The beginning of a new year is a good time to remind us all:
If there is a little adjustment you can make to the life you have today in order to live the life you dream about, please make it NOW. Do not wait until conditions are perfect to live your dream. Cut back on those crazy work hours so you can spend more time with your favorite people, watch less TV so you can visit/call more, watch your favorite movie on video while you iron if you could not make it to the cinema, etc...
However, if your dream is beyond you due to circumstances that you cannot help (e.g. that yacht you want to sail the world's seas on is a couple of millions over your budget), life does not have to end there. Even if things were tougher now than you ever imagined they would be, adjust your world-view and think about how the glass is half-full rather than half-empty. You/your spouse could be fatter, skinnier, uglier, grumpier, meaner, dumber, 'broke-r' or more absent than at the moment. You could wait until you have everything you want before you would be happy or you could be happy NOW.
I used to want to wait until I had lost all the maternity weight before I would buy a nice swimsuit and resume swimming... I wanted to lose some more weight so I could fit into skimpy gym clothes before I would work out... I wanted to have more money put away before I would slow down my hectic career, then it hit me: Tomorrow is ALREADY here! All those things I was putting off meant that I was waiting for my life to begin. My fevered anticipation for tomorrow was costing me the joy of today. Have you ever taken a walk, flight or drive to a preferred destination? The journey itself is PART of the experience. Any trip I have ever made thinking 'Oh God, let this part move along quickly so I can get to the great stuff', usually ended up as much a disappointment as the journey there itself.
You might have gathered by now that it was a little late in the day before I learned about contentment. I used to think contentment was a cop-out. Something that mediocres opted for. I did not want tepid old contentment, I wanted to be deliriously happy. Well, it was not long before I learned that delirium is as acute and sudden as it is transient and the 'come-down' is worse than going cold turkey (I am guessing the cold turkey comparison part here, in case you were wondering). So I opted for contentment - that experience of satisfaction and being at ease in one's situation (whatever that may be), body and mind. A CONSCIOUS CHOICE of a lasting and joyful state of mind (which by the way, is impossible without Christ. So if you have not yet discovered it, this is one adjustment you can make right now by making a conscious choice and saying a simple prayer: 'Lord, I choose you').
After graduation, I dreaded the thought of joining the Youth Corps for my mandatory year of national service. Who wanted to go to some back-of-beyond place and live off the land for one year? Whose idea was this madness anyway? I wished it away and schemed my way out of it until I eventually broke down in realization of the fact that it was MANDATORY and had to be done. Therefore, I took it up like a true soldier. I went to the salon and designed the first ever dreadlocks look in presence of scandalized hair-stylists (in 1988 braids with unfinished ends were unheard of), shopped for jeans (before then I thought denims were for farmhands and unsophisticated people), ripped up a couple of my father's old shirts into short-sleeved, tie-end mid-riff shirts and psyched myself for the trip. I went on to promise myself to accept and ENJOY any posting I got whether it was to a village school in Borno or Cross Rivers. I nearly got my wish too - my first posting was to Maiduguri
(from where my cousin had returned screaming after only one semester at the University of Maiduguri a few years before). My mum took care of that in spite of my half-hearted protests that it was okay (although I kept swallowing to get rid of the lump in my throat after I read the letter of assignment). She made a few calls and I got a more 'civilized' posting to Kwara state, where I immediately volunteered to join the SSS (State Security Service) but was not accepted (still wonder where that road would have taken me). Back in Youth Corp camp, I leaped out of bed daily at 5.00a.m along with the other 'inmates' for our early morning all-weather run, showered with cold water, used a pit latrine along with everyone else, 'lined up' for lumpy eba and watery egusi soup and hurried to the parade ground for (what became the highlight of my day) march-past practice. My unusual hairstyle earned me the nickname 'Dada' (Rasta) by the Camp Commandant and I got so good at the march past that I became a right-winger!
I left camp four weeks later fitter (although strangely heavier on the bathroom scale), less squeamish and with a distinct feeling that I COULD ACCOMPLISH ANYTHING I set my mind to do. The primary assignment at the NYSC Secretariat as Coordinator to reactivate the moribund Charity Appeal Commission was a breeze and I topped that year with a Certificate of Commendation.
What I am trying to say is that tough gigs don't last but if we face them head-on, we realize the stuff we are made of and gain a first-hand perspective that 'what does not kill us makes us stronger'. The best thing we can do is to find the up-side and ENJOY every journey of life because it is after all YOUR LIFE'S JOURNEY, no one else's and too soon, it will all be over (this phase of it, at least).
Ibironke Fumilola Babalola is an Author and the Founder of Feelnubia.com. Check out her Author Page!
Last Updated on Sunday, 29 January 2017 13:18
Written by Ronke Babalola