There are a plethora of issues that plague adult life: endless bills, the dilemma of decision making, transversing the delicate world of social interaction, and the subtle but no less consequential distraction. Distractions are a real challenge we rarely talk about even as we struggle to stave them off in our daily lives. For the average adult, family and work-life are only the most basic of the forms of distractions they have to contend with. Add unforeseen occurrences and the seemingly external but equally challenging incidents that have become staples of our existence then you’ll agree we have a real plight.
One day you are trying to wrap your mind around the incessant increase in the price of commodities, mentally working out how to conjure the miracle of sticking to your tight household budget; the next, you’re jolted by the news that a young and promising life has been cut short for the “crime” of flippancy. Just as you’re attempting to process that, you are again hit with the news of lynching over some inane argument in—wait for it—the much-vaunted cosmopolitan city of Lagos. This is aside from explosions and kidnappings.
In an alternate world, our politicians jostle to perpetuate themselves in power and could care less that some random Nigerians have lost their lives as a result of extrajudicial killings.
In all of these, you are expected to function as though everything is fine. Ace exams or at least escape a carryover if you are a student; be a stellar employee as a career professional so you do not find yourself in the already saturated unemployment market, and not be found lacking in your responsibilities as a spouse and parent.
One time I got talking with a friend about how exhausting it is trying to find the ever-elusive work-life balance and they said something that has stuck with me ever since. It was along the lines of the reality that things will never really get easier. There will likely not come a time when one would be less busy, especially as a young, ambitious person. The unavoidable transition into adulthood makes sure of that.
These days, I struggle to maintain my writing routine. My responsibilities on the home front have doubled. Throw non-negligibles like faith, health, and career in the mix and you have the perfect recipe for a life of constantly trying to catch your breath.
As we approach the 2023 general elections, there’s little doubt we are in a pivotal period; a time that will determine the future of our nation. It’s why I can understand the calls from a section of the populace for the organisers of the Big Brother Naija reality TV show to shelve it until next year. Their reason—it is a needless distraction in the light of the current mood of the nation—and what’s at stake if we do not get 2023 right.
However, while I share some of their sentiments, I am also aware there will always be a superfluity of distractions. It is like the thorn that accompanies a rose.
The entertainment industry will not cease to operate because elections are around the corner. Award ceremonies will hold, bloggers will not stop amplifying the private details of celebrities’ lives, and we will continue to banter with one another on social media. These events will not take a backseat on account of the political season; the onus is on the electorate to maintain focus despite the repertoire of mundane activities that will continue to exist side-by-side the far more serious ones.
Recall how we managed to watch our favourite TV programmes in the thick of exams and found the right (but sometimes skewed) balance between partying, going to church, and hitting the attendance frequency requirement at school. I think of those days as preparing us for a future when we would have a deluge of activities to juggle even though many of us were unaware of it.
We must come to terms with it: the one who will maintain focus must navigate a world of unending distractions with the expertise of a professional ball juggler.
Whether he chooses to do this via a well-articulated strategy or by simply winging it is a topic for another day.