I am that woman who has known complete happiness at some point in my adult life but those fleeting moments of bliss wouldn’t last for long without bringing the disturbing part of the harsh realities of life, of sadness and worry. I guess no one ever has it completely rosy. That’s what makes the world imperfect.
In a little over three decades, life has been some sort of topsy turvy, some times good and sometimes bad. Truly, life is in seasons. And the earlier we start to understand the seasons in life the better. The older you get, the more familiar you become with the seasonal changes that life puts on your laps unwittingly. You become familiar with the fact that the things you cherish and desire in life won’t always come to you. Then, you get to a point where you decide not to let life’s disappoinment in love, family and career cage you or reduce you to an emotional recluse.
After three decades, you develop the sense to stay happy on top of every situation. At that point, you can no longer lie to yourself. If you are a real and determined person, you stop living the rest of your life based on people’s thoughts or traditional man made values or ideas. This is because you have lived that way for almost thirty years and you have seen the folly of it.
After three decades, you suddenly wake up and feel life has passed you in a hurry. So those things you didn’t do, those places you never cared to visit, the spontaneity of life you never enjoyed, the skill you didn’t learn when you had the time, you begin to hurriedly pursue them. You realise that only very few things bring real happiness in life. You realise how fleeting life is and you become more deliberate in your actions.
I was born a little over three decades ago, grew up reading novels and magazines because my father loved to read magazines. So I picked them after him. I spent so many alone times with my head buried in books I borrowed from nearby library owned by a NGO or old novels I dug from the book shelve at home. Life was just normal, nothing out of the ordinary.
Then, the demands of being a woman came. The awareness of being matured, of budding breasts, of changing hip lines. It came with a bit of shyness, of self awareness. I guess this is the most challenging phase of physical maturity for a woman apart from the choice of career and a spouse.
In terms of career,it took me almost three decades to realise what I really wanted to be:A WRITER. I felt it didn’t sound good. I felt it wasn’t a profession others would love to hear. Who introduces themselve as a Creative Writer for crying out loud. So I pursued other passion in the sciences without any fulfilment. I woke up and went to work sad. However, I had won my first writing competition as a starry eyed fourteen year old in SS1 in an essay competition organised by the Civil Liberties Organization on Child Labour in Nigeria. I came first in the southwest. Yet, I nursed the dream of becoming a Petroleum Engineer just because it sounded right and it spoke money. Those were the years when oil was the big thing in Nigeria.
Life disappointed me. I couldn’t gain admission until three years later.And when I did, It was for a diploma programme in Science Laboratory Technology. Through direct entry, I later went on to study Environmental Biology while still writing and winning other laurels. I later took a second degree in International affairs.
I woke up many days feeling unfulfilled until I went back to my passion. I started my blog through wordpress in 2012. I became happy. I felt I had achieved something. And when I moved to a self hosted site, yetundeolasiyan.com on March 1, I was giddy with excitement. It felt like I just achieved a major milestone.
Life hasn’t been fair to me. In reality, it hasn’t really been fair to most people. But in three decades, here is what I have learnt
1. To let go quickly and move on happily because if you remain there, life will pass you by before you realise it.
2. That happiness in life isn’t tied to a person nor fulfilment to material things; how liberating this is. I thought I had to be with a certain person or my family or in a certain job to be happy. But each time I achieved any of those lofty ambitions or crossed any of those milestones I held dear, the moment passes swiftly and it doesn’t really hold anything for me.
3. That man wasn’t created to exist outside God. I have come to realise that there is a God that controls the universe. Things don’t just happen, life didn’t just come to be. The earlier you understand him, the easier the complexities of life become.
4. Forgiveness prolongs good health and a happy life: I went through life with so much excess baggage,storing issues in my life and feeling sorry for myself. Rather, I forgive quickly and move on and life has got healthier for me.
5. Everything will always make sense at some point; it may look senseless that you have to be jobless for five years or that you had to drop out of college at a point or you were denied visa to pursue your dreams so many times. But I tell you, it will definitely make sense. The universe has a way of rearranging those puzzles. The answer will come. The purpose may not be clear but all things will yet work together for your good. So stop wondering why you are single or broke at 30.
6. Personal losses will come; be prepared for it. Life has taught me that nothing lasts forever. At some point, you may lose the people close to you. Some may simply walk away and some you will lose in death. I am still grieving the death of my mother. The pain is raw every single day. It makes me see life as vanity, as fleeting. I don’t hold on to life as seriously as before. Prepare your heart that nothing or no human being last forever, not even your love interest. Learn to live with your losses.
7. Your heart may get bruised, run over but that isn’t the end of your story. After three decades, you may have good and bitter love stories to tell…or not. Remain sane, no matter what you’ve been through.
I am still a writer today while I pursue other passions. I am happy not because I have everything exactly the way I want it but because happiness is a choice. I am happy to be a writer. I am happy to have discovered my purpose.
First published on bellanaija.com