On Grit, Tenacity and Resilience…

Over a decade ago myself and my childhood friend were reminiscing about the past and she uttered these words ‘This Grown up life is tough’

We hankered after the lack of challenges and responsibilities of our youth.

You see even though we had been raised in Nigeria with my friend having had the opportunity to travel round the world because her father was a diplomat the challenges we faced as children were minuscule….

We had a middle class upbringing, went to great primary schools, what we like to tell ourselves was the best secondary school in Nigeria at the time Queens College, Lagos and the best University 😜 University of Lagos we never had to work to pay our way through any of this…

Holiday jobs and entrepreneurial pursuits in my case were to develop me better as an architect and we had so many university strikes that it gave me and my siblings something to do so even when we went on to make money it was ours to keep…

We never paid for school, never gave our parents money or contributed financially towards raising our siblings.

We both felt unprepared for the challenges life threw our way in my case oftentimes self made 😜 sometimes not…

We did well academically as African parents have no chill when it comes to making their children succeed academically..

For some of us we left our parents houses where we paid no bills for our marital homes…

I now believe that everyone should live independently for some time before committing to marriage…

We lacked some level of tenacity and drive. The hustlers mentality was lacking for us and some of our peers because frankly speaking life had been good and we had been shielded by overprotective parents who had worked their way to the top of their careers…

Don’t get me wrong, poverty was everywhere we looked, even if you lived on the Island as Ikoyi, Victoria Island, Lekki etc are called you still had pockets of slums, you had children begging on the streets and trading their wares…

We have seen poverty up close in the lives of family members and friends, we have heard of wars, experienced armed robbers, sometimes like in my case having a gun pointed at my head.

We lost a year in University as our professors were sticking over poor salaries, we had student demonstrations, knew of cult members who died violently. We also heard of unreported rapes in University etc etc

We all have relatives who struggled financially and Africa is so communal that we were in and out of each other’s homes …

But for a small segment of the society then we were seemingly immune from a level of hardship experienced by a large population of Nigerians…

In the days of our youth it was possible to live decently on a salary…

There was corruption but not as widespread as it is now…

We knew we had to go to University as our parents had or we would not get good jobs..

So when faced in adulthood with financial challenges, health issues, disability, divorce and death etc, sometimes we find ourselves overwhelmed and and oftentimes lacking in resilience…

For many of us it was hard to look at Option B

https://optionb.org

There was a sense of entitlement that comes from having a relatively smooth upbringing…

As Africans and Immigrants sometimes it’s hard to understand that there are children in the western world who have had a tough life…

We sometimes generalise the experiences of our peers born in the USA 🇺🇸 and the United Kingdom, popular travel and relocation choices for Nigerians in particular…

I met a kind, intelligent man in business school. Social Media makes it easy to keep in touch and reach out from time to time…

After school through his posts and writing I was introduced to snippets of his life but I honestly had no clue…

Thank you Vladimir Coho for sharing…

Now I understand why you are the person you are…

How you became the kind, intelligent, sometimes rebellious person and wonderful father you have become ❤️❤️❤️

Your mother would have been so proud of you ❤️❤️❤️