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12 Januaries Make a Very Good Year

Life deals us blows, blows of varying degrees, all in the name of lessons. I have come to learn that Life is not a very good teacher. Its methods are skewed, its approach uncouth and many times biased in texture, jurisdiction and calibration. That’s just stating the obvious: Life isn’t fair. I have also come to learn that these lessons are not mandatory, life’s courses are basically electives, but isn’t that how you know a bad teacher? Sometimes, life isn’t all about determination and focus and hard work. Sometimes motivation is crap. A kind of crap many find useful and candidly, it works perfectly for them. One key lesson I learned in 2014 is that our realities are peculiar, and that is what they are. They are not universal facts and your realities must not become my facts, must not form my principles. For the record, some crap works just fine for me 🙂

I spent the early hours of 2014 saying a few words in prayer, and then went to the wards to wish the patients a happy new year. Hope is an important commodity, one that costs us nothing to give. For some it’s just another day, for some just another month, and for others it’s another opportunity to make a long list of resolutions that die off in March. For others, it means misery, pain, suffering; but hope we must sell. I am emotionally inert, thanks to my profession. One moment, it’s congratulations on the arrival of your baby, the other it is we are sorry, we tried all we could. And we’ll still go to the lounge to catch some drinks and read the TL and tweet away. It’s crazy.

Heaven must love Januaries. Hopes extremely high, energy levels profound. We are somewhat convinced that all bad habits die December 31 and so eager to pour forth our desires and aspirations and goals to heaven. It’s about the most spiritually tense month. But it doesn’t last. Sooner or later, we do a ‘system restore’ and things are soon back to normal. I have come to learn that hope’s power, lies not in its depth but in its length. Ok, so enough of these personal lessons. Let me share some of my 2014 experiences.

I wrote exams and passed. Very expensive exams I was glad to pay for, prepare for, and write. But there was this other exam. The pressure was global! “Are you writing primaries?” I don’t need it. “When are you writing primaries?” I am not writing. Then they stopped coming as questions, the pressure morphed into suggestions and then orders. “It is wise to write primaries.” “I think you should just do it.” “Register!” Against my personal code of conduct, I had to conform.
Note: ‘Primaries’ is the mandatory exam written for graduate doctors/dentists for consideration into residency (specialization to surgery, paediatrics, obstetrics etc) programs in Nigeria.

So I googled the exam, my sincere intention was to download the forms, fill, and submit like every sane Nigerian should do, but no, I saw “apply online”. Friends, that was the moment it all went wrong!

I paid via Quickteller and was very happy with myself that I was harnessing the benefits of 21st century technology. If only I knew what century we really are at in Nigeria! Here’s a note of warning. If it’s a non-private institution and you have the options of Paper vs. Online application? Listen to me, do the paper application. Whenever you see “Apply online” on a government site? Run! I’m sure it’s not that bad across board but you get my point.

I made a sad long trip to Ijanikin, lodged in a no-star hotel, read my heads off, and showed up for an exam I was not properly registered for. I am still boiling.

To more positive news, I am in awe of the organization I work with, with what a couple of friends were able to achieve this year. After years of preparation, we finally had the 7 Star graduate event at the University of Lagos. I have never seen the Main Auditorium filled to capacity with an audience so well behaved for a five-hour event! While we anticipated a successful event, what we didn’t anticipate was the aftermath. The summary is I am going to have a very busy 2015 and I am humbled at this opportunity to contribute my bit to nation building.

On love, I still do not know what it means to have an Ex. I am not about to find out either. I am grateful for how we have made things turn out and I appreciate those thoughts brewing in your mind and the many free lectures you are about to offer me. I know love is not a bed of roses, and good things don’t last and how marriage isn’t for everyone and how things don’t always work out as planned and blah blah blah. Thanks for your thoughtfulness, those are not my realities, don’t force them on me. Thanks. Some realities beg to differ. Love can be awesome and many boast of decades of thriving, blossoming relationships. Choose your narratives wisely.

I am well on course to finishing my bible by December 31st, but that is for me. A bigger question is how many persons have I been able to share my faith with? Hiding under the cloak of a busy schedule and the peculiarities of the modern-day environment and corporate space, some of us are quick to quip that our lives will forever speak louder than our words. #TeamLifestyleEvangelism. True. How convenient! This is a note to self and to others that find themselves in similar shoes, I really do hope to be more intentional with my message.

I wish you guys a wonderful holiday season. Live more life, love more, be more vulnerable if necessary. Please don’t sell your vote in 2015, be true to your conscience. Give more, and decide to stay happy. At the end of the day, there’s nothing like family. Dare and take sensible risks. Keep your January fire burning and plan to carry it on throughout the year.

Thank you Uncle Efe for the opportunity to share. Please tell them these are my realities, neither facts nor principles.

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Sorry about your “online” primaries and sorry for laughing about it. I hope you go pull it off sometime. We enjoyed you telling us your principles and realities. Thank you and we look forward to hearing your name in the news 😀

How’s the review going so far? 🙂

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