By Amarachukwu Opkunobi
Birthdays comes once in a year and leaves a remarkable memory for us. We think of what we were like at birth, the sound of our voice when we let our first cry which is consequently our first speech as a sign of welcome to mother earth. We try to remember though hard for us how our infant hood was by the stories told to us especially by our mothers who nurtured us and the society. We are told how we played or desire to be pampared at every minute, whether awake or asleep. We enjoyed childhood filled with little or no responsibility. While some of us lived from the silver spoon, some digged it hard to eat while the others never saw meaning in living while growing.
We all had our different phases, pages and chapters of stories growing. Somehow, those stories leaves us with little or no options than to learn from them. Days come when we had to be beaten, scolded or shouted at to understand that we were growing and as such expected to know and get acquainted with some ordinary rules of life and our cultures, such as greeting the elders according to the time frame in this part of the world. While some cultures may take it to be a norm in their society, Igbos do not only see it as disrespect to the elders but also a sign of bad upbringing.
As we advance in age, we are introduced to our responsibilities as members of a family, organisation and society at large. Consequently, you are expected to live up to them to be categorised or seen as a responsible child or an entity so much filled with intelligence. We will be called ezigbo nwa, which translates good child whenever we prove to be living up to the standard expected of us and ajọ nwa, bad child when we fail in our duties and responsibilities. Our purpose, goals, visions, dreams and aspirations become more clearer and somewhat not easy for us to understand and differentiate as we grow.
When we lose our loved ones, we are told not to shed a tear as a man, nwoke adịghị ebe-akwa, nwoke na-aka obi, a man does not cry, a man is supposed to have a strong heart. Even when it tightens our heart, we are told to hold on tight and live each day that nothing ever happened while we heat up within, it is also part of the responsibility. We make mistakes, we stumble and fall and they say a strong man is known by how many times he rises whenever he falls, so we keep our heads high rising more than we fall.
So 28th March 2021, is another birthday for me. I have gone through the rough path, smooth and even that which seemingly is a dangerous path of life and yet still tredding on them. I have taken risks, made mistakes, failed in many ways and won in the other ways. I have also allowed tears roll than my tender cheeks sometimes where I couldn’t hold them up as men are encouraged to do. Gosh! I am female, somehow it has formed me in a way that I have learnt to express my emotions especially those which tend to weigh me down.
I have learnt so many lessons from my stay on earth, and will still learn more. Learning somewhat is not seasonal. So for this year, I wish to remember my birthday by sharing with all of us some of the lessons I have learnt from life, the teacher herself. My wish is that you also learn from them and that it helps you grow and gain more mental clarity of life and its phases.
Not all information about your life should to accessible by everyone
While we try to live a life of communication, we should understand that not all information about us should be made known and accessible to everyone. There are some information that should be let out to the public while the others kept in the safe. Giving the public, especially the social media the information they so desire is not just a key to opening doors for intruders and invasion of life but also a padlock to locking so many opportunities in life. Therefore, be careful who you tell your stories, where you say them and how you said them. It matters alot. Don’t always forget that you are the only entity licensed to know all the prepositions and interjections of your stories.
Be grateful even for little things
No matter how small you think a person’s kindness is to you, please appreciate and show gratitude. Don’t be engulfed and clouded with your thinking that he or she does not deserve your appreciation. Age or social status should and must not be a determinant for your gratitude to a person. No little thanks is taken granted by those who understand the act of gratitude. If it means gifting the person, please do. You never know where the act of gratitude can take you.
Take time to love yourself
Peace comes when you begin to accept and love yourself for whom you are regardless of your situation or fickle fate. The road is not always straight, the path smooth or the bed rosy, but hey, love yourself. Wear your clothes and shoes with confidence. Enroll and learn different courses if that is what it will cost you to add value to your life. Treat yourself with so much care and be intentional about it. Cherish who you are, admire your strength and bravery in the risks you have taken. Be your own motivation when all other voices are down, speak to yourself and love yourself passionately.
Don’t walk away in failure
You are going to fail several times. You will feel like giving up and not taking the risks anymore. There are days you will need to lay on the bed looking at the bare ceiling, you will have to cry your eyes out, wipe the tears stand in the mirror, look at the reflection you see, then beat your chest and continue striving, not to stop at where failure has kept you.
You don’t need everyone you come across to be your friend
You certainly can’t make everyone you see in the path of life your friend because not all of them should be called a friend. Some will stop at just being business partners, work mates, classmates or even neighbours. Be careful when you choose who becomes your friend.
Connect with Men
In all your relationships, make sure you have a good communication and connection with others. Don’t narrow your mind to the idealogy that God does all things while your relationship with others suffers. In your work place, fields of academics and other endeavours, socialise and interact with men of different caliber, cultures, beliefs, colours and race. God works with men, so please connect with men.
You are entitled to what you believe
Nobody is going to force you to believe their theory about life. Not all stories are meant to be believed, some are to send a message and that’s all. Don’t let a person’s bad story stop you from doing doing great things and writing or telling your own story.
Be intentional about life
Many mistakes can be avoided and goals reached when we perform our activities of daily living with intentionality. When you talk, can you be intentional with your words? You don’t have to say everything at once, one after other so you don’t make mistakes trying to make another understand your point of view. When you act, you can decide to be careful about them because our actions speaks louder than our words. In planning your day, be intentional about it.
Get yourself an Identity
There is no human that does not bear a name. This name differentiates us from another. So it is in the field of life. Your identity speaks volumes of who you are and what you possess. What is that you want to be known for and is good to humanity. Build it and make it relevant to yourself and the society. Be identified with something and build it.
Happy Birthday Amarachukwu!