In a few days, the year 2017 will wind down completely. In usual fashion, we will be wishing one another a happy new year. And like every other time when a new year is ushered in, many will be full of new hopes and aspirations. It’s a script that plays out every 365 days. It is constant. Unchanging. The truth is, at the end of the day, the Ist of January in any year is just another day, however, one can’t deny the sense of freshness and new beginning it elicits. Whether some of us downplay it or not, a new calendar year will always represent a good time to do a self-appraisal, and start afresh.
Mr President has returned home after being away on medical vacation for 104 days. His arrival and subsequent nationwide address have been a controversial subject of discourse between his staunch supporters and those who feel his extended stay away and state of health should have been handled a lot better; and possibly prodded him to resign on account of ill-health. It’s a debate that has been ongoing since the first time he was away for medical treatment. The whole controversy stems from a loss of faith by a section of the populace that the current administration has the capacity to lead Nigeria to the promise land.
It’s at the top of our prayer point list – Failure be gone! Nobody wants to be associated with failure. A word that is synonymous for everything bad, everything that spells defeat and rejection and an inability to succeed. No one likes to fail. I certainly don’t. However, I strongly believe that failure can prove to be an ally contrary to what we think.
“How rewarding has writing been for you?” he asked. “Do you make money from blogging?” She wanted to know. These are the sort of questions I get fairly regularly. While the perception of what a typical career should look like is changing in this part of the world, there’s still a significant level of cynicism about certain vocations and how lucrative they are or aren’t. Writing falls in the category of such professions.
Not many emotions can contend with the level of euphoria and feigned piety that happens upon a lot of people, and Nigerians in particular at the anticipation of the dawn of a new year. As the previous year begins to wind down, everyone puts on a reflective vest, waxing philosophical about the past and future. It’s not out of place actually. On the contrary, it makes absolute sense; at least the part where one feels the need to take stock of the past and the outcome of their actions and inactions throughout the year. The effect of decisions taken are vivid at that point. So, people overtly or covertly make resolutions. A resolve to do things a little differently in the new year – Start that business, lose the extra weight, save a little more, make that 6.0 GPA, be a better husband. But for some reason this resolve begins to wane almost as soon as the year kicks off.
Since last year I started to document and do a post on the lessons I have taken away from each year. It’s a form of yearly insight on the events that have shaped my year, and offers some sort of assurance that I am going into a new year wiser. A number of slogans resonated with me during the course of the year because they went from words which were passed down from a sage or generation to experiences I actually went through in my personal or professional life. It’s been a rather interesting and challenging year for me. If I thought 2015 was tough, then it was because I was totally ignorant of what 2016 was preparing to dish out at the beginning of the year. But, with everything that happens to me, I like to take away lessons…lessons which I summarise below;
Proclaiming it as the latest wonder of world wouldn’t be too far-fetched. Pundits, scholars and the media failed woefully with all of their “big grammar” and permutation on this one. Like the legendary Michael Jackson whose gravity-defying dance moves remained a mystery for a while, the emergence of Donald John Trump as the winner of the recently held presidential elections in the USA has defied the expectations of billions of people around the world. Someone or some force flipped the well written script that had cast current US Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton as the preferred candidate. Souvenirs and paraphernalia of different kinds had been made to mark the auspicious occasion of the first time a woman would ever rise to such a position – the position of the first citizen of the most powerful country in the world. In fact, Newsweek had already celebrated Clinton as president-elect in their latest issue. But it was not to be.
They say when life throws you lemons, make lemonade. However, like most cliches or advice, it’s easier said than done. This week I have struggled to write, but that’s a familiar struggle for even the most popular writers. Writing works well when you can just be at peace and articulate your thoughts on the subject matter well enough to pen them down. It can be pretty frustrating when you struggle with writer’s block, especially when it’s due to a horrid week or past couple of weeks. The flip side of this nonetheless is that one of the things that makes this vocation the best in the world is the free therapy it offers.
“Our motto is: When they go low, we go high”– Michelle Obama
I had all but concluded the piece for this week when I stumbled on a short clip of Michelle Obama’s Democratic National Convention speech. I immediately rued missing out on watching her give the speech live as I was instantly intrigued by the little I saw on CNN. Of course I had to see the epoch-making speech as soon as possible, for I had heard and read that she stole the show at the Wells Fargo Arena in Philadelphia which had thousands of people, and millions watching all around the world. I saw the full video at a later time and took time out to read the transcribed version of it, and to say I wasn’t disappointed would be a huge understatement.
I am not a life coach. As a matter of fact, I have a problem with that title, as I find it hard to accept that anyone person has all the answers to the issues of life. I also believe what makes the journey of life intriguing are the uncertainties that lurk at every twist and turn. Nevertheless, it’s amazing how we come to better understanding of ourselves (and our environment) as we grow older. As we ought to. The idea behind growing older should not just be about advancing in age, but the ability to harness all our experiences, observations and knowledge into making our lives a wholesome one. As we try to make sense of the conundrum called life, I believe we must reach certain points on our journey, some of which I’ll elucidate below: