Last year was capricious for me. In 2012, I grew more short beards. I flossed with more Sensodyne paste. I ate in a few rustic cafeterias. James Lisandro even got many spam mails in his inbox. More seriously, I set various goals, achieved most of them before August 9 and revised the irrelevant desires and whatnots before the arrival of December 1. With the guidance of a dynamic boss (the kind that never says “die”), I attempted tough tasks and set a better record professionally. It was a year garnished with interesting challenges that ranged from the provision of free service to humanity to the aching realisation of undiluted bachelorhood. I worked for the government as an attaché in a reputable multinational company and worked with people from various cultural backgrounds again. I passionately served the poor in the rich community to which I was assigned through several social works. Then, I found myself in the midst of a persistently degrading marital relationship. Of course, I was not married to anyone; I was squatting with a wonderful couple in a choice portion of the vast Island in Lagos. I learnt a lot from their lives. Many hidden truths were revealed and the badness of a good man I fanned was made bare. Though no one is perfect, when a man says, “I cannot do without clubbing every weekend, womanising and drinking alcohol” and he means it, how do you advise the wife with whom he’s supposed to trust God for an issue to stay put at countdown to menopause? When I put myself in her shoes, there was nothing to say. Nothing. Nothing but, “Have some faith.” Faith here means great faith and the last time I saw its kind, I was reading the incredible Holy Bible.
Last year, my thoughts changed. I thought about the past and present more than the future. I thought about my friends and the people I really want to help. I considered those I wished to help but could not help because I had not even helped myself beyond the level of helplessness. I thought positively and took many unexpected risks. I explored all good options until I became a man with no option; a bloke chocked with one choice. I turned a job applicant and wrote several job tests. I attended interviews to the point of meeting Sahara Energy’s Group CEO and his highly-fascinated co-directors at a final stage interview. The jollof rice served at their staff canteen reminded me of Kehinde Morakinyo’s Christmas delicacies. But it did not keep us together. Sahara and I had to part ways for reasons less known to me. I wrote more tests. I worked free at the expense of my corper’s savings and beyond regular office hours. I did not work alone. I worked with another workaholic; a friend like a brother. Then, one day, I read Richard Temple’s book on Work and adjusted my demeanour to free work. I took more tests and almost blamed myself for not pursuing the offer I almost got before NYSC. At a point, I thought about heaven and wondered why the earth still exists. But it was all good. It all culminated into the learning process that opened my eyes to my own blindness. I realised that I was not suffering. In fact, I have never suffered. If you have met some of the people I met, you’ll probably think likewise. Who are they? The expensively wretched. The highly less privileged. The very old proletarians and really young drudges.
I was adventurous in 2012. To discover what they do at such gatherings, I honoured an invite to an exclusive beach party where my flash drive was pilfered, even when I did not stay beyond 6pm. Perhaps, seeing that I did not do the things other partyers did, some of the guys that kept staring at me finally decided to unveil my hidden personality while I was away from the bamboo house, testing the rolling waves at shore. They did not steal the golden wristwatch mom gave me when I clocked 21. Instead, they took a USB stick. Poor them, they couldn’t have found more than a few office spreadsheets and some published articles in it. Last year, I set a new record by driving two great friends from Lagos to Ekiti state in a Land Rover and set another one by igniting the driving potential of a friend who now plies some of our most dangerous roads courageously, travelling across the South-West like an experienced Ekenedilichukwu bus driver. But, I wasted the money I did not have in 2012. I did many right things wrongly and didn’t do the wrong things rightly. But since I did many things, I still had an impressive record of good deeds. I was wonderfully disappointed by many people. To worsen it, I fell in love with the right person at the wrong time (but lucky me, it was saved by grace and mercy). Yet, God did not abandon me. I survived an accident in August; a day after I had what some celebrants call their silver jubilee. I praised God outside for about 3 hours in the afternoon on my birthday and overcame what could have been a fatal accident the next morning. After the incident, I could not walk straight. But to His glory, I travelled home within an hour and was in church three days after. No one could have guessed that I survived an accident. I shuttled between Lagos and Ibadan in October and resumed on a new job in November. In December, another brother-friend transported me and my heavy luggage to Ibadan. Christmas time was a reunion with childhood friends and Miss Pretty. I used my belief on December 31 with the highest hope that it will bring me a testimony this year. But that old year ended and it’s a new year now. I’m back at the company where we sell bandwidth and my job is to troubleshoot, monitor, compute data and most importantly, communicate. I have counted my troubles or challenges or goals this year and they are surmountable.
Do you think you have troubles? Well, wait till you see what some people call trouble; it looks like having a mixture of AIDS & SARS and living at the boy’s quarters in hell fire. Are you upset because you have meagre savings, wait; let me introduce you to people who have no livelihood. Do you wish you could do more, come; let’s go the cemetery and read many epitaphs. Maybe like me, you didn’t achieve all your goals last year. Well, this year is a fresh sheet. Ink your plans through positive actions. If you’re thinking, “What if I don’t?” Then I am asking you, “What if you could but you don’t try?” Even if it does not depend on you solely, do your part to the best of your ability and leave the rest to God. 2012 came with its troubles and you survived. 2013 will come with more challenges that you ought to overcome. For instance, last year, I procrastinated about putting a chapbook together. This year, it will be published. Period!
Reader, may 2013 be much better for you than 2012. May it bring you so many good surprises and stimulate your heart to forget your troubles and focus on new possibilities. May you grow in faith and achieve more for others and yourself. Write down the things you want to do this year in a book today and review them every month from January till December. If you’re faithful at it, you’ll be amazed at what you can do. So, what are you waiting for? On your mark. Get your pen & journal set. Go! Happy New Year!
A younger friend sent a text containing a prayer that God should lead me into the great and mighty plans He has for me this year. I was startled. What great and mighty plans? Before I read her text, I had no goals. But after reading her words, the New Year goals emerged. If you don’t have a place you want to go, then you’re going nowhere in 2013. Wake up!