Eighty and bitter

by Damola Morenikeji

Yesterday, as I laid on the bed, after meditating, I started thinking of the person I am becoming.

I caught myself in this thought and stopped. I had done this before; defining what I want, who I want to be, and what gifts I want to share with the world with love and care and a cheerful heart at due seasons.

“I needed to also write who I don’t want to be,” I reasoned.

I don’t want to be that man, who at eighty is old, broken and bitter. I don’t want to be that person who shrinks away from his inner depth in fear. Or that person who breeds contempt, nurses eternal grievances or shuts his heart to the world – and himself.

I don’t want to be the human who has a list of things that he didn’t do because he entertained fear of the unknown, and of scorn and of failure. Or the human who has an idea of what a secured ego is, and strives tirelessly to feed the needs of this ego ideal.

I don’t want to be that human who chooses self-preoccupation over the other things that matter; deep-rooted relationships, trustworthy communities and flourishing societies. I don’t want to be too busy to love, too distracted to listen, too entitled to practice the trio of wonder, and gratitude and forgiveness, or too overwhelmed with motion to embrace stillness.

And when I falter, as human beings do, I don’t want to be the human who ignores his frailties or doesn’t empathize with himself, forgive himself and learn from that and every experience.

I don’t need to be that human who waits till he is eighty to assess the things above when he can do that today, and now. Neither should you.

You know what you want. How about what you don’t want?

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Damola Morenikeji is Chief Operating Officer at Joy, Inc., a benefit corporation equipping young Africans with happiness and resilience skills, and building a new generation of happier and flourishing young Africans. 

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