By Nwike Nweke
Life teaches you its lessons in different ways if you are open to learning. Many of our preconceived choices will mostly fall flat in the face of life’s realities. Not necessarily because we were building castles in the air but simply because we made our plans, we conceived of the world and projected our thoughts on life without ever really facing life.
Although I didn’t have a clear plan regarding my next move as I mused on the idea of leaving my former abode, somehow, there was a default idea of what to do and how to do it. This idea, though dependent on available resources, was really the only thing I knew. Go out. Get a Masters. Possibly obtain a PhD and start a life in the academia.
It was that simple, perhaps, even perfect. At least, this path had a fair guarantee of an OK life for me. But an OK life is not what I wanted. Neither was it what I needed. An OK life – routine – like the one projected above will negate the very reason for which I wanted to and for which I applied to leave my former abode. My person wanted more. I can’t really explain it but I knew that routines never excited me. When you factor that with the reality of a grand loss of conviction, you will understand exactly why it became imperative, since February 2013, that I leave that space for those who can cope with the life.
But what do you do about an idea of success you have long conceived of? About a kind of life you have seen others who had similar life trajectories with you live? This idea is not going to leave you completely, you know?
So it was that when I met that benevolent Consultant who offered me a life – one different from what I have ever known but one which aligns with my deepest yearnings, I fell in love immediately. I fell in love with the challenge that came with that life. It was a life without routine. Each sun rises with its peculiar challenges. A certain day can begin at 7am and end at 3pm. The other may start at 11am and end at 7pm or even roll through the night with you preparing the draft of a proposal or that of a company MoU.
It was, for me, the nearest I came to living a real life of purpose. A life in which I did things the way I wanted them done. Picking up new tasks by the hour and killing them with gusto. Opening files, closing them and brainstorming. This boss who thinks me a partner and colleague doesn’t dissent contrary opinions. Even when we discussed politics with an atmosphere charged by our convergent yet divergent opinions – convergent for our shared love for fatherland and a desire for a country that works – divergent in our conception of the approach or the vehicle to this cherished destination, he tolerated and taught me. I learned. I really learned. Truly, I was happy. Not for the prospects the job held but for doing something that aligns with my interest. Something in which I truly found myself.
But life happened again. The uncertainty of it all. The desire to survive – one for which this man, the benevolent consultant, warned me. The crazy return of a preconceived idea of success. It set in, making me seek for pasture in a land bestrewn with harmattan-plagued leaves. I wanted to survive. I needed to survive.
I met another benevolence. One that landed me in the life I ran away from. Routine. Unproductivity.
Let me quickly mention that I learned two vital lessons. First, that a hungry human may hardly be able to make a rational/objective decision. His decision will most likely be spurred by what guarantees him life’s basics. Second, don’t tell half-truths especially to those who have offered you help without collateral.
I left my benevolent consultant without telling him all the reasons why I was leaving. Perhaps, as he is wont to do, he would have made me see things differently. But hunger. Hunger makes humans foolish, sometimes.
But I am here. Surviving but not living. From the very first day, I started planning my next moves. Call Mr benevolent? But fear will not allow me. What exactly do you even tell him now? Will he ever take you seriously or trust you again? Questions. Endless questions.
But let’s return to the beginning. My acceptance of the second benevolence was primarily because it guaranteed me survival more than the former. However, it was more because it held better promise of taking me through that preconceived notion of success that I always had, conditioned by my years of shelter – Masters – PhD – Lecture – Get paid.
Damn it! Actually, life doesn’t always work that way. In fact, I’m sure I don’t really fancy that life. I am only enamoured by it because of where I am coming from and the significance it holds there. I have allowed other people’s opinions of success influence my decision. I am very sure at this point that if I ever obtain a Masters or go further than that, it will simply be to massage my ego or because it’s a requirement for something I need and not because it really aligns with my deepest yearnings. I want to do. I want to apply my whole self to life. A routine job doesn’t guarantee that. I know I will find it. I know that time reveals everything and that with time I will find myself again. However, I have resolved that while here, I will leave indelible footprints for which I will loom back and be satisfied. I will apply myself now while hoping for something better in the future.
But wait, what was I saying?
Oh, let’s just say that this is the initial step of a voyage – the beginning. I invite you to come with me in this journey of life and living as I share my thoughts here on myriads of topics in diverse fields – politics, lifestyle, entertainment, philosophy, sports and a host of others. This is the first step on the journey to discovery. I will be your anchor as we embark on this journey. It is time to move beyond thinking or desiring and start doing. Let this doing start from the seemingly insignificant while I aim towards the significant.