Nobody Cares: Lessons from 2017.
An honest look at the sort of year I had, and some of the things I learned.
To be honest, I can’t remember much about how 2017 began. It’s all a muddled blur. I can’t even remember what I did on my birthday, January 10th. What was it? A barbecue? A hangout at the beach? Did I stay in and watch movies? Maybe later it will come to me, but right now, I just cannot remember. Too much happened too fast and things have run together, the details smudged with the haste and carelessness of an impressionist painting. I can look at it and get a sense of what happened here and how I felt, but when I lean in and peer to discern the details, everything falls away.
What I do remember is that 2017 was a year of extremes- for everyone. It was a roller coaster of tragedy, comedy and pure nonsense. Too much happening all the time. Loud, brash, and impossible to ignore.
And so I’m writing this down to remember what happened to me. Because a year can come and go like nothing happened in it, when in reality, everything did.
Let’s start with the good stuff.
Everybody raves about the person they love. But holy fuck, this girl held shit down. I look back on my life and can see it would have been incredibly less colorful, meaningful, and full without her. It’s HARD to find someone who has your back and looks gorgeous while doing it. If this year taught me anything, it was to have unflinching respect for this woman. She reached all the points where I would have broken down and flung my arms up in defeat, and just kept going. What a waste of time- the moments I did not spend showing her how much I appreciate how awesome she is. What a waste of time.
I kicked ass. Shit came flying at me fast and somehow I just kept going. Tinsel. Jemeji. MTV Shuga 6. And then the beast that was Hustle. Working as the Head Writer on that show with no Script Editor or Story Editor was insane. I bore down and worked hard and pulled through. I was fucking awesome. and I’m finishing the year completely burned out- writing a page is an uphill climb through rock and mud.
But I have this. This bright spot in my memory. I did good.
I have a daughter now. She came along with anxiety and apprehension and the constant, gnawing awareness that a thousand things could go wrong. But the headline is: I have a beautiful daughter.
It’s both terrifying and exhilarating to know that I will play a part in shaping this life.
Here are the three things this experience has taught me.
- I absolutely abhor adults doing baby talk. (The baby cannot understand what you’re saying, so how about making some sense while you’re at it?)
- I really really love sleep and
- It is possible and perfectly alright to be miserable and elated at the same time. I’ve found myself swinging between these two extremes as the sleepless nights pile on and the room in my heart for this little girl increases. Fatherhood is many things, and scary is one of them.
2017, I lost my faith in God. It wasn’t something I set out to do. It wasn’t something that happened to me either. It was the product of fearless and honest introspection. I’d always taken it for a fact that He existed and He was who the Bible said, but all it took was one question and everything came tumbling down. It was a painful process, scary and downright disconcerting. It felt like the foundations of my life were being removed from under me. Like I was falling into a bottomless pit, untethered, alone.
Here are the things I learned through this process:
- If you have doubts about your religion, and religion is a huge part of your life and culture, for God’s sake shut the hell up and carry on. Unless you can’t, then talk to people you can trust with the news.
- Nigeria does not allow much room for existential crises. It is hard to hold a philosophical argument in your head while constantly trying not to die.
- It’s alright to have questions and doubt whichever God you’ve been brought up to serve. Any God that accepts mindless obedience from his/her followers does not deserve your worship. Any God that is threatened by your questions and doubts is not mighty. Any God who will punish you for honestly pursuing truth with your reason and intellect is not good.
I don’t have the answers yet. Maybe I never will. Maybe God exists and this is all a test of my faith and I will emerge stronger and better for it. Or maybe this is it- I’m doomed to spend the rest of my life a skeptic and agnostic. All I have are questions.
But I know that it is enough to be a decent human being and to be kind to myself and others. It is enough.
Somewhere along the year, I realized I did not like myself. I had this image of a perfect Jason in my head, and I consistently fell short. This Jason had the perfect words, did the right things flawlessly and had only the noblest urges and impulses. I did not live up to him. Never have. And never will.
So I’ve decided it’s okay to just be me. As I am now. Stupid and dense. Clumsy and ungainly. Not the smartest person in the room.
It’s alright. I’m alright.
The universe is big and beautiful, dangerous, indifferent and turbulent. And I was born out of this. But not just born, born a human being. Gifted with reason and empathy with which I may understand and care about things. And not just born a person, but in 200,000 years of humans walking this earth, I was born in this time. And let’s not lie, it’s a fabulous time to be alive.
So being me is a good place to start. Perfect Jason didn’t even make it this far.
Nobody cares. This is the single most liberating thought a mind and in 2017, I got it. I finally got it.
You may think they do.
They may think they do.
But the truth is they care about you only so far as it affects them. They care about you in relation to themselves.
It’s not wrong or right or good or ill. It’s just a fact. No one cares about you, just the same way you don’t care about others.
It sounds terrible, but this is a good thing. It means you do not have to spend your days in crippling fear wondering what others will think of you. They are not thinking of you.
2018 is here, and I am in a full panic. There is a human being, an entire person, trusting me to keep her alive. I have to keep her alive.
I have to get my long delayed dreams running as soon as possible.
I have to find new opportunities and make a ton of money.
I have to keep healthy and love myself and stay sane.
I have to muscle through the burnout and keep working. There is no time.
Right now, 2018, looks impossible.
You know that feeling when you’re walking down the stairs in the dark, and you think you’ve reached the end, but you haven’t and for one sickening moment it seems your falling to your death? That’s how I feel.
So yeah, it’s going to be one impossible ride. I’d like nothing more than to hold time still. I’d take a moment or two to catch my breath. I’d think my thoughts and make sense of things around me. I’d find elusive inner peace.