I’m at that age where everyone thinks that I have my life figured out; but I know for sure, that a lot of uncertainties and confusion are what I challenge everyday. Some days I conquer, and some other days, well, I can’t say that I’m conquered. Never! The Nigerian in me and the Christianity in me will never allow me to accept that I have ever been conquered any day. So I affirm that all the days, I am the conqueror! Hahahahaha.
But what do we conquer? Why are these challenges that make up everyday living? And how are we deeply immersed in living for the future rather than the moment? This is what I have been reflecting on for some time now. Yeah, I asked myself these questions. To give it context, I was with a friend, taking a walk down the alleys of Strasbourg in France. Random thoughts, whispers and discussion. Of course, you can’t be walking through La Petite France, or standing in front of Cathédrale Notre Dame de Strasbourg without reminiscing. According to the history written by Europeans, at 142 metres (466 feet), Strasbourg Cathedral was the world's tallest building from 1647 to 1874 (227 years). This is enough reason to explain why thinking of the past and future was part of our engagement during this walk.
Back to my story, we wondered, why do we save, plan, marry, give birth to children and never stop the unending pursuit? Then we concluded that Will Smith’s movie title answered it all – ‘In Pursuit of Happiness.’ Why can’t we be happy living for the moment? And do we truly find happiness when we hit our goals? Maybe yes, just that short-lived happiness that motivates you to start the next pursuit. I don’t have the answers you want, and I don’t claim to be trying to provide any. Why do we work so hard? To what end? Why are all moments of our happiness so short that it only gives us the courage to start another quest? Think of how wars change history, and more specifically, think of how each life becomes less in value, or one life more valuable than the other in these times. Well, these questions have been here for ages and the church is doing great work trying to provide these answers, and I encourage you to visit one.
There is a unique case of fellow Nigerians, especially those in the diaspora. Of recent, I have traveled a lot; all around Europe on funded work engagements that allow me to meet diverse groups of persons – the intelligent, humane and otherwise. I think I have some experiences to compare – and I authoritatively declare that Nigerians, particularly those of Igbo origin are special breeds of humans. Then I wonder, why will an Igbo person work everyday in Europe, day and night, toiling, gathering money and saving 90% of these earnings (if possible, of course). There is no rest, absolutely none. At much, this individual will travel back to Igbo land and erect a mansion he does not live in, have a vacation for a month (after 5 years) and head back to gather more money. And then, death comes, no escape! Well, I agree that there is no absolute or perfect way to perceive these things. We must look at the other lens. Maybe, the lens of prestige, the lens of ego, the lens of esteem and the lens of future exigencies. And importantly, the lens of legacy and progression of the human race.
While I put up plans for my future happiness, which I also encourage you to – since there is no exact route to this happiness; I particularly encourage you to remember to live today. We often tend to forget. We worry, we cry and we complain. Whenever we feel that an opportunity missed equals perfect future happiness lost, we assumed we are conquered. This may not be true. I want you to find a moment, a minute, an hour within the 24hours of everyday to live just for you – live for yourself, not for your job and certainly not for assumed expectations of others. Living for yourself could also mean care for others, such positive care that makes our world a better place. This is why I also want to ask for forgiveness from those who I have offended in my 27years on earth. I may not know that I did. It is important to me that you forgive. But more importantly to myself, I want to ask for forgiveness from ‘me’ for not loving me enough all these years.
All my life, I have never called for a gathering in honour of my birthday. This is my first, and I am shy. Lol. But there is something unique about the month of April for me. I have come to realize that every April, I receive a success story, I receive at least one happiness manufacturing news. As I write, I have received two. I am happy, and I wish the feeling does not go away. However, it will go, so I want to keep it, and I want to share it. This is why I am hosting my first birthday party. But this will not be like a party you know or are used to, rather it will be a moment of connection and reconnection of the body, mind and soul and reflection into what the future holds – definitely, in a unique way that encourages us to find happiness for the moment, and happiness for the future.
I want us to listen to selected music, starting with primordial sound and acts that will allow a moment of thanksgiving, and then drink wine. Dance, if you may!