by Lekan Olanrewaju
Is it really as hard as it seems?
“And I hope self-actualisation is all I need to be alright.
And though I’m not in a hurry, I sometimes think that there’s really not enough time to be… things”
I’m not quite sure what it is with Isaiah. It’s either he has some inexplicable ability to figure out exactly how to word my thoughts, (which would be cool while being admittedly creepy,) or he deliberately says what he thinks I need to hear (in which case he’d be right 90% of the time.) Either way the above quote was his response two nights ago when I sent him a message complaining. I tend to do that — the random messaging with thoughts and questions, most of them of a nature that would be termed “existential.” I imagine it must get annoying, but none of my friends ever complain. Which must mean I’m a good person? If they’re willing to endure it. I digress. I tend to do that. I tend to do a great many things, actually.
This time it (my messaging/thinking/complaining) was about the burdens of exceptionality and what I consider to be it’s borderline inherent unattainability in Lagos.
Growing older has come to be an un-figure-out-able blend of terrifying and exciting, made all the worse by my awareness of how irrational it all is. All I feel like I’m running out of time. It’s a feeling that’s plagued me for as long as I can remember. I’ve come to learn it’s a function not just of ambition, of wanting to do a great many things with one’s life, but of the knowledge that all of those things, and more, are possible. But the knowledge of that doesn’t make it go away. It only makes it worse. Knowledge has a tendency to do that, complicate things.
Lagos is weird. Everyone appears to be struggling to be great but the city itself seems to want less than that from people. I suppose that makes things better — the fact that this mythical “greatness” isn’t that widespread. It’s easier to stand out when everything else is “ordinary.” But is exceptionality simply a function of comparison to its surroundings? I don’t know. And I’m not sure I have enough time to find out. Life moves so fucking fast.
Suffice it to say that possession of a crystal-clear idea of what you want from life only makes it that much harder to reach for it. Perhaps that quote is true, about people being frightened of being powerful beyond measure. Because being aware of your own power equals being aware of how easy it is not to live up to it.
What I’m really trying to say it, life is hard. The big stuff is easy. Odd, isn’t it? But I find that I have very little to worry about when I think about the major things; where I want to be, etc. It’s the small stuff in-between that’s difficult. Like traffic in Lagos. Or maybe not quite. That is, at the end, something much less than small. But then, it’s the really, really tiny, tiny things that make up the grand scheme, no? So the obvious solution would simply be to focus on the big things at all times, wouldn’t it? That’s hard, too. Frustratingly so.
Lekan is a media professional and enthusiast with a passion for storytelling and building innovative platforms. He has served as Features Editor and Associate Producer with Generation Y!, in addition to working as a screenwriter, with credits including Mnet’s Tinsel and Hotel Majestic, and EbonyLife TV’s Dowry.