Emotional Maturity no image

Published on May 31st, 2011 | by Olumide

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If I could turn back the hands of Time…

My good sis, Dolapo, posted a question on Facebook some time ago. It was: If you could turn back the hands of time, what would you do?” So I sat back, put on my thinking hat and began to consider the question. What would I love to change about the movie of my life (assuming I had the chance to rewind and edit the script)? It did not take long to remember some pretty awkward moments…

Like the time I had a track record for terrible grades and couldn’t read, write or spell well. Dad used to pray for me, beat me and teach me simultaneously because I was simply dumb. On Mum’s part, she would throw away my carefully bred collection of snails- I loved keeping live snails for reasons I really can’t understand now and used to have them right inside my room by the window. Mum would then cast out the “Snail Spirit” which she concluded must have made me so slow and dull…

Like the time I beat up a girl till she began to bleed from her nostrils when I was in Primary School (handkerchief, please :) ) because she obviously liked me but associating with her would make me “uncool”…  or the time I cried even though I was a senior in Secondary School because I failed a Chemistry exam woefully… or the times I was sent out of school because my school fees had not been paid and I would be embarrassed because it was a private school and most of my friends were from wealthy backgrounds…

Oh yeah, I’ve got stories to tell. Did I ever mention how I turned red because I took a snack in Secondary School one day? Let me explain: Unlike most of my affluent friends, I had a very limited daily budget (how I love the English language: it helps you to put terrible stories very nicely). The implication of the low amount of available cash was that I could not afford to buy most of the delicacies my classmates bought during break. I had been brought up to learn never to beg for things, so I wasn’t exactly open to the generosity I could have enjoyed from my friends. Although no one officially noticed it, very few classmates had actually ever seen me eat the snacks they ate.

You can therefore imagine the scene that resulted the day I bought a “Fan Ice Lolly” (it was 20 Naira- about 15 cents then) and took it to class! A female friend saw me coming and made a loud announcement to the whole class that Olumide was actually taking a lolly! Everyone crowded together to get a better look and they expressed their surprises at the rare sight. Of course I was green, red and purple at the same time. It didn’t help matters that I was having a crush on the very girl that made the announcement…

If I could turn back the hands of time! I pondered about the question that night and wondered which of the experiences I would like to change. But guess what? Eventually, here was my reply to Dolapo’s post: Emmm. I don’t know. I think I’m glad with my life so far. I can’t think of anything I would want to change. It hasn’t been perfect but it has been fun. I’m fulfilled just chasing my dreams and living my life. Ironically, I probably wouldn’t be saying that if I had spent so much time chasing boring academics (DOLAPO, STOP FROWNING), girls or running in some stupid time-table drawn by the society. I’ve never been happier in my life than I am now. If I could turn back the hands of time, I would leave the clock alone!”

After thinking it through, I had learnt a very valuable lesson that night. Life always brings its storms and whirlwinds but ultimately what brings satisfaction and fulfillment is not what you have to face but how you face it. Happiness is a choice. Fulfillment is the result of the choices we make every day. Like choosing to be a Musician and not a Doctor (or vice versa). Like choosing to smile at the memories of the times your landlord issued eviction notices instead of turning bitter. Like allowing your failure of a course in school to motivate you towards being the best in the department instead of concluding that the lecturer hates you or that you are a failure. Like allowing a background of poverty to motivate you into deciding to be rich and help others. Like learning to make your own decisions and accepting the responsibility for your life instead of being tossed to and fro by the structures and wishes of the society.

Like Fela Durotoye once said and I paraphrase, “for every day we live, we actually die (because we are one day closer to death). Let every day you live be worth dying for!” Perhaps, the realization that we die day-by-day would change our perspective to life. Maybe it would make many of the things you are chasing now seem very irrelevant. Perhaps, it would help you to see the big picture. Perhaps, it would put some perspective into our quest for fame, wealth, knowledge, titles, women…

It’s not that my life has been perfect. It’s just that every single incident- both good and bad- has worked into moulding me into who I am today and with the benefit of hindsight, I am grateful for them all. By the time I’m about to die, I hope that like Paul, I would still be able to say that “I have fought a good fight”. If I could turn back the hands of time, I would leave the clock alone!

This post is from my personal website: www.olumideadeleye.com. You can send me an email using me@olumideadeleye.com.  To be a Facebook fan, ‘like’ http://facebook.com/olumideadeleyeweb.

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