Unfortunately I wasn’t consoled. I’ve been driven from a young age, and being successful in whatever field I chose was non-negotiable.
When I was contacted by YNaija to be part of the 30 days, 30 voices series, I had no idea what to write about. I tried writing about different issues, but for some odd reason the article was just not coming together. The apprehension of writing an ‘appropriate’ article for YNaija got the better of me, and writer’s block hit me hard. This apprehension combined with a few uber busy weeks work-wise left me staring at a blank screen each time I started to write.
To be honest, I was also feeling quite down. You see my birthday was coming up, and every year without fail as my birthday approaches, I meditate on what I set out to do this time last year, and if I had achieved these goals or not. This year wasn’t good. I’m my own worst critic, so not meeting up with certain goals I set was quite disheartening and gradually that awful ‘inadequate feeling’ crept in.
The fact that it was my 3rd year back in Lagos added a lot of pressure to my ‘my annual pre-birthday goal review’. The business idea I hadn’t finalized yet, the charity project that hadn’t quite come together, my marriage to Mr As-Close-To-Perfect-As-Possible, kids etc…all of these were on my ‘unachieved list’ and the list mocked me. Friends and family members noticed my sullen mood, and tried to cheer me up because ‘my special day was coming’. It didn’t work.
I was constantly staying up till about 4am berating myself and trying to figure out exactly when I lost focus. The few people I really confided in thought I was overreacting, and tried to console me by highlighting the things I had achieved. My friend lovingly reminded me of the achievements that weren’t on my to-do-list, but were still notable nonetheless. My sister went on to tell me how proud she was of what I had achieved in the 3 years I’d spent in Lagos. I had entered a new industry, took on a role that was completely new to me, and, had done well enough to be an established name in the Nigerian media/entertainment industry.
Unfortunately I wasn’t consoled. I’ve been driven from a young age, and being successful in whatever field I chose was non-negotiable. Experience taught me that success comes about when you identify your goals, carefully lay out the steps to achieve these goals and stay focused.
Later that night, I began reflecting on what my friend and sister had told me, and I experienced somewhat of a revelation. I don’t know how it came into my mind, but I found myself mulling over this question: ‘why do you focus so much on what you don’t have, but don’t spend enough time appreciating what you do have?’ Obviously not a new question, but it hit me hard for some odd reason that night. Here I was making myself depressed obsessing over the things I don’t have, and haven’t achieved, yet I’d barely thought about what I do have and the goals I have achieved.
I mentally went through my ‘have/have achieved list’, and realized how I take them for granted. I have a great family, loving friends, good health (I had surgery earlier in the year and recovered very well and quickly –many people aren’t that lucky) an exciting career, a roof over my head, a little change in my pocket and lots more. Like many, I say my prayers and will thank God for a new day/week, but do we really mean it?
After the Dana airplane crash in June, I found myself thinking a lot about the passengers on the plane. I didn’t know any of them, but I imagined there were one or two passengers that were around my age and possibly just like me were consumed by that need to achieve certain goals. Maybe even thinking about those ‘outstanding goals’ on the flight, not knowing that their journey on this earth would all be over very soon.
All of this forced me to re-evaluate my outlook on life, and I felt a need to share (not preach) this with others. I’m still driven and feel I have a lot to achieve, but I also realize it’s very important to acknowledge and truly appreciate what you do have. So now when I wake up, I try to take a moment or so to appreciate the enormity of what I’ve been given – a brand new day which so many people aren’t given. I also make a point to let my loved ones know I appreciate them. I randomly text my mum with a message that says ‘Thank you for everything you do for me’. Quite a few people I know have lost a parent within the last few months or so, and I am very thankful that I still have both of my parents.
‘Be thankful in all circumstances’ the good books says, not the easiest thing to do I know, but something I now feel is an absolute necessity for me.
About the author: Toolz is an award winning on-air personality; currently the host of the Midday show with Toolz on the Beat 99.9FM on weekdays. She is also the host of the Juice on Ndani TV – a GTBank initiative. You can follow her on www.twitter.com/ToolzO
Op-ed pieces and contributions are the opinions of the writers only and do not represent the opinions of Y!/YNaija.