Five years ago, my company threw a party in honour of my 30th birthday. Family, friends, colleagues and my then-fiancee-now-wife, were present. It was a buzz of great things to come. Two years later, a year filled with good times, I started noticing changes I didn’t want to admit to myself. For this reflection, I’ll focus on four attitudes that are changing my life.
I had an itch around my eyes. I was advised to see an ophthalmologist, but I declined. It got worse, so bad, that I had to eventually agree, schedule an appointment and make it in time to see one. The doctor diagnosed something foreign to me. Something that I never saw myself buying into; that I needed glasses.
“Mr Oluseun, please show up in a few weeks to pick up your prescribed glasses. It could get worse but glasses would help,” she had said.
Me? Glasses? I bolted.
Fast forward to a few months ago. I woke up with something akin to a heap of sand packed in my eyes, it had mucus piling up around the pupil and whenever my eyes came in contact with direct light, severe pains shot through my nerves. Thanks to Google, I diagnosed my eyes with a case of severe bacterial infection. When I couldn’t stand my self-prescription, I had no choice but to call the same doctor, again. She confirmed my self-diagnosis.
“Mr Oluseun, you have an eye infection. I strongly recommend that you get glasses this time around.”
I smiled and nodded as every docile patient would. She gave me a pick-up date and I went home wondering if I could accept the diagnosis as my new normal. Movie subtitles were getting blurry, focusing on my laptop screen caused me to feel dizzy and disoriented, my productivity was getting affected. Yesterday, I was called to pick up my glasses. I made no hesitation this time because I’m a testifier that you should listen to doctors. God speaks through them.
In addition to listening, I see it all on social media. I mean from Damilola, Joachim to Oga Waziri on that quick run in amazing minutes, with the sweat dripping all around, muscles and heart exercised, I see them all. Put me on the same scale to run 20m, I would end up heaving like Usain Bolt, smashing the 100m dash. And food? I love my food. I love them properly cooked and preferably prepared with a side dish of “ogufe and inu eran”. Man is cautioned to watch his food lest it becomes his poison.
Such is life. Even the Bible tells us in 1st Timothy 4:18, “… for bodily exercise profiteth little …”, the little is actually great. Recently, I started a 2km walk in the evening. It takes me around 27 mins to complete. Baby steps? It’s the spirit of the times. All I need to wear is the discipline that answers donors’ email in quick, doing more exercise and physical activities.
I have to admit the pandemic has dealt with me. I mean, I haven’t dashed into another continent for seven straight months. That’s a luxury I’ve not had since 2014! I might not admit it in person, but I’ve come to realize that I became addicted to junketing. I miss junketing — rushing to catch a flight, hopping on to planes, checking-in to hotels, seeing new horizons, chattering in conferences. I’m flabbergasted that my passport is gathering dust, that the pages are not racking up stamps, or being cross-checked by an immigration officer. Here I am, however, locked down with my favourite people — my amazing Oluwaseun, my interesting Wura, my incredible Ire and my ever excited Adesuwa. When Pastor Sam Adeyemi said the theme for this year was “rest”, I am sure a lot of folks like me did not get it. Now the universe has forced us to do it, I am a testament that a man can do with some rest.
If I put my mind to it, I can make a craft out of cracking people up. My confidants know there’s a lot of comedy within me. I love laughing. I enjoy making people laugh. I found out early this year that there are things beyond our strength that intend stealing our joy. Finding amusement in the ropes of life is abiding grace.
I have become a silent enthusiast of rising social media comedians, the likes of Tao, Mr. Macaroni, Shaggy and so on. There’s also the banter on social media that keeps me chuckling. That reinforces my belief; even in the face of gloom, may we not lack traces of laughter. If there’s anything that I’m extra grateful for, it is the abundant toothless smile that lights up my excited daughter’s face. She’s a bundle of joy who reminds me that in life’s peaks and valleys, we need to listen, exercise, rest and laugh.
The last five years have been good to me, not without the belief that things don’t “happen to us”, but that they “happen for us”. There are many challenges and decisions to make in life. I continuously mutter a prayer for everyone around me — not to be tested beyond our faith and abilities. There is a song- Whole Heart by Hillsong — with lyrics that hold true. In heaps of sadness or when we leap up for a new day, dazzled by a new achievement, nothing has a hold on us, because Grace — the unmerited favour from God — holds the ground. From start to finish, my mother and my excited daughter’s name, which by no means is a coincidence, constantly reminds me — it has always been Grace.