In the part of the world I live, 40%of the population which translates to more than 80 million people live below the poverty line. But that’s not all, many of those who are fortunate to not fall within this bracket are only marginally doing better. One chronic illness and they are down to the dreaded penury group. Little wonder we are all about what to eat, how to survive, how to stay afloat amid the unending challenges that plague citizens of a consumer nation. Lofty ambitions are a luxury; in Nigeria, it’s all about being able to afford basic living expenses and keeping the kids in school.
The other day, my cousin and I were discussing music and he asked me a question that comes up quite often among Nigerian music lovers. One that centred around two of the biggest artistes in the country and whose music I preferred. I gave my answer. Told him I was more inclined towards the one who had transcended the desire to make hits for the fans and now did music he loved and had grown into. It didn’t matter that he once appealed to the masses too. He had now evolved and his fans would have to come to terms with this evolution.
As a child, I was desperate to grow up and start doing adult things. And by adult things, I mean having my own money and make my own decisions. I thought adults were the luckiest people on the planet. They could come and go as they pleased, nobody could question them on how they spent their money, and the best one—they did not get spanked. How cool was that? Those were my thoughts as a kid. By my judgement, childhood was all about people telling you what to do, and that sucked. Until I grew up,
They are not mutually exclusive. Not by any stretch. Yet, it’s a wonder how some of the greatest critics have nothing much going for them by way of achievements. I have always said I’d rather be the one doing something (even if mediocre) others get a chance to criticise rather than be the one who’s always on the lookout for the mistakes of others. It makes sense to carry out even the most mundane tasks with unfettered gusto. It makes sense because the attitude and diligence with which we execute the basest of tasks is a reflection of how well we’d do if we took up more complex assignments.
I stumbled upon an interesting concept while reading an article on Medium. The writer, while giving tips for professional writers, advised that they try to identify their natural habitat when it comes to writing. She gave an example of A list Hollywood stars who have distinguished themselves by playing roles that only they could have given the best expression to. For instance, there’s a reason Steve Martin would excel far more in a comedy role than he would playing a superhero. In the same way, Wesley Snipes’ inimitable interpretation when he dons the hat of a villain is testament to his suitability for the character.
The world is in a state of flux. The sweeping feeling is that of anxiety and confusion. And this time around, the apprehension is not an exclusive lot of a few or some far-flung corner of the universe. No. COVID-19 has distributed and ensconced itself in a way that has continued to confound even the sceptics. One day we were living our lives, going about our businesses with gusto or indifference or lethargy, oblivious of what was around the corner. The next, a strange disease showed up and chucked all our best-laid plans in the bin.
Back in school, I had friends who always had to be in a romantic relationship. Once their lover broke up with them or they had to do the same thing for some reason, they didn’t know what else to do with themselves, so they said “yes” to the next guy who showed interest. Sometimes, it was because they were wary of appearing undesirable to the opposite sex in an environment where it was the fashionable thing to be coupled up. The pressure to be seen as wanted was real and not everyone could withstand it. Most of the time, however, it was the fear of being alone.
I call 2019 the mixed bag year. It was a year ladened with a lot of twist and turns; a roller coaster run of days–one minute I would be leading my normal life and minding my business–the next, I would be swooning from yet another dart life throws at me. With the happenings this year, I have become further convinced that life never really gets easier, we just get tougher. And so in that spirit, and in the spirit of my yearly tradition, I’ll be sharing five lessons 2019 taught me. I hope it’s helpful to someone out there.
If it were a football match, it’d be regarded as a haul. A return of four statuettes in any awards ceremony is a remarkable feat anywhere in the world. Like a sudden storm on a sunny day, Teni’s sweep of many coveted categories at The Headies came as a surprise. She has had a good year, but not even the bookies envisaged her outstanding success at the event. For someone who chose to jettison the script for female artistes, her wins and continued rise to becoming a force to acknowledge in an ultra competitive industry holds a few lessons for the discerning mind.