LIVE A LITTLE

My great grandfather was 81 years when he died. He was a beneficiary of the colonial era education offered by missionaries. A simple man, and farmer at heart, He believed that he who can feed himself and his family is a content man. On his deathbed, he was a very rich man having inherited his father’s 600-acre plantation which he annexed to build his export empire.

Baba was loved by all. I still remember how full his house usually was whenever we visit. Helps who, after performing their duties prefer to stay around in other to curry Baba’s favour, rebellious children whose parents have faith in Baba’s ancient wisdom, beneficiaries of his philanthropy who either need more or have come to show their gratefulness. In short, there was never a dull moment… I miss those days.

Baba made everyone feel welcome not just by the great sense of judgement or his kind gesture, but he could also send anyone who was moody or unhappy to a state of hysteria. Many even said only Baba’s judgement was final in our village since he was the only person who could change the king’s mind no matter how nutty the situation may look.

On his deathbed, Baba called all his children and grandchildren in order to bless them and give them some parting advice. I followed my dad to the village on this occasion. When Baba was done with his children and grandchildren, I went in to play with baba like we always did. It was at his point that Baba decided to advise me too. He said: ‘Dotun, I know you are still young but I know you will grow up to be a successful lawyer like Taslim Olawale. When you do please remember to live a little. Don’t let making money and being successful deny you from the little pleasures of life. I know you will remember when the time is right.’

Nine years into my law practice, out of the blue I remembered my great grandfather’s advice and it was timely. My relatively young marriage (four years) was already feeling the strain of my job demand and I had not seen my parents since my child’s naming ceremony thirty-four months ago despite living in the city as them. My friends were unhappy because I had practically distanced myself from them – don’t blame me, I was on track to becoming Nigeria’s youngest senior advocate. On this fateful day, I had lost a case that was supposed to announce me to the legal world as the next high-profile senior advocate. In my reflective moment, I realized that Baba’s advice was for this time when I had sacrificed too much for a little career gain. In a bid to get to the pinnacle of my career (which I was always going to get to anyway #kickasslawyer), I had alienated myself from everyone. I simply could not continue this way. I decided to turn my life around, I simply won’t lose a case and all the people in my life.

I took a month off work and took my family (my parents, my wife and my daughter) on vacation, made amends with my friends. I realized that the only reason why most people crave status, secular success is so they can be respected amongst those they love, but even if you gained that status, without adequately acknowledging their presence in your life, there will be no one who really to share the beautiful moments with. Those moments after achievements spent in the company of those who care – that is living. Please, live a little.

On my return from vacation, I appealed the case I lost and won. I did not become a senior advocate at the youngest age though, but my friends and family were there to celebrate me when I finally became one.

Learn to live a little.

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THE STORY OF THE MAN ON THE LADDER

I finally visited my dad today after 3 long months. Why did I keep away from my confidant – my dad for that long? It wasn’t because work had been tough for the past 12 weeks, and it had, but that  I did not like my parents seeing me depressed. Oh!. I had been depressed since the day Zain turned down my marriage proposal.

I met her during the first semester exams in the university and we just connected immediately. We were inseparable for the seven years that ensued. We served our fatherland in the same state without influencing posting; for me, that was enough evidence that we were destined to be together. So when I felt settled and ready to start a family, I planned a simple proposal in the presence of friends for my heartthrob. It was on her twenty-fourth birthday, I had thrown her a surprise party and got the most precious ring I could afford. I even had a friend tape the whole episode of how I got down on my knee to pop the question only for her to shatter my world.  Her words were “you know I love you Cyril but we are still too young to tie each other down, I was even hoping to tell you that we need to date other people…”. Every of the other words she spoke blurred into eternity as my world came crashing. The plans I thought we had for the future, the beautiful kids I had envisioned, the cook-outs with family members all gone in a mo.

That was eight months ago and it looks just like yesterday. So since my dad and I talk about basically everything, I expected the talk to be difficult. Quite the opposite it turned out to be, my dad patiently listened to me whine all I wanted till I was exhausted, showing amusement and empathy in appropriate measures and when I was done, he began:

‘Have you noticed the things you do when you are climbing a ladder? Have you noticed that in order to grab the next rung, you must let go of the preceding one? And in order to step on the next rung, you must lift your feet off the one you are on in a way that agrees with what your hands are doing. So also is life. We often have to advance from a position to a higher pedestal through a climbing process. In order for this process to progress seamlessly, we must let go of the rung within our reach for that which can be attained. I know you took your loss in a very hard way but I assure you, if you can let go I assure you that what is ahead will definitely be on a high pedestal. But if you let it drown you, you will always be filled with bitterness and will never know what truly awaits you above the ladder’

It was painful but heeded my dad’s advice anyway – I moved on with my life, channelled my energy into what mattered most to me, taking life one day at a time moving forward. I met Ify at a speech club a few weeks after I left my dad’s and may I say, we connected immediately… Boy o boy! She simply completes me more than anyone I have known, I may even pop the question soon.

If you ever get stuck, maybe because of disappointments from friends, colleagues, family or even your detractors, always remember that the man on the ladder can only move forward when he lets go of that bit of the past that holds him in the present and reaches for what is attainable in the future.

IT’S JUST A NUMBER

I went to dinner with Sharon last night and it was awesome.
We have been hanging out for some time and I discovered she was about five years older. Living in a predominantly traditional African town has taught me that my society frowns at relationships where the woman is older, so I was a little reluctant to move forward with the friendship. Make no mistake Sharon is flawless. Exuding beauty that makes Miss World jealous, just like she stopped aging immediately after puberty, witty, jovial and unbelievably homely.
I invited her to dinner to bare my mind to her, so I told her my mind. I told her what I felt and how it is impossible for it to work since she is older. She was shocked to find out that she is older. After gathering herself, she said: “have you not heard that age is just a number, show me one person that age has ever stopped. If you are up for it, then let’s give it a try”. That till date is the best news I have heard (of course not counting Jesus saving me). So, it is official I will be going on a lot more dates with Sharon(winks).
I definitely slept well but Sharon’s words got me thinking “…show me one person that age has ever stopped”. Well, I tried to come up with a number of epic failures as a result of age and I found none but the list of late bloomers was simply endless. I remembered Vincent Van Gogh did not paint until he was 27 years old and his brilliant works are still celebrated, Charles Darwin who did not publish his book On the Origin of Species till he was 50 years old, Sam Walton started Walmart when he was 44 years. Stan Lee, the creator of Fantastic Four, Spiderman and a host of Marvel comics created Fantastic Four (his first) just before his 39th birthday.
The list just refuses to end, Henry Ford and the model T did not happen until he was 45, Ray Kroc did not even own McDonald’s until he was 52 and Harland Sanders (or Colonel Sanders as we love to call him) only franchised Kentucky Fried Chicken at 62. Samuel L. Jackson got his first big role at 43, Morgan Freeman was 52 when he got his.
I made excuses for everyone on my list how it is possible for age not to be an object. Then I remembered Fauja Singh who never ran in a marathon until he was 89!!! Then it dawned on me.
Not only is age just a number but it has never limited anyone; not in love, career, passion or anything you can think of. You are never too young or too old or even too unqualified to achieve whatever you can creatively imagine. So I decided, even as I anticipate the wonderful times with Sharon that I will make an attempt at pursuing every of my imagination because there really is nothing stopping me. I think you should too.

FRIENDS

There I was, fagged out after a very hectic day at work in my usual corner at the bar, sipping my favourite drink in my most melancholic state simply wondering why all my bosses conspired with nature to punish me on my birthday.

The day started nicely. The weather was perfect; traffic was unusually light so I got to work very early. I settled in fast and fresh ready for a stress free day as I had cleared my tasks for the week since Tuesday just to make Thursday free. And there they were…. (more…)

THE FACE OF LOVE

love

It is that time of the year when love is celebrated – February. IT’S VALENTINE!!!

The picture that readily comes to our minds when love is discussed is that of two romantic lovers sharing a moment. As sweet as this picture is, it is only one of the many beautiful faces of love. Saint Valentine is remembered today not because he was in a romantic relationship, but because he let love reign supreme. He gave people a chance at love even when the powers that be would not permit it.

While we want to see two beautiful souls sharing their romantic moments, while we really should celebrate them, it will be very sweet if we can remember these categories of people whose daily actions of love reminds us that beyond the romantic moments, love is shared abroad. (more…)

RESOLUTIONS… just maybe

A word that starts to trend more as the year drags to an end and we begin to take stock of the achievements and shortcomings of the ending year.

Usually, whenever the shortcomings outweigh the achievements, many of us are quick to carry them over in addition to the new sets of goals we have fashioned for the coming year. As the new year completes the first phase of its 12-phase journey round the sun, here are a number of random thoughts in the form of ‘just maybes’ to help evaluate and approach our resolves more efficiently.

  • JUST MAYBE… If you had been told that the timeline of our goals is not limited to a year and that you are not a failure if you fail to accomplish it this year it does not make you a failure. I mean you only fail when you stop trying. You do not need to register it as a carried over task (it’s no longer school; it is life). So, if you fail at it once just keep at it having the assurance that it’s never too late and you have all the time in the world as long as you have life.
  • JUST MAYBE… If you had been told your resolutions do not necessarily have to be big life goals. Rather, they could be little changes which could be habitual or relational which in the long run could bring you closer to your life long desires and goals. The concept of micro-resolutions has become fairly popular in recent times and it’s all about taking small steps that result in big change. For instance, your micro-resolution may be to be polite to everyone you encounter and then making it habitual.
  • JUST MAYBE… If you realized that the pressure you feel about attaining certain social levels which prompts you to always make ‘outrageous’ resolutions is only there because you worry of it maybe – just maybe, you will stop over thinking everything and allow some positive thoughts give you the energy to accomplish your resolves.
  • JUST MAYBE… If you had realized the sway the company you keep has over the bulk of your decisions, you would have by now become friends with more people who share your resolve. The strength of a team in accomplishing a task is far bigger than going at it alone. That is why most addicts are implored to join anonymous meetings in order to help their resolves to beat addiction progress faster.
  • JUST MAYBE… If you realized that the major reason you could not see your resolutions THROUGH last year was SIMPLY because you FAILED to start. The journey of a thousand miles they say, begins with a step… a step. The trick is not to try thinking out the entire process that it would take to accomplish your resolves and just trusting that if it is conceivable then it can be accomplished
  • JUST MAYBE… If I told you this is where you set your imaginative mind to work allowing it to set your body in motion thus accomplishing all you hope to so that come December, your accomplishments will outweigh your shortcomings maybe you will realize this is….

The End

THE BEGINNING.

Welcome to my lifestyle blog.

While every first time computer programmer loves the feel of their first ‘HELLO WORLD’ programming it is always joyful when the first blog is written. This blog will attempt to address a number day-to-day topics everyone form differing opinions on, not to generate controversies but to deal with the various challenges emanating from the difference in opinion. Constructive criticism of the blog at any point is always welcome.

looking forward to many wonderful interactions with you all.