Lagos, Nigeria. You are Ruining Your Life in this City Without Even Noticing.
This piece was inspired by an article that went viral.
It’s funny how something as dramatic as self-destruction happens slowly. You are young and gorgeous, which is a kind of wealth in and of itself. There’s no mistaking this. Sometimes you are in awe of your rather charmed existence in this often-charmless Lagos where dreams and hearts are broken with equal recklessness. It’s hard to live here unaffected by its gore and unimpressed by it’s glory. But in between there is the perfect opportunity to ruin your life without even noticing.
You ruin your life in Lagos when you take your foot off the accelerator too soon. You graduated from University and all of a sudden your world, which is entirely determined by your dreams, got smaller. You used to think of changing the world, now you obsess about changing your wardrobe. But you are so young and so smart, when did your ambitions become so small? Now you’re draped in self-imposed immaturity that leads you to believe that after a University degree comes a Mrs. Degree, then a Mummy degree, and so on. So now, you don’t make that courageous move across the country for work, and you put off the project you really shouldn’t just to meet him for drinks. He wouldn’t do the same for you, don’t forget that. If it is a man you want, rest assured that men also want to hitch their wagon to a star. Be the brightest in the sky.
You ruin your life in Lagos when you decide it’s ok to be second best: You keep seeing him. You know he’s no good, or maybe he is decent, but before he came along you were so much better than this. You had drawn your moral red line. But now here you are and your problems make no sense. They are wrapped up in moral ineptitudes that render you laughable. His wife surprises him by flying in to town and staying in his hotel room, so how will he make time for you? His ex is having his baby, but you insist on having all of his attention. His best friend (your ex) is suspicious of the two of you and now you need to figure out how to kill the flame that you lit. You’ve built so much of your life around this man to whom you are second best. Since when is it ok to be second? Stop that, immediately, you’re a F**king champion. It’s not about making decisions you can live with because you can actually live with a lot of crap, it’s about making decisions you can be proud of.
You ruin your life in Lagos when you become concerned with all the wrong things. Here are a few things that simply don’t matter as much as this city makes them out to; the car you drive, how much nail art your ten fingers can display, how long your weave is, how many bottles you’re pictured with in the club, if your shoe soles are red or not. This is not saying, “don’t spoil yourself” from time to time. But always be aware of your decisions, in the grand scheme of life. Wanting to “appear” rich in your 20s is like digging your own grave. You’re either spending too much on things you cannot afford and thus delaying when you will actually get to that point or you’re trying to become rich by hanging out with rich people. Unfortunately, wealth cannot be transferred through osmosis. It is difficult to become something that you don’t have the patience to understand. Reel back your expenditures, if you must spend excessively, buy things that make you richer, like the opportunity to meet new people and to travel.
You ruin your life in Lagos when you get too “busy” to learn. You wake up, get stuck in traffic, head to the gym, head to work, and then you get stuck in traffic again. “You’re too busy too read,” you’ll say. But do you know people much busier than you make time to read? What makes you think that you have achieved this special level of busy-ness that is impenetrable. Don’t become this person; this person that is so unaware of how much better they could be, of how much knowledge they are missing. Please arrest this destructive momentum. How are you to build on anything if you do not know what’s been done. Reading is about avoiding bad decisions, widening your horizons and your imagination. Stay curious.
You ruin your life by settling for average. We are not all going to be Bill Gates or Mark Zuckerberg because those jobs are taken. But we are all allowed to be perfectly ourselves and brimming with passion and excited to start each day because we are doing the thing what we love. Remember that. Average is the same distance from the top as it is from the bottom, so why not reach a little higher. Life, as it turns out, will give you exactly what you will settle for; not more, and certainly not less. Demand a little more from this wild and precious life you have.
This article that inspired this post was shared over 6million times.