Monday, August 1, 2011

Pick a partner, Choose a career, Raise a child...when you're still clueless?

What does a 20-something year old know about picking a life partner?

How much foresight does an 18-year-old have to choose a life career?

What does a young 25-year-old mother know about raising a newborn?

Where does the 21-year-old recent graduate gain knowledge about how to invest all his disposable income?

By the time the importance of investment dawns on him, he's married with 2 children and his disposable income has become tied down by 16 years of paying school fees.

By the time you gain decades of life experience and wisdom to raise your children, you turn around to find out that your babies are adults -- telling you what their own take on life is.

By the time you're older and wise enough to want more than pretty lips and smooth words in a spouse, the dating pool has shrunk so much you fear that love might have passed you by in the haze of self-centered youthful exuberance.

And just when you pass your exams and receive admission into the Ivy leagues of medical schools, you stumble on your hidden talent and passion for fashion.

Ha ha ha. The joke is on us.

Have you noticed how we have to make the most crucial decisions of our lives during the most inexperienced years of our existence?

To think that I have to sow the seeds that I will reap during the rest of my life during the years when I have the least amount of experience and wisdom to do so!

By the time I'm 40, 50, the fruit of those seeds slowly begin to ripen. The previous 2 decades of work (or sloth) begin to show their results. Joy - if that fruit is sweet and juicy. If it's not? Pain and regret!

So I have come to the scary conclusion that I am clueless. I would be a fool to dive into this life pretending like I know what I'm doing. Pretending like I have the know-how, wisdom and knowledge to make generation shaping decisions. Decisions that are seemingly inconsequentially mine to make, yet they ripple down my bloodline long after my 80 - 90 years on earth.

God has a fantastic sense of humour (and infinite wisdom). Woe unto me if I dive into the beautiful adventure of life without basking in his ways, his word and his wisdom.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

When last did you steal second base?

I think I've shared this quote before:
"You can't steal second base and keep your foot on first base" - Frederick B. Wilcox

At several points in my life, this has been my reality.

In my childhood I was soo timid that someone always had to push me off 1st base.

Take for example, Primary 4 - when my class teacher made me Class Prefect much to my horror. Never in a million years would I have raised my hand to respond to the call for interested Prefects. And for good reason. Even as a 9 year old I was quite self aware and knew that I just wasn't cut out for making enemies.

Me? Prefect? So that they'll be waiting for me in the bushes during break time because I'd written their names on the noise makers list? No thank you.

After 2 weeks, and only 2 names showed up on my noisemakers list, my class teacher impeached me without a fuss and found herself a more fearless leader. I was crushed but definitely more relieved to be relieved of my position.

Another first to second base incidence occurred several years later in secondary school. Once again, a teacher nominated me to become a Prefect -- again to my horror. This time, I couldn't worm my way out. She preached to me about how her mind was made up and how she felt I was up to the task.

And much to my surprise, I had a fantastic year in that role and learned a bit about my abilities, skills and talents.

About 4 years ago, I stood on first base again in a whole different ball game. I was a year out of college. But I was afraid to move because I didn't want to strike out on my way to second base. But time was running out. My student status was about to expire and I had to make a decision. And with the clock ticking loudly in my ear, I was once again pushed to make a run for it. So I did. I ran for second base without looking back.
Clinging to security is our natural instinct. Holding on to the bird in our hand while we look for two more in the bushes conventional wisdom.

But sooner or later, always sticking to conventional wisdom will lead to a conventional, boring life.

A life where "what-ifs" are neatly tucked away in the "later" folder. A life where if one doesn't seize the opportunities presented by transition, threats or tribulation, the "later" folder eventually becomes the "it's too late" folder.

And it's not just for the big things. It's also for the seemingly little things: Trying a new hairdresser, taking a different traffic route, saying 'hi' to an uninteresting stranger. Leaving first base to cleave to second.

I've noticed that some of my best gifts in life have come when I let go and just - hang mid air. Many times I've been pushed over the cliff by someone else. At other times, I don't see, yet discomfort or dissatisfaction cause me to leap because I know there just has to be a better place.

And most times, there has truly been a better place.

"The boundary lines have fallen for me in pleasant places, surely I have a delightful inheritance" - Psalm 16

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Still in Nigeria - Why?

Lagos cracks me up. Seriously.

For 1 hour this evening I was stuck on Ikorodu road at Ojota. At some point, a kpangolo car behind me squashed my bumper, and the driver kept a straight face and pretended like nothing happened. ("Huh? Squash your car? It wasn't me!" Obviously the latest trick in town - pschew!)

We eventually inch along and next thing you know, a grown, healthy, fully formed area boggar (area boy/beggar) pounces on another go-slow resident and starts aggressively praying for the driver - staring him down with crazy gestures and emphatic facial expressions!

If you want to beg, biko beg, if you want to extort and threaten money out of people, then do that. Which one is this combo approach?

I was so thankful all my windows were up!

Oh and right in front of my car was an okada passenger cradling a live ram in his lap! The poor animal didn't even bother to lift its head or move a limb (on second thought, was that ram alive? It had better be!)

And the shocking thing about all this? No one bats an eyelid. Lagosians take it all in their stride, with stern forward facing faces.

The driver who the area bogger accosted didn't even glance in the guy's direction. Not once. It was his kind-hearted sister in the back who reached through the rear window to give the bogger a N100 note. Mr. bogger took the money (courteously and gratefully ofcourse), hurled a few more blessings at the car occupants and moved down the traffic lane to harass the next SUV with a window wound down.

I guess it's just another day in Las gidi ey?

Yeah. Whatever you say. Can someone tell me why I am still in this country?