With the first post on this first day of October, welcome to the new home of WordsAreWork. Thank you for staying … really.
The month of October will forever remain a special one to us here in Nigeria, the anniversary month of our national independence. And what better way is there to savour it than with you WAW people. To mark this year’s celebration, Emma Akaeze, a regular in this space, takes to The Lectern with his piece titled ‘Time and choice wait for no man’. It is a short reflective piece of art which reminds us of both the brevity and the beauty of time, at the same time. Pun intended.
So enjoy. While reading it – and all other beautiful pieces of work to come – have a WAW October.
Happy 55th, Nigeria!
TIME AND CHOICE WAIT FOR NO MAN
Our great country is 55 years old today. A country liberated with immense hopes and promises 55 years ago is still trying to walk; when some of its counterparts have already started climbing and flying. Rather than dwell on the state of our nation, I would prefer to tow slightly different path.
If a child was born in 1960, that child would be an elderly adult by now with a life more than half-way spent. These 1960 babies were all born with immense potentials and hopes and today, you will find them amongst different cadres of successful and failed people. These current results, from my own perspective stem from two main variables: Time and Choices.
When I look at elderly people, I often think of what their lives might have been like when they were younger. Who were they? What kind of things they did? Did they marry that person they were crazy about? Do they have any regrets? If they had another chance, would they do it all over again?
But the more I ponder on these questions, the more it strikes me that whatever the answer is, it is too late. The time is past, and along with it all the choices they made and nothing can change that. At times like this, I often conclude that my elderly subjects have lived out most of their lifetime, and so their remaining years are numbered.
Then it strikes me: the same can be said of me. And of every young person in Nigeria and beyond today. In all my ‘youth and vitality’, all I have remaining is ‘numbered years’ – a brass wall clock ticking backwards, an hour glass losing sand by the second. In reality, everybody’s years are numbered as soon as they’re born, since nobody knows when the end would come for them (or do you?).
Thinking about death often makes me break out in hot sweat. Sometimes I wonder how it would feel to suddenly come to the end, no more breathing in or out, no more stretching or scratching, no more yawning or coughing; eyes shut, no blinking, just black silence. The few times I have watched a coffin being lowered into the gaping mouth of a grave, I imagined how stifling it would be inside that small box. I imagined how the heat and stuffiness got worse inside the coffin after heavy red mud has been packed over it. And it scares me shitless. But you know what scares me more? The mere thought that fifty-five years from today, I could be an old man full of regrets.
I could react to this fear in a myriad of ways, but again two things guide my reaction – Time and Choice. While I still have time, I can channel these fears to my mind and use them as fuel for my choices. I constantly remind myself that one day I will look back at my youthful days and feel either regret or accomplishment for my choices in living, loving and taking chances. While I still have time, I can affect those choices to decrease the chances of feeling regret later.
In this dynamic and fast-paced world, playing it safe is a risk in futility. Time is the only wealth we are born with, and like every other thing, it is taken from us the moment we die. How you apply, convert or use yours while you still have breathe is up to you. The same goes for me.
So, I have made my own choices and every day I spend my time justifying them. What about you?
by Emmanuel Akaeze
Emmanuel is an avid reader, a creative writer, historian and public speaker, a Process Engineer by profession, Business Analyst by occupation. Still single, he lives and works in Abuja. His life philosophy implores you to “Change the way you think, change your life”
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