather sensitive topic with people. Faith is deeply personal and you can only follow the bandwagon for so long. At a point in my life, I began questioning everything I believed and seeking answers for myself. Do I have answers to all of the questions? No. There are a lot of troubling things in the world today that I feel like we just might never get answers to and that’s okay. Does not knowing kill me? Yes, sometimes. But I have decided that you choose to believe whatever you choose to believe. My faith is very important to me and daily I strive to grow deeper and more confident in it, breaking every hold of ‘religion’ and finding answers to all of the questions in my heart as I go along. I want to be able to defend why I believe what I believe. I want to be able to say I am a Christian without it simply meaning ‘I go to Church’.
  2. Losing friends. This one hurts but it is the reality of life. I can count on one hand how many of my secondary school friends I still keep in touch with. Okay, that’s taking it too far back, let’s say friends from Uni. It’s not because I just feel I’m done with these people but we have grown apart. There were people who were a big part of my life and I felt like I would be incomplete or that my life will fall apart if they ever dropped out of the picture, but guess what? The earth didn’t stand still. I moved on, they moved on and that’s the way life is. You can’t hold on to everybody or every friendship you ever had. Some people are in your life for a time and you are in theirs for a time and when that’s done, you all move on. And that’s fine.

    It has been hard accepting that some people are not my friends anymore and I can’t demand some level of commitment from them. I am still learning and if anyone has tips on how to let go, I would most definitely like to hear them.

  1. You never really run short of people around you. You go out, you meet people, colleagues at work who somehow are able to scale the walls and move into Friendsville (was that too cheesy? Lol. Oh well), but there’s a drag, though. The older you get, you begin to feel the need to choose your friends more carefully and that’s really not a terrible thing. You will have fewer friends but they will be people that are totally dependable (as you would be for them), whom you will weather the storms of life with. Now you are a bit more conscious of your time and you don’t want to spend that time cultivating a friendship that isn’t mutually beneficial. Now you are able to smell the BS from a mile away and quite frankly, you don’t want anybody coming to stink up your life. Ain’t nobody got time for that, so take your stink and vamoose. You are now, more than ever, more protective of your space and who you share that with so ‘only serious candidates need apply’.
  2. Being deliberate. This one fully dawned on me in the last couple of months. I guess it stems from me realising that I am growing older and hence I need to be deliberate in all of the decisions I make here on out. The clock is ticking, time is of the essence, and all that good stuff. Realising that I hold the key to achieving that life that I have imagined puts things in perspective. The only person standing between me and being an amazing and successful person is me. So I am learning to get out of my own head and just… do. Be deliberate with career decisions, how I spend my time, who I spend it with, how I use the skills and knowledge that I have acquired yada yada yada.

    I was having a conversation with a friend a few weeks back and she was saying it is not enough to just say “it is well” anymore. What is God helping to make “well”? You have to clearly identify what it is He is helping you with. And then make deliberate efforts towards achieving those goals.
    Stop being vague. Be clear and precise.

  1. Learning to love myself. Now this is a big one for me. I have lived through years and years of self-loathing. At different stages in my life, I have had to deal with self-confidence issues. If I had a dollar for every time I told myself that I wasn’t good enough, I would buy myself a really cool high-end camera and all the usual appurtenances. But I have learned that I only feel that way because I allow myself feel that way. Nobody is going to make me feel good about myself if I don’t make myself feel good about myself (Yep, I see what I did there). If I see something I don’t like, I work to be better. Am I there yet? Far from it but I have decided to love myself, I am enough.

    I will not compare myself to anyone else or feel short changed because I think they have what I don’t. I will be inspired by people’s achievement’s and I will let that spur me into action but I will not hold a pity party for myself where I eat the ‘he/she is better than me ice cream’. I just won’t do it anymore.

  2. And the last one because this is getting longer than I had expected, nothing lasts forever. I remember back in Uni when I was getting all of the bad grades and I told myself that I wasn’t intelligent and I might not amount to much, I thought that phase would never end but it did. It came to an end and I went to law school and passed the bar in one sitting. And I have moved on from there to do other things. Nothing lasts forever. Situations come and they go. Challenges come and they go. Some might last longer than others but they would surely end. My new* motto is ‘No matter how bad the shit smells, the stink shall eventually fade’.
    Learn what you need to learn, push through and move on. It would be difficult as hell but move you must. You aren’t going to last forever anyway, so, go figure.

So in the face of adulting, losing friends and everything life throws at me, I have decided that I will learn, I will grow, I will move on when necessary and more importantly, I will not lose my sense of wonder.

 

* I totally just came up with that right now. I will sha enjoy the nice feeling of having created that even if it’s short-lived. Lol

Image: pixabay.com