I’ve had some turning point encounters in my short time on earth; I daresay those encounters are the reason I am what I am today. For example, as a child, getting scalded by oil the day I felt I could taste plantains from the fire behind momma’s back taught me that there is no shortcut to a meal.
Another turning point encounter was in 2007 at the pool side of Premier Hotel in Ibadan where I watched a guy drown (I would later find he was the only child to a widow) because he was diving to impress his girlfriend. Two things amazed me, homeboy couldn’t swim (he was still learning to use his arms in water), and most painful was the fact that the said girlfriend was in the bathroom at the time this son of God decided to display his foolishness. Thanks to a merciful God, he was resuscitated; I enjoyed watching his friends beat him immediately after he was revived. From there I learnt, live your life already! The person you’re falling over yourself to impress is 80 percent of the time not aware that you’re even trying!
You know the ‘children listen to and obey your parents’ scripture? I have a little story around that. So I told my momma a certain banker had called a friend of mine and me to work on and publicize the launch of his book. She seemed excited hearing me go on and on about it, but then she said, ‘get him to sign something binding him to your deal’. Immediately I said, ‘ok mom, but even if he doesn’t, he’s a ‘big’ boy, he’s got integrity (which incidentally was one of the thrusts of his book), he won’t do anything untoward’. Typical momma, she said, ‘ok, if you say so’.
Fast forward eight weeks later and I was on the phone to her, complaining and cursing about how ‘Mr. Integrity’ pulled out on the deal the very day after my friend and I poured out everything (strategies et al) we had that he would need for the launch. Need I say the lesson learnt?
People I’ve met have also shaped my life and my perception of things. Somehow I believe they are the ones that have made for a more rounded, fulfilling life on the one hand, and the millions of stories I have to tell on the other. Some of the meetings have been divine, others….well, not so divine (for lack of a more printable description).
So I’ve always been a book, newspaper, ‘all you can read’ kind of person; at a time in my life I would be content to read dictionaries just for the fun of it. At some point sha, I just lost it. Two men I now hold dear to my heart would tease, implore, force, and even bribe me to read!
With one of them I had to tell a new word I had learnt every day and be able to use it in context, read up on random things from Greek mythology and he still wouldn’t be impressed! It’s almost rare these days to find friends who are more interested in your intellectual/professional development rather than ‘mundane’ things so I’m really grateful for them.
Another thing, however sad that was served as a wakeup call for me, was/is death. From April till October this year, counting the number of friends, friends of friends, and acquaintances that passed on would exceed the digits on both hands. Let’s take a minute in their honor, and in honor of anyone you might have lost this year; may their soul’s rest in peace, amen. I’m getting used to the fact that death is final, means that we must maximize every opportunity we get, be our best every chance we get!
Finally, I daresay I met some really foolish people this year (God forgive me), people who fall into the category of my favorite proverb that when translated means, ‘you’re trying to save a chicken but it insists that it wants to taste death’! I’m thankful for the laughter you brought to my heart by your actions, and for the lessons learnt too.
What else can I say? I’m grateful for you!