What have you achieved?
I was in the car twentieth of this month. It was a Tuesday and I was returning home from church with a woman I love and respect so much – Mrs. A.
I sat in the passenger seat as she drove me and another church member home. Not quite far from church, we saw a thick black smoke go up in the sky. It was already 8 PM and I was surprised she could make out the black smoke amidst the dark clouds in the sky.
I made a comment on how our earth atmosphere is damaged, global warming and the depletion of ozone layer.
She corroborated my short speech saying the world would go extinct if we keep using it the way we do.
“Why are industries even here? This place is supposed to be a residential area.”
She shook her head. “No, it is not a residential area. People have come to build their houses in the industrialized area. I really don’t know why the government will allow it. In 2001 there was a devastating incident that happened in Nigeria. How old were you then?”
“I was em…em… I was nine in 1999.”
“That’s nineteen years ago? Wow! So you are not as young as you look. You must be 28 now.”
“I will be… I will be 28 this Saturday.” I replied stuttering. I was amazed at how fast she could calculate my age because I have never been a good arithmetic student. Doing mental sums or subtraction is almost impossible for me, especially when big numbers as 1999 and 2018 are involved.
“You look so small, don’t worry, you will get bigger. I was just like you when I got married. Why are you not married yet? Who wants to marry you? Who is the man?” She asked rushing them all at me.
I felt a bit swamped and attacked. I was speechless. Being the kind of person she is, she didn’t wait for an answer. She just continued to talk.
“Well, I also married at 28 and people always felt he was years older but he was just a year older. Anyone who tried to tell him he married a minor, he was quick to set them straight on it.”
The conversation didn’t end there but when I got home I began to think about the question. “Why are you not married?”
Then I began to speak to myself.
1. I can’t marry someone with a conflicting faith.
2. I can’t marry a divorced person.
3. I can’t marry a man who is not yet financially stable to start a home.
4. I can’t marry a man who wants to have nothing to do with my writing career.
5. I can’t marry a man who wants to dump me as a slave for his parents while he goes somewhere else to work.
6. I can’t marry someone who is selfish with his money.
These are the men I have met so far. In spite of the mad rush to marry around me, I won’t marry any of the above mentioned. Oh yes, lest I forget I must marry for love. Love is not the only thing I seek though.
A Writer’s Life asked a question and I’ve thought hard about it.
“What are you proud of? What is your biggest accomplishment so far?”
I couldn’t point to anything I have achieved so far. Maybe I didn’t know how to measure my success. It was clear to me that I have been measuring my success by other people success.
I have questioned my being a writer than anyone would have. I have measured my being a good writer by the number of books I have not yet published and since I am yet to publish one book, I felt like I was failing.
Second, I have unconsciously measured my life by my marital status. I have been without a stable boyfriend/fiancé for about two years. I have measured my life by that too. I fall short too.
Third, I have measured my life by the number of physical friends. I don’t have any physical friend. You know those ones you hang out with, go partying or go to the movies with? Friends whose homes and arms are always opened? Yeah, those ones are lacking. All the excuses have been from my end. If I don’t have transport fare, then I must be too busy. In this too I have failed.
Hence, when I saw the question, I told myself “Booky, you have nothing to be proud of. You have achieved nothing.”
This morning, I came to the realization that
1. I care for my friends and family.
2. I teach well and also allow my pupils to express themselves.
3. I am working tirelessly on a book project.
4. I am grateful for life.
5. I am thankful for a supportive family.
6. I am capable of empathizing with people who have been through one or two social vice(s).
7. I appreciate my Facebook and WhatsApp friends who make me feel happy.
8. Yesterday, I finally met with a friend, Angie. It was great seeing her again after two years and five months.
8. I am living. My friend Temitoria wrote a short poem for me. It is about living.
“You have the power to get the clock ticking.
Can you hear it?
The sound of your heart beating to survive.
Can you feel it?
Create moments in motions peculiar to you.
With every breathe you draw – Become.
That’s what living is about.”
It is the beginning of a new year. Twenty-eight doors down, many more to go, if God wills. It is a new dawn and I will live to the fullest. I will not be pulled back or dragged down. With the help of God, family and friends I will move on to greater height, achieve more, conquer the giants and gain lost grounds.
Happy Birthday to Booky Glover!